Why does the consortium undertake this project?

The Danube Region is a major international hydrological basin and ecological corridor in Europe. Water resources are shared across borders and go beyond local interests, which implies a regional approach to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. According to the European Union Strategy for Danube Region these challenges are best addressed together by strengthening institutional cooperation and capacity building in education. Present environmental and aquatic bioassessment education in the Western Balkans part of the Danube region does not meet the requirements of European environmental legislation and policies.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and ‘The Strategy for Integral Water Management in the Republic of Srpska till 2024’ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), development of standardised methodology for assessment of ecological status of lakes and rivers in line with EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) was selected as a priority. To obtain this, the Strategy recommends high monitoring frequency of biological quality elements and development of national and regional (Eastern Continental Intercalibration Region) ecological status classification systems.

In line with Ministry of agriculture and rural development, and the Water Management Strategy of Montenegro, harmonisation of the national ecological monitoring and bioassessment of surface waters was highlighted as priority in water management in Montenegro. Also, the Strategy listed only a few biological quality parameters regularly monitored by official environmental agencies and stakeholders.

Analysis of the EMAB services provided by Official Public Entities for Environmental Monitoring and Water Management in Partner Countries (Environmental Protection Agency of Montenegro
(https://epa.org.me/); Institute of Hydrometeorology and Seismology of Montenegro (http://www.meteo.co.me/); ‘Vode Srpske’, Legal entity for water management in the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina (http://www.voders.org/); ‘Agencija za vodno područje rijeke Save’, Legal entity for water management of the River Sava Catchment in Bosnia and Herzegovina (http://www.voda.ba/agencija); ‘Agencija za vodno područje Jadrana’, Legal entity for water management for the Adriatic Sea catchment area in Bosnia and Herzegovina, (https://www.jadran.ba/)) was carried out.

Several attributes were analysed and compared to EU framework for Ecological Monitoring and Aquatic Bioassessment (EMAB): monitoring frequency, which biological quality elements (BQE) are monitored, standard and calibrated methods for data collecting and processing, spatial distribution of sample points. The Results of this analysis showed that:
1. BQEs proposed by the EU WFD Directive are not regularly monitored for surface waters in Montenegro.
2. Fish and Macrophyte communities are BQA elements which are not regularly monitored in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while other parameters need sampling methodology standardisation.
3. System for ecological status assessment of surface waters using BQAs doesn’t exist in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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