Since the beginning of engagement of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in BiH, one of the priorities of this organization is to preserve Hutovo Blato, which is located in southeastern Herzegovina, in the territory of Capljina and Stolac.
This unique wetland habitat is included on the list of wetlands of international importance and it is registered at the UNESCO Directorate in Paris.
Hutovo Blato was home to 44 species of fish, of which 9 are endemic, as well as a wintering area for about 300 bird species, but in the fifties, with early exploitation of the area in the energy and agricultural purposes, started draining of wetland and devastation of habitats of many animal and plant species.
It was found that the fundamental problem that led to the degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity and the accumulation of diverting water to generate electricity, and additional, and maybe even final kick to this delicate eco-system could be the project Upper horizons, which is carried out by hydroelectric power company Trebisnjica (HET) in the RS.
“With the realization of the project Upper horizons, as it is now conceived, the flow of water in the basin of the river Bregava would stop, which is key of survival of Hutovo Blato, and the second source of water for wetland in Hutovo would be terminated. This ultimately means that there would be complete disappearance of wetlands within ten years,” warned the Head of WWF’s Office in BiH, Zoran Mateljak.
Mateljak noted that the WWF does not oppose to the exploitation of the hydropower potential of the area, but advocates for the introduction of order and respect of environmental standards.
The head of WWF’s office in BiH reminds that wetlands were notion of something unnecessary, something which needs to be get rid of, but today their value and importance is known and developed countries are not drying up the wetlands.