Balkans Water Project - biomonitoring

for the Zeta River Nature Park

Internationally recognized for its high biodiversity values river Zeta basin is a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) and potential Special Protected Area (SPA), which is recommending this site for designation under the EU’s ecological network - NATURA 2000. The river is also home to a unique sub-species of Softmouth trout (Salmo obtusirostris). This species is currently listed as an endangered by the IUCN, and populations are declining.

In recent years, NGOs and local community members became increasingly concerned with mounting threats to the health of the Zeta river. These threats include overfishing and water quality deterioration from agricultural and industrial pollution. Locally led initiatives to conserve the aquatic ecosystem and freshwater health of the Zeta river culminated recently in governmental action to protect the river. In February 2019, Danilovgrad and Podgorica municipalities, along with the government of Montenegro, declared the river Zeta as a Nature Park. However, since then there has been no significant progress in regard to de facto environmental protection of this area.

In this context, in November 2020, EnvPro with our partner The Nature Conservancy (TNC) started a one year long project aiming to accomplish the following primary goals: a) develop a robust suite of baseline indicators for monitoring the aquatic ecosystem health of the Zeta river, b) develop a framework and system for tracking long-term monitoring of these indicators over time, c) equip and empower local community members and organizations to participate in the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the indicators developed. Importantly, this project will support Montenegro in meeting some of its EU harmonization and accession requirements and commitments.