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A Jewel Under Threat

River Mura is the last large lowlands river in Slovenia that still retains its pristine character. Slowly flowing across the Pomurje plain Mura is a biodiversity hotspot, a Natura 2000 area hosting many endangered fish, birds and plants species. In 2018 the river and its floodplain was registered as a UNESCO biosphere reserve; it includes the largest preserved complex of floodplains in Slovenia, where the interweaving of natural factors and human presence has created an exceptional cultural riverine landscape.

However, this jewel is under threat. While Mura flows across Slovenia for only 28 kilometers (and 67 more along the border with Austria and Croatia), there are plans for seven (!) hydroelectric dams that would turn the free flowing river into a series of lifeless reservoirs.

But there was a great uproar ... thousands of people and over 100 organisations joined their forces in a fight against the desecration of this unique ecosystem under the banner of #SaveTheMura. The lobbies lost, the government relented ... the plans for dams are shelved - for now.

The wild and natural floodplains along the Mura with their maze of oxbows, river islands, hidden gravel banks and flooded forests remind of the Amazon. They contain the largest floodplain forests of Slovenia and their rich biodiversity includes the sparkling blue Kingfisher, the black stork, and the majestic white-tailed eagle.

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Rare sand martins breed in the natural steep banks, beavers build their dams and otters swim playfully in this pristine environment. The free-flowing Mura and its floodplains are a guarantor for clean water and healthy forests. Above all, the riverine landscape serves local communities as natural flood protection and is a valuable recreational area where people can enjoy rafting, fishing and relaxing.

Kite aerial photos shot with Nikon P330 on a delta kite.

This post incorporates text from Save the Mura campaign on Amazon of Europe - Mura-Drava-Danube website.