Indicative Status Assessment, Biodiversity Conservation, and Protected Areas Within the Sava River Basin
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
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The aim of this chapter is to provide the overview of the water status, state of the biological diversity, and protected areas along the Sava River as well as to underline the necessity of identification and implementation of effective conservation measures. The chapter is based on historical data on environment and recent investigation on macroinvertebrate communities (2011–2012). Ecological status of water bodies within the Sava River basin ranges from high to poor, while the ecological status of the majority of water bodies is assessed as moderate, which indicates the necessity of design and implementation of relevant mitigation measures. The assessment of water quality and ecological status of the river Sava based on the macroinvertebrates community, alongside with the use of several standard biological methods and regional biotic index BNBI indicates a high correlation of the obtained results. BNBI has proven to be a method reliable enough for both the assessment of water quality and the assessment of ecological status of large rivers. Based on the results of water status assessment, the Sava River could be divided into three zones. The best water quality was recorded within the Slovenian stretch of the river, being within the limits of betamesosaprobic zone, while the ecological status was assessed as a good one. The middle part of the Sava River, stretching mainly through Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, has a somewhat worse water quality, approaching the limit of betamesosaprobic zone, while the ecological status in this part of the flow was also determined as a “good” one. The lower parts of the Sava River flow through Serbia are by all indicators more heavily polluted; the water quality is on the border between beta- and alfamesosaprobic zones, while the ecological status is between “good” and “moderate.” The biodiversity of the Sava River may be considered significant, when compared to similar watercourses of Central Europe and Balkan Peninsula. The work contains a more detailed analysis of the biodiversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish of the main flow of the Sava River. Based on the condition of biodiversity of these groups, the river’s ecosystem is divided into three “macrohabitats.” The first macrohabitat includes the upper rhithron parts of the river through Slovenia, with a significant diversity of stenovalent groups of macroinvertebrates (larvae EPT) and salmonid species of fish (brown trout, grayling, and huchen trout). The second macrohabitat includes the parts of the flow through Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with significant diversity of invertebrates from the groups Odonata, Mollusca, Hirudinea, and Chironomidae and fish from the families of Cyprinidae, Percidae, and Gobiidae. The highest number of protected species of fish has been registered in this section. The third “macrohabitat” includes the lower part of the potamon of the Sava River and mostly flows through Serbia wherein this part of the flow represents the most important habitat of the globally endangered and fishing-wise important sturgeon species of sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) in this river. It is characterized by a decreased biodiversity of macroinvertebrates in the main flow of the river and a significant diversity in the flood zones. In the biodiversity of fish, the highest number of allochthonous species appears. In this section, the diversity of fish in flood zones especially as the habitat of endangered species such as Umbra krameri, Misgurnus fossilis, and Carassius carassius is also important. Research has shown that in order to perform a successful conservation of large river biodiversity, the ecosystem must be observed as a complex consisting of the main flow of the river, flood zone, and its tributaries.
In: Milačić R, Ščančar J, Paunović M, editors. The Sava River. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 2015. p. 453-500.