Image: Â© Milan Radisics, Wild Wonders of Europe
This just in from our friends at Wild Wonders of Europe: "Lake Skadar is one of the most unique Wild Wonders of Europe. Seldom has a signature been so important."
Dam plans threaten the lake. A facebook petition has been started to force a review of whether alternative energy sources could alleviate the need for a dam, or if a dam is unavoidable, to improve the ecological study and minimize the impact of blocking the main feed to Lake Skadar. More about the lake, and the petition, over the fold.Lake Skadar borders Montenegro and Albania, and is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula. From the Lake Skadar petition on facebook:
"The MoraÄa river provides approximately 60 per cent of water to the Lake Skadar, the biggest lake in the Balkans and a wetland of global importance under the Ramsar Convention. The lake hosts one of the most important bird and fish habitats in the Mediterranean region, providing more than 90 per cent of freshwater fish consumed in Montenegro and a winter home to some 150,000 migratory birds.
If the construction of these dams goes ahead as currently planned, the biodiversity of the MoraÄa River ecosystem - not to mention hundreds of local jobs and livelihoods - would suffer a serious blow. Very rare endemic species of trout could disappear, and the fishery of Lake Skadar could shrink by 30 per cent - with a loss of some â‚¬1.5 million in annual fishing revenues.
Montenegro does suffer an energy deficit. However, huge losses in the electrical power network could be reduced by fixing old infrastructure. Furthermore, the main consumer of electricity in the country, an aluminum plant that currently uses almost 60 per cent of the nation's power, is going through serious difficulties and may close. These two facts alone warrant a review of the dam proposal.
Finally, the cost of the project is extremely high; without government intervention, no investor will be interested. Taxpayers will bear the cost.
Before sacrificing the pristine canyon of the MoraÄa River, together with arable land, forests, people's homes, and sites of historic and cultural significance, we need to know that hydropower is actually the right solution for Montenegro. If it is, then every effort must be made to minimize its impact on the environment. "
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