Neretva

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Neretva
NERETVA RIVER VALLEY NEAR POCITELJ.jpg
Lower Neretva Valley - pictured from behind the walls of Počitelj, looking north and upstream towards Počitelj village and its Citadel, and further behind Mostar.
Sliv Neretve.gif
Neretva+Trebišnjca watershed (in Bosnia-Herzegovina highlighted in red and green)
Bosnia and Herzegovina relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Neretva Delta
Etymologyof Illyrian origin, from Indo-European base *ner-, *nor- "to dive, dip, immerse"
Location
Countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia
Towns Ulog, Glavatičevo, Konjic, Jablanica, Mostar, Počitelj, Čapljina, Metković, Opuzen, Ploče
Physical characteristics
Source 
  location Lebršnik and Zelengora Mountains, Dinaric Alps, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  coordinates 43°16′18″N18°33′27″E / 43.271619°N 18.557508°E / 43.271619; 18.557508
  elevation1,227 m (4,026 ft)
Mouth Adriatic Sea
  location
Ploče, Croatia
  coordinates
43°01′17″N17°26′54″E / 43.021385°N 17.448328°E / 43.021385; 17.448328 Coordinates: 43°01′17″N17°26′54″E / 43.021385°N 17.448328°E / 43.021385; 17.448328
  elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length225 km (140 mi) [1]
Basin size11,798 km2 (4,555 sq mi) [1]
Discharge 
  average341 m3/s (12,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Progression NeretvaAdriatic Sea
River system Adriatic
Tributaries 
  left Mostarska Bijela, Buna, Bregava, Krupa
  right Rakitnica, Rama, Trebižat
Waterbodies Uloško Lake, Boračko jezero, Blatačko Lake, Jablaničko Lake, Ramsko Lake, Salakovačko Lake, Grabovičko Lake, Mostarsko Lake, Hutovo Blato, Vrutak, Neretva Delta
Bridges Stara Ćuprija, Stari Most
Inland ports Metković

The Neretva (pronounced  [něreːtʋa] , Serbian Cyrillic : Неретва), also known as the Narenta, is one of the largest rivers of the eastern part of the Adriatic basin. Four HE power-plants with large dams (higher than 15 metres) [2] provide flood protection, power and water storage. It is recognized for its natural environment and diversity of its landscape. [3]

The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script for Serbo-Croatian, developed in 1818 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić. It is one of the two alphabets used to write standard modern Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin, the other being Latin.

Hydroelectricity electricity generated by hydropower

Hydroelectricity is electricity produced from hydropower. In 2015, hydropower generated 16.6% of the world's total electricity and 70% of all renewable electricity, and was expected to increase by about 3.1% each year for the next 25 years.

Dam A barrier that stops or restricts the flow of surface or underground streams

A dam is a barrier that stops or restricts the flow of water or underground streams. Reservoirs created by dams not only suppress floods but also provide water for activities such as irrigation, human consumption, industrial use, aquaculture, and navigability. Hydropower is often used in conjunction with dams to generate electricity. A dam can also be used to collect water or for storage of water which can be evenly distributed between locations. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. The earliest known dam is the Jawa Dam in Jordan, dating to 3,000 BC.

Contents

Freshwater ecosystems have suffered from an increasing population and the associated development pressures. One of the most valuable natural resources of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia is its freshwater resource, [4] contained by an abundant wellspring and clear rivers. [4] [5] Situated between the major regional rivers (Drina river on the east, Una river on the west and the Sava river) the Neretva basin contains the most significant [4] source of drinking water.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Republic in Southeast Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city.

Croatia sovereign republic in Southeast Europe

Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro to the southeast, sharing a maritime border with Italy. Its capital, Zagreb, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with twenty counties. Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometres and a population of 4.28 million, most of whom are Roman Catholics.

River Natural flowing watercourse

A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.

The Neretva is notable [6] [7] among rivers of the Dinaric Alps region, especially regarding its diverse ecosystems and habitats, flora and fauna, cultural and historic heritage. [4] [5]

Dinaric Alps mountain range in Southeastern Europe

The Dinaric Alps, also commonly Dinarides, are a mountain range in Southern and Southeastern Europe, separating the continental Balkan Peninsula from the Adriatic Sea. They stretch from Italy in the northwest through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo to Albania in the southeast.

Flora inventory of plant species in a given region

Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animal life is fauna. Flora, fauna and other forms of life such as fungi are collectively referred to as biota. Sometimes bacteria and fungi are also referred to as flora, as in the terms gut flora or skin flora.

Fauna set of animal species in any particular region and time

Fauna is all of the animal life present in a particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora. Flora, fauna and other forms of life such as fungi are collectively referred to as biota. Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess Shale fauna". Paleontologists sometimes refer to a sequence of faunal stages, which is a series of rocks all containing similar fossils. The study of animals of a particular region is called faunistics.

