A single protection scheme for Aoos

The Green Tank submitted comments to the public consultation on the Special Environmental Study 11a for the Natura 2000 sites of the Regional Units of Thesprotia, Ioannina and Grevena on the designation of the Northern Pindos National Park.

The Special Environmental Study is the documentation study for the designation of a nationally protected area and the conditions of protection that will govern it.

Commenting on the positive aspect that a wider study area in the Study under consultation is extended to the north to cover the entire Aoos River Basin up to the border with Albania, The Green Tank notes that the Study does not ensure the free, natural and wild flow of the Aoos River, as there is no recognition of the hydromorphological value of the river. This value is now recognised internationally as, with the exception of the cluster of dams at its source, it flows without obstacles and dums from Metsovo to the Adriatic Sea; particularly rare for a river in Europe.

The Green Tank recommends the revision of the available documentation for the expansion of the National Park so that the Aoos, Voidomatis, Sarantaporos and their tributaries and streams are sufficiently protected from dangers and threats at national level, not in a fragmented way but through a single and strong institutional framework. To this end, the organization submitted detailed comments on different chapters of the Study, both in terms of the description of the area, threats and pressures, and the proposed zones, uses and regulations, as well as management priorities.

Using these comments and suggestions, the Study – and ultimately the country – have the opportunity to align with the developments of recent months that contribute to the full protection of the river and its tributaries and the creation of a single protection scheme that will unite the Northern Pindos National Park with the Vjosa National Park recently established in the neighboring Albania.

This will provide a solid institutional basis for the creation of the first transboundary free-flowing river park in Europe with many benefits for both nature conservation and sustainable development of the region

Τhe comments and recommendations by The Green Tank were submitted on Monday April 03, 2023, while on January 30 3023 The Green Tank participated in an online workshop for the Study organized by agencies involved in the research process.

The full text with The Green Tank’s comments and recommendation is available here (in Greek).