Saving Europe's last 'wild' river network

Scientists are trying to save Europe's last "wild" river network

as it flows uninterrupted by any dams or power stations

Location: Vjosa River, Albania

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ECOLOGIST AND CEO OF RIVERWATCH, ULRICH EICHELMANN, SAYING:"They are the last free flowing, natural and living river system in Europe outside Russia. So this is so unique, and it is so little known. I think we know more about Rio Negro in Brazil than we know about Shushica or Vjosa for example."

The Albanian government hopes to build 30 new hydro plants

Environmentalists say that would flood the area and change its flow

(SOUNDBITE) (English) RIVER ECOLOGIST FROM UNIVERSITY OF VIENNA, FRITZ SCHIEMER, SAYING:"It is such a jewel this river system that on a longer run, on the longer run, sustainability, it is socio-economically much better to use it in another way and not built hydropower dams which really cannot be efficient in this situation."

A court case has halted construction

Campaigners hope to win a protective national park status

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ENTOMOLOGIST, GERNOT KUNZ, SAYING:"Our main goal is to document as many species as possible for a nature conservation purpose and as you can see here, the light trap is full of different insects. The biodiversity is very very high, and we have many species that only occur in that area. So that's very important to document these species so we can maybe one day have a national park for the Vjosa but also for the tributaries."

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