Its name has been suggested to come from the Indo-European root *ner, meaning "to dive". The same root is seen in the Serbo-Croatian root "roniti". [8]

Geography and hydrology

The Neretva flows through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia until reaching the Adriatic Sea. It is the largest karst river in the Dinaric Alps in the eastern part of the Adriatic basin/watershed. Its total length is 230 kilometres (143 miles), of which 208 kilometres (129 miles) are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the final 22 kilometres (14 miles) are in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County of Croatia. [9]

Adriatic Sea Body of water between the Italian Peninsula and the Balkan Peninsula

The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto to the northwest and the Po Valley. The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro and Slovenia. The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands, mostly located along the Croatian part of its eastern coast. It is divided into three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,233 metres (4,045 ft). The Otranto Sill, an underwater ridge, is located at the border between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The prevailing currents flow counterclockwise from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast and back to the strait along the western (Italian) coast. Tidal movements in the Adriatic are slight, although larger amplitudes are known to occur occasionally. The Adriatic's salinity is lower than the Mediterranean's because the Adriatic collects a third of the fresh water flowing into the Mediterranean, acting as a dilution basin. The surface water temperatures generally range from 30 °C (86 °F) in summer to 12 °C (54 °F) in winter, significantly moderating the Adriatic Basin's climate.

Karst Topography formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks

Karst is a topography formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. It is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves. It has also been documented for more weathering-resistant rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions. Subterranean drainage may limit surface water, with few to no rivers or lakes. However, in regions where the dissolved bedrock is covered or confined by one or more superimposed non-soluble rock strata, distinctive karst features may occur only at subsurface levels and can be totally missing above ground.

Dubrovnik-Neretva County County in southern Croatia

The Dubrovnik-Neretva County is the southernmost Croatian county, located in south Dalmatia. The county seat is Dubrovnik and other large towns are Korčula, Metković, Opuzen and Ploče. The Municipality of Neum, which belongs to neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, divides the county in two parts.

The Neretva watershed is 11,798 square kilometres (4,555 sq mi) in total; in Bosnia and Herzegovina 11,368 square kilometres (4,389 sq mi) with the addition of the Trebišnjica river watershed and in Croatia, 430 square kilometres (170 sq mi). [1] The average discharge at profile Žitomislići in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 233 cubic metres (8,200 cu ft)/s and at the mouth in Croatia is 341 cubic metres (12,000 cu ft)/s in addition to the Trebišnjica River's 402 cubic metres (14,200 cu ft)/s. The Trebišnjica River basin is included in the Neretva watershed due to a physical link of the two basins by the porous karst terrain.

Trebišnjica is a river in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It used to be a sinking river, 96.5 km (60.0 mi) long above the ground. With a total length of 187 km (116 mi) above and under the ground, it is one of the longest sinking rivers in the world.

The hydrological parameters of Neretva are regularly monitored in Croatia at Metković. [10]

Sections

View on the river Neretva, "U" shaped turn with plateau and village Lug at the outskirts of Jablanica, summer 2010. River Neretva with Lug in background (Jablanica).jpg
View on the river Neretva, "U" shaped turn with plateau and village Lug at the outskirts of Jablanica, summer 2010.

Geographically and hydrologically the Neretva is divided into three sections. [11]

Its source and headwaters gorge are situated deep in the Dinaric Alps at the base of the Zelengora and Lebršnik mountains, specifically under the Gredelj saddle. The river source is at 1,227 meters above sea level and consists of five small and distinct wellsprings. On its 90 kilometers course through the first section the Neretva cuts two distinct deep and narrow canyons and two distinct wide and fertile valleys, around Ulog and then around Glavatičevo, before it reaches town of Konjic. This section is also better known as the Upper Neretva (Bosnian : Gornja Neretva), and here river flows generally from east-southeast to north-northwest as do most Bosnia and Herzegovina rivers belonging to the Danube watershed, and covers some 1,390 square kilometres (540 sq mi) with an average elevation of 1.2%. Right below Konjic, the Neretva again expands into a third and largest valley which provided fertile agricultural land before it was flooded by large artificial reservoir, Jablaničko Lake, formed after construction of a Jablanica Dam near town of Jablanica. [11] [12]

The Neretva headwaters - First of three distinct canyons, just downstream of Ulog. Prurva horni Neretvy2, zname sestkove pereje.jpg
The Neretva headwaters - First of three distinct canyons, just downstream of Ulog.
The Neretva rich fresh water karstic aquifer - Second of three distinct canyons, just downstream of Glavaticevo and before Konjic Nejuzsi misto kanonu Neretvy.jpg
The Neretva rich fresh water karstic aquifer - Second of three distinct canyons, just downstream of Glavatičevo and before Konjic

.

