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EcoSUSTAIN – Ecological sustainable management of protected areas of the Mediterranean via an improved scientific, technical and management database

The Krka National Park, as one of the partners, is participating in implementation of the project EcoSUSTAIN – Ecological sustainable management of Mediterranean protected areas via an improved scientific, technical and managerial database. The project is financed from the EU program Interreg Mediterranean 2014-2020 and participants, in addition to the Krka National Park, include representatives from Italy, Greece, Spain, and the Una National park from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project is expected to take 30 months. It began on the 1st of November 2016 and will continue to the 30th of April 2019.

The main objective of the project is to preserve and better manage water ecosystems at selected locations. In the Krka National Park, the site of Lake Visovac was chosen, as a very sensitive and referential ecosystem. In addition, another project objective is to achieve sustainable growth in the Mediterranean, through improved management and the achievement of integrated international cooperation in the management of protected areas, which can be achieved by strengthening the capacity for such management, strengthening the knowledge base, and improving various practices.

Increases in capacity for managing and networking the relevant bodies responsible for the management of protected areas will be achieved through capacity building activities and pilot implementation of innovative ICT water quality monitoring technology. Innovative and sustainable technologies and tools, as the results of this project, will enable the management bodies of the protected areas to improve the conservation of biodiversity and the natural ecosystems of the protected area. The replication of activities and results (the transfer of knowledge and technology) will begin in the framework of the project, and their sustainability and transferal after the project is guaranteed by the creation of collaborative networks between partners.

 A number of activities (Work packages - WP) are envisaged during the project that should lead to:

- Improved conservation of protected areas by direct participation of the relevant institutions in project activities,

- An increase in the capacity of managing the five protected areas in the Mediterranean by augmenting the development of an integrated management and networking methodology as well as the implementation of advanced technology in the water quality monitoring system to be developed within the project. The project will generate strengthening of integrated management, cooperation, and networking between the protected areas, as well as significant improvements in the monitoring and management of water, which will result in an improved status of water quality preservation.

By participating in this project and implementing new technologies, the Krka National Park wishes to complete the implementation of a better and higher quality monitoring of water quality. Floating buoys with sensors will be installed in Lake Visovac in this pilot project.

Through participating in this project and implementing new technologies, the Krka National Park wants to implement the best possible water quality monitoring system. Floating buoys with sensors will be installed in Lake Visovac in this pilot project. Selected sensors will monitor certain parameters necessary to determine the water quality in real time. The data will be obtained in real time, which will enable a timely reaction to any change or potential alteration that could disturb the quality of water. At the same time, it will be possible through following the readings of the placed buoys to provide other users with feedback about the usefulness, potential improvements, and additional functionality of the monitoring system. Also, for the first time, we will be able to exchange data with other protected areas in the Mediterranean, and together to track changes and create a high quality database.