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The cross-border area between Croatia and Serbia is a specific wetland and floodplain ecosystem with several rare and protected species. Although ecosystems like wetlands and floodplains benefit society by purifying water, reducing floods, contributing to food production and ecotourism, they are subject to anthropogenic pressures, including uncontrolled land use, unsuitable agriculture, urbanization, illegal waste disposal, and water exploitation. As a result, 70% of wetland and floodplains have disappeared in the last 50 years causing both biodiversity loss and loss of benefits for local communities. Partners have identified a lack of knowledge about wetland habitats and how to protect them and lack of cross-sectoral and cross-border cooperation as the main reasons for disappearance of wetlands. The WetlandRestore project, which builds on cross-border projects from the 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 periods (see EcoWET), tackles this challenge and demonstrates findings from various EU Directives (Water Framework, Floods, Habitat, and Birds) and conventions (Ramsar and Biodiversity Convention) for solving contemporary problems of river and wetland ecosystems. Partners will achieve this by setting up a cross-border wetland monitoring systems to allow tracking of ecological changes; developing restoration plans for six pilot areas, which will lead to attaining a better conservation status; and implementing small-scale restoration interventions in two wetlands in Serbia and Croatia.
Nature Conservation Movement of Sremska Mitrovica (SER) is in charge of developing Guidelines for wetland monitoring and coordinating revitalization activities. Restoration activities will be done in the upper watercourse of Special Nature Reserve Zasavica. Planned works in Zasavica include removal of sediment, removal of vegetation and transport of sediment.
Association for nature and environment protection Green Osijek (CRO) will contribute to drafting of Guidelines on wetland monitoring and coordinate monitoring activities in 3 pilot areas in Croatia. The partner will also organize the first training on restoration planning and take an active role in wetland restoration planning with Hrvatske vode, Vode Vojvodine and EU experts. Green Osijek will organize a public outreach campaign in Croatia.
Croatian Waters (CRO) is the legal entity in charge for water management in Croatia. As part of the project, the partner will elaborate the project documentation for revitalization of 3 old river branches within NATURA 2000. The partner will also implement the revitalization of Čarna sidearm. Planned works in Čarna include removal of sediment, removal of vegetation, transport of sediment and discharge of water into sidearm.
Public water management company “Vode Vojvodine” (SER) will draft a restoration plan for 3 pilot areas in Serbia: Zasavica, Bara Trskovača, Jegrička. This also includes the environmental impact assessment for 3 design plans and main assessment for the ecological network. The Vode Vojvodine company will also supervise the implementation of small scale restoration activities in Zasavica.
Public institution agency for the management of protected natural values in Osijek-Baranja County (CRO) will take part in a public outreach campaign by preparing and distributing the documentary film on wetland restoration and a photo-monography. Partner’s main responsibility is to communicate and involve stakeholders from the nature management sector in Croatia. They will secure the durability of project results by incorporating them into a management plan of protected areas for Osijek-Baranja County.