The second section begins from the confluence of the Neretva and the Rama between Konjic and Jablanica where the Neretva suddenly takes almost 180° degrees turn toward east-southeast and flows the short leg before reaches town of Jablanica, from which point turns again toward south. From Jablanica, the Neretva enters third and the largest canyon on its course, running through the steep slopes mountains of Prenj, Čvrsnica and Čabulja reaching 800–1,200 metres (2,625–3,937 feet) in depth. Three hydroelectric dams operate between Jablanica and Mostar. [12]

When the Neretva expands for the second and final time, it reaches its third section. This area is often colloquially called the "Bosnian and Herzegovinian California". The last 30 kilometres (19 miles) of its course forms wide alluvial delta, before the river empties into the Adriatic Sea. [13]

Neretva River in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Neretva at Mostar2.JPG
Neretva River in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tributaries

Rivers of the Tatinac (also known as the Jezernica), the Gornji Krupac and Donji Krupac, the Ljuta (also known as the Dindolka), the Jesenica, the Bjelimićka Rijeka, the Slatinica, the Račica, the Rakitnica, the Ljuta (Konjička), the Trešanica, the Neretvica, the Rama, Doljanka, the Drežanka, the Grabovica, the Radobolja, and the Trebižat flow into the Neretva from the right, while the Jezernica, the Živanjski Potok (also known as the Živašnica), the Lađanica, the Krupac, the Bukovica, the Šištica, the Bijela, the Idbar, the Glogošnica, the Mostarska Bijela, the Buna, the Bregava, and the Krupa flow into it from the left.

Upper Neretva Canyon near Glavaticevo Gornja Neretva 1.jpg
Upper Neretva Canyon near Glavatičevo

Towns and villages

Towns and villages on the Neretva include Ulog, Glavatičevo, Konjic, Čelebići, Ostrožac, Jablanica, Grabovica, Drežnica, Bijelo polje, Vrapčići, Mostar, Buna village, the historical town of Blagaj, Žitomislići, the historical village of Počitelj, Tasovčići, Čapljina, and Gabela in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Metković, Opuzen, Komin, Rogotin, and Ploče in Croatia. The biggest town on the Neretva River is Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Upper Neretva

Upper Neretva Valley, area of Glavaticevo village, upstream from Konjic. Kanon Neretvy, oblibeny vodacky raj z Cepy (1006 m).jpg
Upper Neretva Valley, area of Glavatičevo village, upstream from Konjic.
Rakitnica river and its canyon. Kanon Rakitnice z visocicke strany, proti proudu stredni cas.jpg
Rakitnica river and its canyon.

The upper course of the Neretva river is simply called the Upper Neretva (Bosnian : Gornja Neretva). It includes numerous streams and well-springs, three major glacial lakes near the river and more lakes scattered across the mountains of Treskavica and Zelengora in the wider area, mountains, peaks and forests, flora and fauna of the area. The Upper Neretva has water of Class I purity [14] and is almost certainly the coldest river water in the world, often as low as 7–8 degrees Celsius in the summer months.[ citation needed ] Rising from the base of the Zelengora and Lebršnik Mountain, Neretva headwaters run in undisturbed rapids and waterfalls, carving steep gorges reaching 600–800 metres (2,000–2,600 ft) in depth.

Rakitnica River

The Rakitnica is the main tributary of the first section (Bosnian : Gornja Neretva). The Rakitnica River forms a 26 km (16 miles) long canyon, out of its 32 km (20 miles) length, that stretches between Bjelašnica and Visočica to the southeast from Sarajevo. [15] From the canyon, a hiking trail along the ridge of the Rakitnica canyon drops 800 m below, to the famous village of Lukomir. The village is the only remaining traditional semi-nomadic Bosniak mountain village in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At almost 1,500 m, Lukomir features stone homes with cherry-wood roof tiles. It is the country's highest and most isolated mountain village. The village is inaccessible from the first snows in December until late April and sometimes even later, except by skis or on foot.

Middle Neretva

Railway bridge over the Grabovica fl. in the Neretva's middle section canyon, cca.1970, 10 yrs. prior formation of artificial lake NERETVA RIVER BRIDGES, BOSNIA.jpg
Railway bridge over the Grabovica fl. in the Neretva's middle section canyon, cca.1970, 10 yrs. prior formation of artificial lake
Railway bridge over the Drezanka fl. in the Neretva's middle section canyon, cca.1970, 10 yrs. prior formation of artificial lake NERETVA RIVER GORGE BRIDGES.jpg
Railway bridge over the Drežanka fl. in the Neretva's middle section canyon, cca.1970, 10 yrs. prior formation of artificial lake
Mostarska Bijela valley, view from 2000 m.a.s.l. Udoli Mostarske Bijele, vysk. rozdil 2000 m.jpg
Mostarska Bijela valley, view from 2000 m.a.s.l.

