River barriers and conservation actions in Greece: First-ever meeting!

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River barriers and conservation actions in Greece: First-ever meeting!



(Jaris on stage, photo by M. Gatelich)
River Conservation Action: AMBER National Meeting in Athens
May 8, 2019

It is the first time that the idea of ​​protecting rivers and removing dams has been presented in Greece! It is organized by the AMBER Consortium (European River Adaptive Management, EU H2020 project). The meeting was organized by the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy and HCMR. And it's very focused on river engineering, dams, mitigation and river restoration.

I have a good knowledge and a little pain, so here are some quick tips:

- We have to focus on the obstacles in Greece, we have published a questionnaire and we are working on it with graduate students, but this is really the beginning of Greece.

- Greece focuses on "daily monitoring" of rivers, but largely ignores practical measures to restore and protect rivers at basin and river water levels. Ignoring restoration efforts like bottlenecks is a major gap in our commitment to the WFD process and a major missed opportunity to protect threatened species and ecosystems around the world. See our review: Rivers_and_wetland_restoration_in_Greek_education

- Greece has no experience in removing obstacles, other EU countries are going fast - economic collapse and the most serious problems in the EU (... including Spain and Portugal). We haven't considered this issue and we haven't even considered the impact that barriers across the country might have on me. Greece has not removed a single longitudinal barrier or dam... (Cyprus also experienced a small dam during recovery actions in the context of the WFD). We know that in Greece we have old and unnecessary barriers (small barriers, anti-erosion barriers, old dams) that can be removed.

- Greece lags behind in full or improved conservation solutions and reconstruction of urban and suburban streams and rivers. (By "backward" I mean that all of Europe is "really backward", not just the Mediterranean countries of the European Union.) It makes me sad. And it is sad that we are spending millions of Euros on old and destructive flood control projects on the outskirts of Athens (eg Rafina Megalo Rhema, Erazinos Stream Vravrona Natura 2000). place, Podonyphtis flow in Kyphisos basin). It is an unfortunate situation that scientists, engineers, policy makers, politicians and other actors need to reconsider.

- In Greece, we do not have a healthy debate about the dam and the dam. Several colleagues argued and did not question the specific requirements of mitigation actions (as well as their feasibility and management aspects). Polarization and "extremism" prevail in many stupid arguments. Speaking for myself, as a researcher in many arid/semi-arid countries in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, I know that dams are “desirable”, without doubt that “all dams” cannot be prevented. But: how to manage rushes and obstacles? And where to put it? And also the ability to remove some unnecessary barriers and obstacles that I want to talk about in more detail.

- Barrier removal (including dams) and ecosystem restoration create new opportunities for major engineering projects and allow ecologists to work closely with innovative planners and river engineers. In 2015, my friend CG Papakonstantino presented a new river engineering agenda for environmental restoration in Greece, the article was very timely…

- Finally, please see the PDF of the 8 speakers of this meeting here:
Seminar-River Protection-Activity-National Meeting-Amber

I would like to thank the following HCMR staff for supporting this initiative and organizing my stay in Athens: Christina Papadaki, Emilia Panagiota, Haris Vavalidis, Yannis Kapakos, Angelica Menzafou and Elias Dimitriou. I would like to thank Ioannis Mitsopoulos of Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy for his time and effort to make this happen.


NTUA Professor Andreas Iftratiadis opened the first session with a well-documented overview.

Fishway engineer and dam manager, Miss Pao Fernandez Garrido of the World Fish Migration Fund. He organized the meeting from start to finish!

Dr. The Hellenic agricultural organization Argyrios Sapunidis - Demeter of Nestos provides us with a good research example.

My old friend Dr. José María Santos, from the Higher Agronomy Institute of Lisbon, shares with us the best contemporary fish stories of all time!

Dr. Dimitris Zaris, who studies at the National Technical University of Athens and works on conservation issues in Attica, provides an overview of our problem with urban runoff.

Slides by Dimitri Zaris: Attica's main problem…


From my discussion: I am lucky to be able to talk to almost the whole family about this very important topic!

JM Santos From the beginning of a new era of fish in Portugal...

We are very grateful to the Ministry for hosting us and especially to Ioannis Mitsopoulos, who prepared the platform for us.

After a "field trip" seminar to the karst mountains of Athens, with excellent teachers and researchers: Marta González del Tanago (Polytechnic University of Madrid ) , Pior Paracewicz ( Sakowicz Institute of Inland Fisheries, Poland) and Diego García de Haladnis University. ) and yours!

Meeting after the workshop at the HCMR Anavisos Research Institute with colleagues from North Macedonia: Dushika Ilic-Boeva ​​​​​​​​and Zoran Spirkovski. I believe these are the two visitors who visited our government facilities after the Prespa agreement and the country's name change. Let's start well...




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