World Wetlands Day 2010 -- Slovenia
WWD 2010 World Wetlands Day – Nature walk along the Mura River
This year we celebrate ten years since the first nature walk took place along the Mura River with 15 participants of NGO Tabrih, which endeavours to preserve the natural and cultural heritage. It`s been ten years since the idea was born to include Mura River on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. What is the situation after 10 years?
With this opening speech we attracted over 400 hikers to the nature walk along the Mura River in Mota/Cven on 31st of January, which was exceptional this year. Exceptional because it was attended by friends of Mura River not only from Prekmurje, Prlekija, Gorenjska, Štajerska and other parts of Slovenia, but also from Austria, Hungary and Croatia.
During the walk we observed former river beds, we crossed the Mura River two times on a ferry and we exchanged a lot of thoughts and forged new ideas for future cooperation.
After ten years of organized nature walks on World Wetlands Day, it is realistic to declare this event traditional, not only for people eager on nature walks but also as one of the first New Year`s meetings of people dealing with environmental protection.
This year’s slogan of WWD 2010 “Caring for wetlands: an answer to climate change” will further reflect in Pomurje region if we won`t be able to protect the Mura River floodplain with all kinds of wetlands: flooded woodland, side-channels, abandoned oxbows, marshes, periodical puddles, wet meadows, reeds, gravel beds and sand banks.
Mura River with its floodplain between embankments represents the green oasis among the intensive cultivated arable land on both sides. With its everyday environment Mura River regulates the microclimate of the Murska plain, irrigated by rain with only 800 ml of rain per year. The loss of this floodplain, its decreasing and drainage could bring accelerated effects of climate change in Pomurje region and even drought and desertification.
Message from the Ramsar office in Gland is clear and unambiguous. We have already lost too many wetlands in Europe. It is time to save and protect the remaining ones for the future generations. The Rivers Mura, Drava and Danube with their river basin form the Europe aorta. The efforts of people from countries through which these rivers flow should therefore be applauded. Croatians and Hungarian already achieved this aim – last year the Prime Ministers signed a declaration to establish a Trans-Boundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that will protect their shared biodiversity hotspot along the Rivers Mura, Drava and Danube. Will the governments of Austria, Slovenia and Serbia succeed? According to the hikers at World Wetlands Day 2010 in Mota/Cven, Slovenia, that would be a noble act for the future.