Hydrographically the Middle Neretva section begins from town of Konjic, but after the construction of Jablanica Hydroelectric Power Station and flooding of large fertile valley between Konjic and Jablanica, known simply as "Neretva" since Middle Ages, the new point for hydrographical division became dam of the Jablanica HPP where also is a place of confluence of the rivers Neretva and Rama. Here the Neretva river suddenly takes almost 180° degrees turn toward east-southeast and flows the short leg before it reach town of Jablanica. From this point it turns again toward south and enters third and the largest canyon on its course, running through the steep slopes of the mountains of Prenj, Čvrsnica and Čabulja, reaching between 800–1,200 metres (2,625–3,937 feet) in depth. This section is characterized with steep and relatively narrow canyon, and rugged karstic geology and hydrology. Four enormous vales-size rifts appear in the mountainsides forming canyon walls, two from each sides of the river, intersecting with the main canyon almost perpendicularly. The Neretva receives only four small streams in this section, all running through these side-vales, which are relatively short. Going downstream from Jablanica, first two from each side are the Glogošnica stream, its eponymous canyon and small village, at the left, and the Grabovica stream with eponymous canyon and historical village, from the right side. Further downstream two much larger vales appear again on each side, first on the right the stream of Drežanka and its large and steep valley, with two eponymous villages, Donja (Lower) and Gornja (Upper) Drežnica, and than Mostarska Bijela, as one the most pristine vales in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with its eponymous uniquely characteristic subterranean stream, embedded deep into the Prenj mountain, on the left. Although these streams are of low outflow, there are also numerous wellsprings rising on both sides of the canyon at the river banks, with high-capacity discharge. Three large hydroelectric power stations operate in this section of the Neretva, between Jablanica and Mostar, namely Grabovica HPP, Salakovac HPP and Mostar HPP. [12]

Lakes

Jablanica Lake and suspension bridge at Ostrozac village. Viseci most Ostrozac.jpg
Jablanica Lake and suspension bridge at Ostrožac village.

Jablanica lake is a large artificial lake on the Neretva river, right below Konjic where the Neretva expands into a wide valley. The river provided fertile, agricultural land before the lake flooded most of it. The lake was created in 1953 after construction of a largegravitational hydroelectric dam near Jablanica in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. The lake has an irregular, elongated shape, and its width varies along its length. The lake is a popular vacation destination. [2]

Wetlands

Downstream from the confluence of its tributaries, the Trebižat and Bregava Rivers, the valley spreads into an alluvial fan covering 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres). The upper valley, the 7,411 hectares in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is called Hutovo Blato.

Hutovo Blato

Hutovo Blato Hutovo blato6.jpg
Hutovo Blato
Hutovo Blato Hutovo Blato, mokrad a vyznamne hnizdiste ptactva v jizni He.jpg
Hutovo Blato

The Neretva Delta has been recognised as a Ramsar site since 1992, and Hutovo Blato since 2001. Both areas form one integrated Ramsar site that is a natural entity divided by the state border. [3] The Important Bird Areas programme, conducted by Birdlife International, covers protected areas in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. [16]

Since 1995, Hutovo Blato has been protected as Hutovo Blato Nature Park [17]

[18] and managed by a public authority. The whole zone is protected from human impact and provides habitat for many plants and animals. [16] The historical site Old Fortress Hutovo Blato is in the Nature Park.

Gornje Blato-Deransko Lake is supplied by the karstic water sources of the Trebišnjica River, emerging from bordering hills. It is hydro-geologically connected to the Neretva River through its effluent, the Krupa River, formed out of five lakes (Škrka, Deranja, Jelim, Orah, Drijen). Large portions are permanently flooded and isolated by wide groves of reedbebds and trees. It represents a more interesting preserved area. [18]

Krupa river Rijeka krupa 1.JPG
Krupa river

Krupa River

The Krupa River is a Neretva left tributary and the main water current of Hutovo Blato, which carries the waters from Gornje Blato and Svitavsko Lake into the Neretva River. The length of Krupa is 9 km (6 miles) with an average depth of 5 metres (16 feet). The Krupa does not have a specific source, but is an arm of Deransko Lake. Also, the Krupa is a unique river in Europe, because it flows both ways. It flows both towards and back from its mouth. This happens when a high water level causes Neretva to push Krupa in the opposite direction. [18]

Neretva Delta

Cultivated slots and natural marshes of the complex Neretva Delta Neretva Delta 001.jpg
Cultivated slots and natural marshes of the complex Neretva Delta

Passing towns and villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Neretva spills out into the Adriatic Sea, building a wetland delta that is listed under the Ramsar Convention as internationally important. [19] [16]

The mouth of the Neretva river near port-town of Ploce, Croatia. Dalmatia Neretva river delta IMG 9871.JPG
The mouth of the Neretva river near port-town of Ploče, Croatia.

