SGF project workshop in the Bardaca Wetlands in North Bosnia & Herzegovina
In the framework of the Ramsar 2005 Small Grants Fund project "restoration and rehabilitation of the Wetland Region Bardaca", a workshop was held on 24-25 November 2006 in the middle of the Bardaca area, where the Sava river forms the border between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia. This is a mosaic of near-natural Sava floodplain areas with diverse habitat structures and shallow fish ponds covering about one quarter of the Bardacha core area.
About 35 representatives from ministries and the University of the Serb Republic in Banja Luka, natural museums, agencies, local authorities, NGOs and individual land-owners participated in the two-day event.
The main target of the SGF project is the designation of the area as a Ramsar site and to elaborate a draft management plan, but it was also intended to develop materials for public awareness work and local education. While the workshop focused on the next steps for the first two aspects, this was also the occasion to launch the 24-page booklet "Bardaca - ecological values" (a bilingual version in Serbian and English). Furthermore a movie "Bardaca yesterday - today - tomorrow" was produced, which brings together nice aerial and landscape views with statements of experts on future management requirements.
The first workshop day was dedicated to looking at the results of comprehensive inventories of flora, fauna and socio-economic values as well as the way forward to designating Bardaca as a Wetland of International Importance. The presentation of the local approach at the Ramsar site Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, somewhat upstream in the Sava floodplain of Croatia, by the site manager Goran Gugic, was an important contribution to the discussion of the delineation of the future Bardaca Ramsar site in coherence with the hydrological regime needed for the fish ponds between the Vrbas and Sava rivers and the needs for the management of the other parts of the floodplain. This led the participants on the second day into thematic working groups on the implementation of the Ramsar Wise Use approach under the given local conditions, and on the elaboration of the Ramsar Information Sheet and the necessary steps towards the designation of the site for the Ramsar List. With the final conclusion and agreed action points in mind, the participants went for a site visit to gain a better understanding of landscape patterns, water regime, and land-use practices.
The project executants did good media work to spread information through regional newspapers, radio and the Serbian TV News. More detailed information about the project can be found in English and Serbian at http://www.bardaca.dzaba.com and in this small brochure (PDF).
This provided a first opportunity for a Regional Assistant Advisor of the Ramsar Secretariat, administering SGF projects on a regular basis, to participate in an SGF project event. The results of the workshop and the site visit show that such direct involvement has very positive effects on the implementation procedure by clarifying processes and contributing experiences from other projects and Ramsar sites to support the project.
-- Dorothea August, Ramsar
Small-scale pasturing on the banks: goats, pigs, etc.
Sava floodplain area
Herons in empty fishpond
Grazing geese in the floodplain area