President of Citizen Association “Man and Natural Resources” Bihać
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system.The ecosystem is a place (biotope) inhabited by organisms and their communities, in which the primary biomass is continuously created and consumed (degraded) by heterotrophic consumers.
Interaction of living beings
The identity of the ecosystem rests on the interactions of living beings and non-living environments: soil, water, air, temperature, humidity. Ecosystems are very complex and dynamic systems. Any change in the constituents of the ecosystem reflects the system as a whole.
The introduction cites an article written by Nurfet Dervišević (published on ABC Portal) which should provide a brief overview of the ecosystem i.e. flora and fauna of the river Una as dynamic ecosystem which is the subject of this study.
Fish reserves of the river Una completely devastated due to negligence
Examining the river Una basin demonstrated that there are 48 species of plants: 25 species of algae, 17 species of moss and 6 species of diatoms. All this plant life actively participates in the construction of river tufa.
Based on the quantity and number of organisms found in the fauna of the river Una, it can be concluded that it is a medium-rich river for organic production and according to current findings up to 332 kg of fish can be inhabited on one hectare of water. Human fish lives in the river Una basin, as well as in the underground waters of Grmeč. On the banks of the river Una there are about 170 species of medicinal herbs – the endemic species Campanula unensis or Unskazvončika stands out. River Una has provided shelter for about 28 species of fish which makes it one of the most attractive rivers for performing all kinds of sport fishing in this part of Europe.
The complete article can be found at ABC Portal.
II GENERAL AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
General objectiveis to establish the actual state ofecological pyramid of the river Uuna, its tributaries and related ecosystemson the basis of which the specific objectives of the project will be realized.
Specific objectives are the result of a general objective, and they relate to protective measures and revitalization of river Una ecosystem and related ecosystems for the period 2018-2028.
III CONDITION OF ECOLOGICAL PYRAMID OF THE RIVER UNA
It has been noted that the following facts reflect the real state of ecological pyramid of the river Una and its tributaries in the upper stream stretching from Martin Brod, Kulen Vakuf up to Štrbački buk:
- Decline of the total number of indigenous fish species, mainly the brown trout and grayling.
- Disorder of natural conditions of the hatchery area of indigenous species of fish, brown trout and grayling due to the presence of significant quantity of wastewater that is precipitated at hatchery Martin Brod stretching up to Kulen Vakuf.
- The precipitation of wastewater from the Martin Brod hatchery, the creation of the mucus that physically disables – blocks the undisturbed development of the roe in terms of its approach to oxygen continues to adverselyaffectthe reduction of the total number and overall health status of all types of fish. For the same reasons, there is a decrease in the number of millipedes, fish worms, larvae, aquatic flowers, European bullheads and other plant and animal species that make up the widest starting point of the pyramid on which the life, growth and placement of the second and third pyramid of biomass lies.
- The formation of fish farms resulted in appearance of the rainbow trout that became a predominant predator in this area as an invasive species which has unmeasurable damaging impact on the complete pyramid of biomass of this area due to its gluttony.
-The decrease in the population of brown trout and grayling has also been due to the fact that the majority of their diet in recent years has been comprised of their own roe as well as last year’s juvenile fish, which reduced already small population of these fish.
- Moreover, an invasive bird species – Cormorant have been living in this area for years. This bird was not previously represented in this measure in the headwaters.
- In the Kulen Vakuf area, due to traditional fly fishing competition, a rainbow trout has been released throughout the years which had an adverse effect on the indigenous species of fish.
- Excessive and illegal fishing by the members of fishermen association, often during the off season, also had an adverse effect on the general depopulation of the indigenous species of fish.
- Disappearance of the smaller tributaries due to men’s impact resulted in depopulation of the common chub – fish that is present on the second step of the ecological pyramid of the river Una.
- Crayfish have completely disappeared from the river Una and it is impossible to say at this moment that crayfish is present in tributaries as separate ecosystems connected with the river Una.
The facts illustrating the real state of biomass pyramid of the river Una ecosystem from Ripač up to Bosanska Krupa are the following:
- Complete disappearance of cyprinid fish of this middle area of the river Una, from Lohovo i.e. Ripač to Kostela. This area was previously inhabited by significant number of pike, common chub which have almost completely disappeared.
- The presence of common rudd, bullheads as well as minnow was also greatly reduced. These fish species fall into the second level of the pyramid of biomass and are extremely important for the natural growth of the brown trout, huchen and pike in this area.
- The disappearance of smaller tributaries – waterways due to the arrogant, selfish and unreasonable influence of men on aquatic ecosystems especially those along the river Una. Menalso have,due to the increase of agricultural land and the easier use of agricultural mechanization, destroyed the tributaries of the river Una. In addition to this, there is the fact that such streams were easily captured by the local population due to their increasingly pronounced water needs. Pike and whitefish which make the second level of biomass pyramid entered these areas during the spawning season.
- The common nase has completely disappeared in the last couple of years. This fish spawned in the lower river flow, mainly near the hydropower plant Kostela. This resulted in the depopulation of huchen which is on the top of the pyramid in this area.