In this lower alluvial valley in Croatia, the Neretva River splinters into multiple courses, creating a delta covering approximately 12,000 hectares. The delta in Croatia has been reduced by extensive land reclamation projects, reducing the river flows to just three branches from the original twelve. The marshes, lagoons and lakes that once dotted this plain have disappeared and only fragments of the old Mediterranean wetlands survive. [20] Wetlands, marshes and lagoons, lakes, beaches, rivers, hummocks (limestone hills) and mountains comprise the delta, with five protected areas with a total area of 1,620 ha. These are ornithological, ichthyologic and landscape reserves. [20]

Endemic and endangered species

Dinaric karst water systems support 25% of the total of 546 fish species in Europe, many endemic. The Neretva River, together with four other areas in the Mediterranean, has the largest number of threatened freshwater fish species. [21] The degree of endemism in the karst ecoregion is greater than 10%. Multiple fish species have small habitats and are vulnerable, so they are included on the Red List of endangered fish as of 2006. The Adriatic basin has 88 species of fish, of which 44 are Mediterranean endemic species, and 41 are Adriatic endemic species. More than half of the Adriatic river basin species of fish inhabit the Neretva, the Ombla, the Trebišnjica, the Morača Rivers and their tributaries, and more than 30 are endemic. [22]

Invasive species

A pike perch (Sander lucioperca Linnaeus 1758) [23] (also see Sander (genus)) population in the Neretva River watershed was observed in 1990 for the first time. The Rama River, a right tributary of the Neretva, and its Rama Lake received an unknown quantity of this allochthonous species. Population estimates have increased in the Neretva accumulation lakes. This fact confirms previous scientific assumptions of Škrijelj (1991, 1995), who predicted the possibility of pike perch displacement (migration) from Ramsko Lake to the Rama River and then further downstream to the river and its lakes. In 1990 the perch population made up 1.95% of the fish population in Rama Lake. Within a decade this rose to 25.42% in the nearby Jablaničko Lake.

The fast pace of pike perch population growth and displacements is expected to match the environmental conditions from the mid-ecological valence of this fish.[ clarification needed ] In this sense, it is the established continuous and accelerated growth of the population dynamics of pike perch in Jablaničko Lake, a relatively good representation in Salakovačko Lake and the beginning of growth of population in Grabovičko Lake. Parallel with the increase in pike perch is a decrease in indigenous species like European chub also white chub ( Squalius cephalus ), and the disappearance of rare and endemic species like Adriatic Dace also Balkan dace ( Squalius svallize also Leuciscus svallize Heckel & Kner 1858), Neretvan softmouth trout (Salmothymus obtusirostris oxyrhinchus Steind.) and marble trout ( Salmo marmoratus Cuv.).

Pike perch causes clearly visible, negative effects on the autochthonous species in Jablaničko Lake. In Salakovačko Lake these effects are in progress, although less visible, while in Grabovičko Lake it is not yet clearly visible.

Salmonids

Softmouth trout Softmouth.jpg
Softmouth trout
Marble trout Marble trout from zadlascica.jpg
Marble trout
Dentex trout Salmo dentex.jpg
Dentex trout

Salmonid fish from the Neretva basin show considerable variation in morphology, ecology and behaviour. [24] [25]

Among most endangered are three endemic species of trout: Neretvan softmouth trout ( Salmothymus obtusirostris oxyrhinchus Steind.), [26] Toothtrout (Salmo dentex) [27] and marble trout ((Salmo marmoratus Cuv.). [28]

All three endemic trout species of the Neretva are endangered, mostly due to the habitat destruction or construction of large/major dams ("large" is higher than 15–20 m; "major" is over 150–250 m). [2] Other problems include hybridization or genetic pollution with introduced, non-native trouts, illegal fishing and poor water and fisheries management. [29] [30]

Cyprinids

The most endangered cyprinids (family Cyprinidae) are endemic.

Especially interesting are five Phoxinellus (sub)species that inhabit isolated karstic plains (fields) of eastern as well as western Herzegovina in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which eventually reach the Neretva watershed and/or coastal drainages of south-eastern Dalmatia.

Cobitidae

The Neretvan spined loach (Cobitis narentana Karaman, 1928) is an Adriatic watershed endemic that inhabits a narrow area of the Neretva watershed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina [39] In Bosnia and Herzegovina it inhabits only the lower Neretva and its smaller tributaries like the Matica River. In Croatia it is a strictly protected species and inhabits only the Neretva delta and its smaller tributaries, the (Norin) and lake systems of the Neretva delta (Baćina lakes, Kuti, Desne, Modro oko). [39] It is considered Vulnerable (VU).

Neretva delta endemics

The Neretva delta hosts more than 20 endemic species, of which 18 are endemic to the Adriatic watershed, along with three endemic species in Croatia. Nearly half (45%) of the total number of species that inhabit this area are included in one of the categories of threat and are mainly endemic. [22]

Hydroelectric controversy

The benefits brought by hydroelectric dams have come at an environmental and social cost. [40] [41] The waters of the Neretva river with its two main tributaries, the Rama and the Trebišnjica, are already harnessed by 9 (nine) Hydroelectric power plants with large dams, four on Neretva main stream, one with a major dam on the Rama tributary, and another three on the Trebišnjica River. [2]

These facilities are as follows:

There are additional number of hydroelectric power station of various capacity on smaller tributaries, such as Mostarsko Blato Hydroelectric Power Station on the Lištica (downstream from HPP named Jasenica), Peć Mlini Hydroelectric Power Station on the Trebižat, and numerous small hydro on the small river tributaries like Tatinac, Trešanica, Neretvica and Duščica, with a proposed small hydro on the rivers Doljanka, Glogošnica, and one abandoned on the Idbar.

