An inventory of barriers in Sarantaporos sub-basin, Aoos river basin, Greece


The Sarantaporos sub-basin is a biodiversity hot spot, constituting an important habitat for eleven (11) fish species, among which the European eel (Anguilla anguilla), a Critically Endangered (CR) species according to the Red Book of Greece, and the Western Balkan trout (Salmo farioides). The area is also home to an important population of the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), which depends on fish populations for its food, as well as twenty-nine (29) odonata species, corresponding to 1/3 of the species recorded in Greece.

Through the MapStream project, the barriers in the rivers and streams of the Sarantaporos sub-basin will be mapped and a road map will be created to record barriers and formulate selection criteria for the removal of obsolete barriers. Project results will contribute to the protection of Sarantaporos and the wider Aoos river basin, but they will also have a significant impact at national level, filling an important gap in national policy for the protection and management of river ecosystems. Furthermore, MapStream supports the implementation of the European Law on Nature Restoration in Greece, as well as the objectives of the European Open Rivers Programme, contributing to the empowerment of the Dam Removal Greece network.

In detail:

  1. The entire hydrographic network of the Sarantaporos and all its tributaries will be mapped for the first time, with thorough fieldwork to record all barriers in the area. An expert recording team will walk along more than 350 km of rivers collecting field data.
  2. A comprehensive database will be created for all recorded barriers in the Sarantaporos sub-basin, including the characteristics and description of each barrier along with detailed photographic evidence.
  3. An expert task force, comprising engineers, hydrologists and lawyers, as well as MedINA experts, will be set up to assess the barriers.
  4. A model methodology will be developed to select obsolete barriers for removal by assessing field data, their operational and ownership status, as well as the estimated risk of removal.
  5. Based on the above, and with the active participation of the local inhabitants, who have deep knowledge of the area, a priority list of obsolete barriers for removal will be developed, with its accompanying documentation.
  6. Results will be widely disseminated at national, regional and local level, raising awareness and mobilising the competent authorities on the need to remove obsolete barriers from the rivers and streams of the study area – but also at national scale.

MapStream works in tandem with the projects “Saving Europe’s last free-flowing river: Vjosa/Aoos”, “Ri-Connect”, “Let it Flow!” and “Scaling up dam removal: Implementation plan for SE Europe”, contributing to the wider goal of maintaining the free flow of the Aoos River and its tributaries as a transboundary ecological corridor and a resource for community development.