- There is a significantly smaller presence of bullheads and millipedes, which are usually an integral part of the moss of the tufa. Warmer water in tributaries and canals in the spring months allow the spawn of whitefish and smaller fish which later enter the main flow of the river Una.
- Together with the physical destruction of tributaries and canals these areas are devastated – destroyed due to excessive use of pesticides and mineral fertilizers.
- Unscrupulous illegal fishing during the spawning period also had an effect on the reduction of the total amount of river biomass of the river Una and its tributaries.
- Another, currently insufficiently clarified fact that likely influenced the reduction of biomass of the river Una and its tributaries refers to overuse of abrasive material and industrial salt during the winter months. This material is used for scattering of roads and during the snow melting and underthe influence of rain it would end up in the river Una. So far, no one has performed a researchand found out the exact amount of this material in the river Una and how it affects flora and fauna, especially in spring time when the concentration of salt is at its peak and when the majority of fish lays eggs.
- Fish ranching of the river Una with only one type of fish (in this case brown trout) is also insufficiently studied process.
- Disappearance of algae /especially of green algae which is used as food for whitefish – cactus roach/.
- Disappearance of tall grass which can be found in deeper waters of the river Una has also gone unnoticed. The aforementioned grass can be tall up to several meters and it is used as a hiding place for pike, common chub, minnow and common rudd. The grass is rich in larvae, nymph and similar organisms which in these conditions make the base of river biomass.
- In the context of an overview of the overall biodiversity status, a significant place must be given to endangerment of natural habitats by devastation of river banks and river flow with illegal construction and concreting.
IV FOUNDERS AND PARTNERS IN STUDY REALIZATION
The draft should be viewed as a set of guidelines in the process of realization of the complete project.
Beside citizen association “Men and Natural Resources” Bihać as the author of the study, the fundamental activist in the realization should be the administrative body of City of Bihać. The reasoning for the aforementioned lays in the fact that institutions, non-governmental sector i.e. private companies do not have supervision or authority to act in line with legal and other provisions which regulate this concerned area.
The study will be realized in the area of City of Bihać in the period from 2018 until 2028. Revitalization of tributaries, lakes and canals with extensive construction and hydro-technical measures and activities will require participation of a large number of experts from various areas as well as a complex multidisciplinary approach to many segments of protection of the river Una ecosystem.
Significant authorizationsare held by the Government of Una-Sana Canton, Ministry of Agriculture, Waterpower and Forestry of Una-Sana Canton, Development Agency of Una-Sana Canton, Environment Protection Fund of FBaH, Ministry of Environment and Tourism and Ministry of Agriculture, Waterpower and Forestry of FBaH.
Association of sport fishermen “Una” Bihać, National Park “Una” Bihać, RIZ Krajina LLC Bihać, citizens, especially farmers, Faculty of Biotechnology in Bihać, “Unskismaragdi” and other nongovernmental sector will also hold a significant place in the realization of the concerned study.
A close cooperation will be achieved with the management of the National Park “Una” especially in data collection regarding the real status of ecosystem of the river Una in the upper part which is managed by the National Park “Una”. The purpose of this is the creation of cadaster – register of place of spawning as well as register of tributaries, canals, lakes and register of pollutants which is closely specified as obligation of SRD “Una” Bihać.
The success of this project is unthinkable without cooperation with the media and their persistent, repeated and complete dedication to its goals. We cannot imagine the realization of some of the measures without full cooperation with citizens, agricultural producers – owners of the land which hold canals or lakes connected with ecosystem of the river Una. The aforementioned citizens should allow the execution of construction and other works on these water surfaces which will not have a role in agriculture and they should agree they will not use protective measures in farming as well as artificial fertilizers. A lot of work will be necessary, and every positive example should be a headline in our media.
When it comes to the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Bihać it is our opinion that this higher education institution could demonstrate the concerned program to the University’s Senate in order to establish a institute of water (or under any other name) which would be significantly orientated on water as a natural resource with a special emphasize on the river Una. Particular feature lies in the fact that the Dinarides cover, on roughly the same basis, the quality of water of many rivers in this area, which would enable higher education of a significant number of students from the wider regional area in the following period.The systematic monitoring of the conditions for the creation of tufa barriers and the possible exploration of the already disrupted conditions of this process in the forthcoming period could be one of the essential tasks of the Biotechnical Faculty.
V MEASURES AND ACTIVITIES TO BE UNDERTAKEN FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTECTION AND REVITALIZATION OF ECOSYSTEM OF THE RIVER UNA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES
One of the first activities that needs to be defined immediately at the beginning of the realization of the Study is the preparation of a project task. Tender for institutions which can determine the exact status of biomass pyramid with necessary analyzes will be based on the aforementioned project task. The analyzes of the biomass pyramid would be performed near Martin Brod, ZeljkovićaKuća, KulenVakuf, Štrbačkibuk, Lohovo, Pokoj and Kostela.
Testing should be performed on all levels of the pyramid, starting from larvae and millipedes, over bullheads to the top of the pyramid: brown trout, pike and huchen. The testing should cover all physical, chemical, radiological, bacteriological analyzes which significantly differ from all previous testing like “Ribarskaosnova”. Testing should include laboratory blood tests, parasitological and other tests performed on the fish as well as bottom of the river Una (moss, algae, diatomee as well as other water plants, tufa, water and bank sludge) on all mentioned places.