Projects in Upper Neretva

The government of the Bosnia and Herzegovina has unveiled plans to build three more hydroelectric power plants with dams over 150.5 metres in height [2] upstream from the existing plants, beginning with Glavaticevo Hydro Power Plant in the village of Glavatičevo, then going upstream to Bjelimići Hydro Power Plant and Ljubuča Hydro Power Plant located near the eponymous villages; and another, by the Republic of Srpska, at the Neretva headwaters gorge, near the source of the river. It is similarly opposed by environmental organizations and NGO's, such as Zeleni-Neretva Konjic [42] and the World Wildlife Fund. [5] [19] [43] [44] [45]

Bosnia and Herzegovina is preparing a parallel plan to form a large national park to include the entire region of Gornja Neretva (English: Upper Neretva), and have within the park the three hydroelectric plants. The latest idea is that the park should be divided in two, where the Neretva should be excluded from both and would become the boundary between parks. Those who oppose the plan wish to have the area turned into the National Park of Upper Neretva and would leave the park without substantial development. [40] [46] [47]

The Upper Horizons - Trebišnjica

In recent times the Republic of Srpska government finished the project named The Upper Horizons (Bosnian : Gornji horizonti), a large hydroelectric project that diverted underground waters in the Neretva watershed to the Trebišnjica plant and others in the Trebišnjica basin. This project was opposed by NGO's in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. They argued that the project would increase salinity levels of every surface and underground water on the right bank of the Neretva, damage internationally recognized Ramsar sites, a protected Nature Park Hutovo Blato in Bosnia and Herzegovina, protected Neretva Delta in Croatia, and important reservoirs of freshwater, plus agricultural lands in the lower Neretva valley.[ citation needed ]

Hydroelectric Power Plant Mostar, upstream from city of Mostar. Hidroelektrana Mostar.jpg
Hydroelectric Power Plant Mostar, upstream from city of Mostar.

Cultural and Historical significance

Old stone pedestrian bridge in Konjic. Konjic - Neretva river.JPG
Old stone pedestrian bridge in Konjic.

Early history

During antiquity, the Neretva was known as Narenta, Narona and Naro(n), [48] [49] [50] and was the inland [51] home to the ancient Illyrian tribe of Ardiaei. They became ship builders, seafarers and fishermen. Archaeological discoveries of Illyrian culture dealt both with daily and religious life such as the discovery of ancient Illyrian shipwrecks found in Hutovo Blato, in the vicinity of the Neretva River. [52]

After intense excavations in the area of Hutovo Blato in the autumn of 2008, archaeologists from Bosnia and Herzegovina University of Mostar and Sweden University of Lund found traces of an Illyrian trading post that was more than two thousand years old. The find is unique in a European perspective and archaeologists have concluded that Desilo, as the location is called, was an important trading post of great significance for contact between the Illyrians and the Romans. Archaeological finds include the ruins of a settlement, the remains of a harbour that probably functioned as a trading post, as well as many sunken boats, fully laden with wine pitchers – so-called amphorae – from the 1st century BC. [53] Archaeologist Adam Lindhagen claimed that it was the most important Illyrian ruin. [54] [55]

Roman period

One of the most significant monuments of Roman times in Bosnia and Herzegovina is Mogorjelo. Located 1 kilometer south of the town of Čapljina, Mogorjelo remnants of the old Roman suburban Villa Rustica from the 4th century represents ancient Roman agricultural production and estate, mills, bakeries, olive oil refinery and forges. [56] The Villa was destroyed in the middle of the 4th century, during the invasion of western Goths. Surviving residents did not restore it to its original splendor. The name of Mogorjelo is thought to be derived either from the Slavic word for "burn" (Slavic – goriti) or that at the end of the 5th century the church was built on the ruins of the Villa, and was dedicated to St. Hermagor – Mogoru. [57]

Middle Ages

In the Early Middle Ages, the South Slavic Narentines held the region. They were known for piracy and resisted Christianization until they were defeated by the Venetians, and then the Byzantines, at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries.[ citation needed ]

Gabela is a rich archaeological site on the Neretva bank, situated 5 km (3 miles) south of Čapljina. Along with notable medieval buildings, remains of Old City walls, and a sculpture of a stone lion – a symbol of Venetian culture survived. For its remarkable geostrategic position, Gabela was linked to Homer's most famous work – the Iliad .[ citation needed ]

