SAVE THE BLUE HEART OF EUROPE. Balkan Rivers under attack from Hydropower Lobby.

reportEuroNatur Foundation and RiverWatch – Society for the Protection of Rivers – in collaboration with EcoAlbania, Macedonian Ecological Society, Eco-Sense, Front 21/42, CSBNP and Neza Posnjak have released the report ‘Balkans Rivers under attack from Hydropower Lobby’.

logos3This study has been supported by the MAVA Foundation and Mantred Hermsen Stiftung.


The crystal-clear stream, the untamed rivers with huge gravel islands, extensive alluvial forests and karst rivers are so spectacular that they stand out among Europe’s rivers. As the report proclaims, the Blue Heart of Europe beats in the Balkans.

Despite this, almost 2000 hydropower plants are programmed to be constructed in the Balkan rivers. With the argument of electricity needs, projects are being planned and implemented everywhere, even in protected areas.


Overview of hydropower plants in the Balkan region, in red are those in the pipeline. Photo credit: Save the Blue Heart of Europe.

According to the EuroNatur Foundation and Riverwatch’ researchs, more than 800 protected areas such as Ramsar Sites, World Heritage Sites, Natura 2000 Sites and other National Parks will be affected by these plans.


Hydropower projects in Ramsar, Biosphere reserves and World Heritage Nature sites. Credit Save the Blue heart of Europe

Above all, it is necessary to note that Balkan rivers are home for more than 60 endemic fish species. As explained in the study, many of the rivers in the region are largely unexplored. It is therefore quite likely that Balkan watercourses host numerous additional and yet to be recorded species. The full study is available at


To raise awareness about the imminent ‘dam craze’ on the Balkan Peninsula, EuroNatur and Riverwatch in collaboration with local partner organizations have launched the ‘Save the Blue Heart of Europe Campaign’. Its mission is to save the ecologically most valuable streams and rivers from destruction.

This campaign focuses on three especially endangered areas: the Sava River (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Slovenia), the Vjosa River (Albania) and the Mavrovo National Park (The FYR of Macedonia).


Roberto Epple, European Rivers Network. Photo Credit: Save the blue heart of Europe.


Source: Save the Blue Heart of Europe. Balkans Rivers under attack from Hydropower Lobby report.


front_logoFor more information

Read the brochure of the Save the Blue Heart of Europe.

Visit the web site of the campaign Save the blue heart of Europe:



International Partners logos

EuroNatur – Foundation for the Conservation of European Natural Heritage



Phone: +49 7732/ 92 72 12


RiverWatch – Society for the Protection of Rivers


Contact: /

Phone: +43 650 4544784


logos2Local partners



EcoAlbania – Center for Protection of Natural Ecosystems in Albania


Contact: (Olsi Nika)

Phone: +355 69 29 44 757



MES – Macedonian Ecological Society


Contact: (Daniela Jovanovska)

Phone: +389 2 2402 773


Eco-sense – Center for Environmental Research and Information


Contact: (Vesna Ilievska) / (Ana Lesoska)

Phone: +389 2 3217 247


Front 21/42 – Environmental Citizens’ Association


Contact: (Aleksandra Bujaroska)



CSBNP – Croatian Society for Bird and Nature Protection


Contact: (Tibor Mikuska)

Phone: +385 95 909 87 53

Contact: (Gligor Radečić)

Phone: +385 97 745 44 67



Contact: (Neža Posnjak)

Phone: +386 31 549 055