The National Park “Una”which will be a prominent bearer of a significant number of tasks in this Study should make a decision on the admission of experts in fishing.
Alongside these activities, it would be necessary to form a team that would continuously monitor the public tenders issued by the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, IPA and other EU funds.
The realization of fundraising would be within the jurisdiction of the City of Bihać and the Development Agency of Una-Sana Canton, which should be strengthened with a number of newly employed workers. The reason for this is acontinuousrequirementfor funds forimplementation of measures and activities from the Study for the period 2018-2028.
Activities for projectof waste water purifier in hatchery Martin Brod should be commenced without hesitation and in cooperation with RIZ Krajina LLC Bihać.
The project would also be realized through the team of the City of Bihać and the Development Agency of Una-Sana Canton, as this subject is unable to implement the project of relocation from the Martin Brod site. Possibility to continue the hatchery of indigenous fish such as brown trout and common chub at this site should be considered.
Together with PI Regional Road Authority of Una-Sana Canton commence the activities for reduction of use of abrasive material and industrial salt which effect on biodiversity of river ecosystems has not been fully determined.
SRD “Una” Bihać should deliver at least six /6/ fishing reference points from 1980, 1997, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2018. These reference points would give an insight into the status of pyramid of biomass and it would provide data on the disappearance of white fish from this area as well as quality and quantity information on status of indigenous fish of the river Una.
Moreover, this association should draft a register of spawning sites for Salmonidae and Cyprinidae in the river Una and its tributaries.
Register of all tributaries and lakes of the river Una should be organized and kept by USR “Una” and NP “Una” and should contain a fundamental data on amount of water during different periods.
The destruction of Midzic Lake will be presented as an example on the round table. Somewhere around 1980s this and one smaller lake were destroyed due to the flooding of agricultural land around the lake where corn was mainly cultivated. They did this by constructing a concrete embankment at the lowest point where water would enter with pike and white fish during the fall and spring.
After obtaining all the necessary data regarding the ecosystem of the river Una from NP “Una” and SRD “Una” Bihać, the administration authority should make all the situation maps for the purpose of revitalization which will become an integral part of the Study and a basis for tender applications. Exact number and significance of all mentioned ecosystems will be introduced into the program of revitalization for the period 2018-2028.
During the implementation of the Study there will be numerous activities which cannot be defined as necessary at the moment.
VI REMARKS AND SUGGESTIONS SUBMITTED IN THE WRITTEN FORM BY PARTICIPANTS OF THE ROUNDTABLE
On the roundtable we will introduce the rule that interested people may ask short questions and discuss the citations from the presented study draft because they will be asked to submit their written remarks and suggestions that will be an integral part of the Study.
The draft of the study only defines basic facts and possible directions for solving the problems of the loss of the ecological pyramid of the river Una and its tributaries which make a dynamic ecosystem in broader sense. In the following period but no later than March 2019, while defining the project assignment in cooperation with one of the referenced institutions, the largest number of measures and activities will arise with defined deadlines and list of persons responsible for their implementation.
Definition of project assignment (Terms of Reference) requires certain material funds. For this reason it would be necessary to plan it within the budget of the City of Bihać for 2019.
Defined program with deadlines should be delivered to all participants for the purpose of their timely preparation.
The concerned study will be subject of numerous changes and definition of new measures and assignments considering that at this moment it is impossible to predict very necessary activity.
It should be pointed out that the revitalization activities will be expensive and hard and it will require engagement of professionals and experts, therefore it will last 10 years.
Responsible authority is the administrative authority of the City of Bihać.
Each year City Council and Assembly of Una-Sana Canton (when needed) should consider the realization of measures and adopt a decision on securing budget funds for the realization of planned measures and activities under supervision of the City of Bihać i.e. Assembly of Una-Sana Canton.
“We believe it is essential that the competent legislative bodies in Una-Sana Canton, in the shortest possible time, mandate all executive cantonal and city authorities, their bodies, institutions and services to immediately issue their specific action plans and programs for the protection of the river Una, in particular recording, sanctioning and removal of all illegally built concrete objects and other illegal constructions, drastic privatization and usurping of public water resources, as well as diverting the watercourse and reducing the profile of the river Una due to the collapse of the coast and the construction of inappropriate facilities within the coastal and flood plains of the river Una. Insist on consistent compliance with all positive legal regulations, in particular set of adopted environmental laws with emphasis on FBaH Water Law, FBaH Freshwater Fishing Act, Feasibility Study for NP Una, NP Law, Spatial Plan of Areas of Special Character Significant for FBaH, Act on Spatial Planning and Construction of Una-Sana Canton as well as other accompanying attributions in this area”
To undertake activities on the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Protection of the River Una that would be signed with a large number of institutions and local communities from the source in Srb, through Bihać and other cities in FBaH and RS to the firth of the river Una in Jasenovac.
Bihać, October 2018
Man and Natural Resources, Bihać