Ottoman period

Stari Most (Old Bridge), 16th century, Mostar 20130606 Mostar 247.jpg
Stari Most (Old Bridge), 16th century, Mostar

The Old Bridge was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557 to replace an older wooden suspension bridge. Construction began in 1557 and took nine years: according to the inscription the bridge was completed in 974 AH, corresponding to the period between 19 July 1566 and 7 July 1567. Memories and legends and the name of the builder, Mimar Hayruddin (student of the Old/Great Sinan (Mimar Sinan / Koca Sinan), the Ottoman architect) were preserved in writing. Charged under pain of death to construct a bridge of such unprecedented dimensions, the architect reportedly prepared for his own funeral on the day the scaffolding was finally removed from the completed structure. Upon its completion it was the widest man-made arch in the world. Associated technical issues remain obscure: how the scaffolding was erected, how the stone was transported from one bank to the other, and how the scaffolding was maintained during construction. On 9 November 1993, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina it was destroyed by sustained artillery shelling. [58] After the war, immediate plans were raised to reconstruct the bridge as a symbol of peace and ethnic harmony, literally bridging the two sides of the conflict. They attempted to reuse as much original material as possible. Salvage operations, funded by the international community, raised the stones and the remains of the bridge from the river bed. Missing elements or parts that were not usable were cut from the original quarry. Now listed as a World Heritage Site, the bridge was rebuilt under the aegis of UNESCO. Its 1,088 stones were shaped according to the original techniques, at a cost of about €12 million. The grand opening was held on 23 July 2004.[ citation needed ]

Fortified Pocitelj looking downstream the Neretva Pocitelj down the Neretva.jpg
Fortified Počitelj looking downstream the Neretva

It is traditional for the town's young men to leap from the 24 metres (79 ft) bridge into the Neretva. The practice dates back to 1566, the time the bridge was built, and an event was held every summer in front of population. The first recorded instance of someone diving off the bridge is from 1664. In 1968 a formal diving competition was inaugurated and held every summer. [59]

Počitelj is situated on a hill near Mostar and is easily accessible by bus. As with many other Bosnian sites, this town is Ottoman in design. It is a historic fortified town with a hostel (caravanserai) and a hamam beneath. A traditional mosque is there. During the Bosnian War Počitelj was badly damaged and most of its residents fled and never returned [60]

World War II: Battle of the Neretva

Famous bridge, focal point of the Battle of Neretva Neretva most.jpg
Famous bridge, focal point of the Battle of Neretva

The famous Battle of Neretva is a 1969 Oscar-nominated motion picture depicting events from the Second World War and the actual Battle of the Neretva. [61] Codenamed Fall Weiß , the operation was a German plan for a combined attack launched in early 1943 against Yugoslav Partisans throughout occupied Yugoslavia. The offensive took place between January and April 1943. The operation used to be known, in socialist Yugoslav times, as the Fourth Enemy Offensive, or as the Battle for the Wounded.

At one point during the battle, the Partisans were caught in a pocket with their back to the Neretva River. Near Jablanica, 20,000 Partisans under command of Marshal Josip Broz Tito struggled to save some 4500 wounded comrades and typhus patients together with the Supreme Headquarters and Main Hospital, against some 150,000 Axis combatants. [62]

Neretva River in Metkovic, Croatia. Neretva metkovic2.jpg
Neretva River in Metković, Croatia.

Celebrated Bosnian and Herzegovinian poet, Mak Dizdar often used the river Neretva as motif in his poetry, alongside other historical, cultural and natural feature of his native Herzegovina. The famous Battle of Neretva is a 1969 Oscar-nominated motion picture depicting events from the Second World War and the actual Battle of the Neretva. [61] Many folk songs are written or performed with the Neretva as main theme.

See also

Related Research Articles

Herzegovina-Neretva Canton canton in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Herzegovina-Neretva Canton is one of 10 cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Čvrsnica mountain

Čvrsnica is a mountain in the Dinarides of Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in northern Herzegovina, most of the mountain is located in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton municipalities of Mostar and Jablanica while the smaller part of the mountain, around 10% is located in the municipality of Posušje. The highest peak (Pločno) is 2228 metres.

<i>Salmo obtusirostris</i> species of fish

Salmo obtusirostris, also known as the Adriatic trout, Adriatic salmon, and softmouth trout, is a species of salmonid fish endemic to the rivers of Western Balkans in southeastern Europe. The scientific name has changed several times through history; synonyms include Thymallus microlepis, Salmothymus obtusirostris and Salar obtusirostris.

Hutovo Blato protected area

Hutovo Blato is a nature reserve and bird reserve located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is primarily composed of marshlands that were created by the underground aquifer system of the Krupa River. It is fed from the limestone massif of Ostrvo that divides the Deransko Lake and Svitavsko Lake. The reserve is on the list of BirdLife International's Important Bird Areas. It is the largest reserve of its kind in the region, in terms of both size and diversity. It is home to over 240 types of migratory birds and dozens that make their permanent home in the sub-Mediterranean wetlands surrounding Deransko Lake. In the migration season, tens of thousands of birds fill the lake and its surroundings.

