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Oct 19, 2022

"It might be the highest density of trout species on Earth," our guest Ulrich Eichelmann says of a suite of European rivers slated for damming to generate electricity – rivers which also host a vast wealth of birds, bats, bugs and beauty – plus a deep cultural heritage.

Rapid biological surveys are a well known way to establish the richness of an ecosystem and advocate for their conservation, and a corps of scientists have used this conservation solution to repeatedly prove that the rush to build hundreds of new hydroelectric dams threatens to drown this heritage, with impressive results:

A proposal to dam the last free-flowing river in Europe (the Vjosa) was halted in part on the basis of one such survey conducted by Scientists for Balkan Rivers which Eichelmann coordinates, after the team identified species new to science, in addition to great overall biodiversity.

The group has since turned its focus to other threatened rivers in the region, and he describes their activities, plus which rivers' ecologies they are investigating now.

Episode Artwork: The biodiversity of Balkan rivers is now becoming more widely known, and also their beauty, such as Kravice Waterfalls on the Trebižat river in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Photo by Goran Safarek for Riverwatch/EuroNatur.

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