Zovko: Rehabilitation of wetland ecosystem in Hutovo Blato Nature Park needed

Zovko: Rehabilitation of wetland ecosystem in Hutovo Blato Nature Park needed

ČAPLJINA, October 31 (FENA) – Low water level in Hutovo Blato Nature Park has a bad effect on fauna and flora, but also on tourism, the current situation is critical and this nature park needs rehabilitation of the wetland ecosystem as soon as possible, Director of the park Nikola Zovko said in an interview with FENA.

“For many years we have had problems with low water levels through July, August, September, October and even November, and this year it is the lowest so far. The habitats of Hutovo Blato are eager for moisture and water, so our park is changing due to their lack,” Zovko pointed out.

He added that the lack of water and moisture is not good also for the wetland birds, fish and flora of this nature park.

“Hutovo Blato Nature Park is known in the country, the region and internationally for a significant number of wetland birds for which water is necessary and they do not have the conditions they once had. Fish must also have optimal water for normal functioning, and this problem is especially seen during spawning, migration and the like, and as they do not have enough water, they sometimes bypass Hutovo Blato, especially migratory species that come here from the sea via the Neretva River. In addition to fish and birds, low water levels are certainly a problem of wild animals, flora, and a problem for us for navigability. We have been pointing out this problem for a long time and Hutovo Blato needs the rehabilitation of the wetland ecosystem immediately or as soon as possible,” said Zovko.

The Director of the said nature park points out that an action plan already exists for the rehabilitation of the ecosystem.

“We have prepared ways, methods and tools for how this should be done, but we are certainly waiting for the funds to be provided,” Zovko pointed out.

He added that there are visitors, but that there is no optimal navigability for boats.

According to him, this is one of the driest years in Hutovo Blato and the current situation is critical.

As for the summer of 2021, Zovko stated that it was only slightly better than in 2020, which was a disaster.

“Last year was a disaster for tourism and catering not only in BiH but everywhere. No school visited Hutovo Blato Nature Park because of the measures that were in place. In addition, our motel did not work, so we remember 2020 as extremely bad, or the worst in the history of Hutovo Blato. The year 2021 has been slightly better compared to the past, but maybe only some five or six percent, nothing significant, but we have used this time and are working to improve the tourist offer, so we hope that the coming years will be better,” said Zovko.

He pointed out that the project of the new Hutovo Blato Water Trail has been done, and that the trail will go through a beautiful environment and canal and river and lakes to the source zones.

The park should also offer electric boats with solar panels until the next tourist season.

“This is a project ‘Endemic Pathway’ (ePATH) supported through Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Program of Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Montenegro 2014-2020. This project and the Water Trails project lean on each other, and through ePATH we are working on a series of content that will enrich our tourist offer. Through it, we will get two electric boats with solar panels, which will significantly contribute to the development of tourism, and the protection of our waters and watercourses from fuel. Also, the ride will be much more pleasant, and as we have already started public procurement, we expect that these boats will be procured by the next tourist season,” said Zovko.