Jablaničko lake lake

Jablaničko lake is a large artificially formed lake on the Neretva river, right below Konjic where the Neretva briefly expands into a wide valley. River provided lot of fertile, agricultural land there, before lake flooded most of it. The lake was created in 1953 after construction of Jablanica Dam near Jablanica in central Bosnia and Herzegovina.

<i>Salmo dentex</i> species of fish

Salmo dentex is a variety of trout, a freshwater fish in the Salmonidae family, found in the western Balkans. Until recently the identity, biological distinctness and species status of the dentex trout were not properly clarified, but genetic data now suggest it is not a monophyletic unit that could be distinguished from other salmonids as a separate species.

<i>Salmo marmoratus</i> species of fish

Salmo marmoratus is a species of freshwater fish in the Salmonidae family. It is characterized by a distinctive marbled color pattern and high growth capacity. The marble trout is found in only handful drainages and rivers of the Adriatic basin in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, while in Albania species is considered most likely extirpated.

Čapljina Hydroelectric Power Station dam in Čapljina

The Čapljina Pumped-Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant (PSHPP) or pumped hydroelectric energy storage power plant (PHESPP) type of hydroelectric power plant, whose powerhouse is situated underground near Svitava, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It's one of country's largest hydroelectric power plants of any type, having an installed electric capacity of 420 MW.

Konjic Town and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Konjic is a town and municipality located in Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located in northern Herzegovina, around 60 kilometres (37 mi) southwest of Sarajevo. It is a mountainous, heavily wooded area, and is 268 m (879 ft) above sea level. The municipality extends on both sides of the Neretva River. As of 2013, it has a population of 26,381 inhabitants.

Herzegovina Historical region in the Balkans

Herzegovina is the southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It never had strictly defined geographical or cultural borders and it is not an administrative division in modern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is generally taken to border larger Bosnia to the north, Dalmatia to the southwest and Montenegro to the southeast. Measurements of the area range widely from c. 11,500 km2 (4,400 sq mi), or around 23% of the total area of the present-day country, to c. 12,300 km2 (4,700 sq mi), around 25% of the country.

Rakitnica river in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rakitnica is the main tributary of the first section of the Neretva river, also called Upper Neretva (Bosnian: Gornja Neretva). It meets Neretva from the right, flowing from north to south, between Bjelašnica and Visočica mountains.

Krupa (Neretva) River in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Krupa river is a left tributary of the river Neretva and the main water current of Hutovo Blato, which leads the waters from Gornje Blato and Svitavsko lake into the Neretva river near Dračevo. The length of Krupa is 9 km with an average depth of 5 meters. Krupa does not have an actual source, but is actually an arm of Deransko lake. Also, the Krupa is a unique river in Europe, because the river flows both ways. It flows 'normally' from the 'source' to the mouth and from the mouth to the 'source'. This happens when, due to high water level and large quantity of water, river Neretva pushes the Krupa river in opposite direction.

Glavatičevo Village in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Glavatičevo is a small village in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The village lies 30 km southeast of Konjic, within the wide Župa Valley straddling the Neretva river, in Konjic Municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Upper Neretva watercourse in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Geographically and hydrologically the Neretva is divided in three sections. The upper course of the Neretva river is called the Upper Neretva, and includes vast area around the Neretva, numerous streams and well-springs, three major glacial lakes near the very river and even more scatered across the mountains of Treskavica and Zelengora in wider area of the Upper Neretva, mountains, peaks and forests, flora and fauna of the area.

The fish fauna of the Neretva river basin in the western Balkans is representative of the Dinaric karst region and characterized by several endemic and endangered species.

Vrljika (river) river in Croatia

The Vrljika is short sinking river in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, belonging to Neretva River basin. Its source is located on the outskirts of village Proložac near town of Imotski, Croatia. The Vrljika River is home of endangered endemic Softmouth' trout, also known as Adriatic trout.

Svitavsko Lake

Svitavsko Lake is semi-artificial lake in Bosnia and Herzegovina, between village Svitava and Neretva river. The lake is a part of Hutovo Blato complex of marshes, lakes, underground karstic wellsprings and rivers, that form a Nature Park "Hutovo Blato".

Lake Vrutak

Lake Vrutak is artificial reservoir on the Trebišnjica river in Popovo Polje, near Hutovo village, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The lake serves as compensation and storage basin for Pump-Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant "Čapljina".

Jasenica is a sinking river in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It begins as the Ugrovača river, runs through canyon where it gets new name, the Brina, and flows into the town of Široki Brijeg. Here it connects with the Borak wellspring that rises at the base of the mountainside near Široki Brijeg, thus creating the Lištica river.

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