Members of the SavaParks Network gathered for a three-day virtual meeting from 25 to 27 May 2020 and demonstrated yet again how joint efforts lead to a stronger network. This meeting of the member organizations’ representatives is an activity of the “Sava Parks II – Freedom for Sava” project, funded by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation. The goal of this meeting was to reach joint decisions related to the restoration of the Sava River and its floodplains. The participants of were presented with possible concepts of river restoration for the upstream area covering the part of the river flow in Slovenia and upstream from Zagreb in Croatia and the downstream area of Spačva and Bosut on the border of Croatia and Serbia. Project feasibility studies, which represent the basis for future restoration projects, will be prepared by the fall of next year. These projects will restore the glow of our beautiful Sava River.
Certain parts of the river have been altered by human activities and restoring them to their natural state would lead to the renewal of valuable habitats and better flood protection, but it would also lower the risk of losing valuable drinking water sources. These feasibility studies, the backbone of the “Sava Parks II – Freedom for Sava” project, will be followed by the documentation necessary for the implementation of the river restoration project. At the meeting, examples of ongoing water flow restoration projects LIFE Stržen in Slovenia and DRAVA LIFE in Croatia were presented. Representatives of Notranjska Regional park and WWF Adria presented examples of good practice and obstacles encountered so far in these Life projects and thus gave an insight and useful information to network members which will contribute to better elaboration of studies, and the implementation itself. In order to strengthen and improve the network, workshops were held which resulted in the adoption of the vision, mission and structure of the network in order to achieve better visibility and functionality of the SavaParks Network. The Network’s work does not stop there. This virtual gathering was extremely fruitful because the first concepts for future project ideas were developed. These include pressing topics such as conservation of floodplain forests, pastures and grasslands that are slowly but steadily disappearing; and the development of sustainable tourism, which fosters the preservation of natural, cultural and traditional values contributing to the improvement of life in local environments, connected by the one, the only and the irreplaceable Sava River.
SavaParks Network is a network of protected areas along the Sava River established on 2 February 2015. Today, it gathers 22 institutions and organizations that manage protected areas and natural resources in the Sava River Basin. The members of the Network are connected by a common interest – the preservation of natural and cultural values of the Sava River Basin for present and future generations.