SAVE THE OLDEST AND DEEPEST LAKE IN EUROPE!
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Located in the Dinaric Alps on the border between the Republic of Macedonia and Albania, with estimated age of around 4 million years, Lake Ohrid is the oldest natural lake in Europe and one of the oldest lakes in the whole world. The highest average depth of 155 m makes Lake Ohrid the deepest lake in Europe and 14th in the world. With over 200 endemic species harboured in its waters it is the most important lentic ecosystem on the European continent. Measured by surface area, Lake Ohrid has the greatest diversity of any lake in the world. Lake Ohrid is unique in the world in the manner of its creation - it was made by the vertical raising and lowering of the earth’s crust. Lake Ohrid is probably also unique in the world in that its water is supplied mainly through spring water from numerous surface and underwater springs. These points of individuality make Lake Ohrid vital to both science and nature, because they have created an individualized environment where evolution has taken an unparalleled path. The lake and the surrounding area are marked by rich history, culture, archaeological finds, and breath-taking natural beauty. Thanks to all these exceptional features, in 1979, Lake Ohrid and the City of Ohrid were declared a World Cultural Heritage site, protected by UNESCO.
Above the valley of Lake Ohrid rises Mount Galičica with the Galičica National Park, recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an extremely important region and protected by law since 1958. Thanks to the several hundred original rarities and the protected plant and animal species, Galičica has been internationally recognised as an Important Plant Area, a Primary Butterfly Area, as well as an Emerald Site (future part of the European Natura 2000 network). Because of the extraordinary biodiversity and the international significance, in 2014 Galičica National Park became part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
OHRID SURVIVED MILLIONS OF YEARS AND WITNESSED QUITE A LOT: FROM THE CREATION OF THE HUMAN RACE AND FIRST CIVILIZATIONS, THROUGH THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE, TO THE MACEDONIAN INDEPENDENCE, BUT THE LATEST ABSURD AND MEGALOMANIAC PROJECTS OF THE CURRENT MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT MIGHT BRING AN END FOR THIS RARE NATURAL GEM AND NEARBY NATIONAL PARK!
Macedonian Government projects include:
1. Drying the (Studenchishte) Wetland which is crucial for the survival of the lake and building apartments complex on the coastline;
2. Cutting down the last remaining reed bed and covering a large area of the lake with concrete platforms in order “to grow” huge tourist resorts;
3. Erasing the protection of the last untouched wild area of the lake shore and endangering the most important (St. Naum) Springs which supply the lake with water – for the sake of building one of these tourists resorts;
4. Erasing the protection of a part of the National Park Galičica and building a 14 km expressway that will destroy 50ha of protected National Park area, most probably financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development;
5. Erasing the protection of a large section of the National Park and building a 400ha ski complex which will include a huge hotel and a settlement with houses.
The experts who took part in the Environmental Assessment clearly warn if these projects are to be realized the negative impact on the biodiversity, the soil, and the waters will be irreversible; no corrective measures will be possible, and the UNESCO status will be jeopardized.
Macedonian Government decided to ignore these warnings and go with the plans anyway.
TOGETHER, WE CAN STOP THE PLANS AND SAVE THIS RARE NATURE’S CREATION AND MILLIONS OF LIFE FORMS! CALL ON THE MACEDONIAN PRIME MINISTER, THE DIRECTOR OF THE GALIČICA NATIONAL PARK, AND THE MAYOR OF OHRID TO STOP THE PROCEDURES FOR CHANGES OF THE GALIČICA NATIONAL PARK MANAGEMENT PLAN AND THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT PLANS OF OHRID AND THE OHRID LAKE COASTLINE, AND TO WITHDRAW FROM THESE ABSURD PROJECTS!
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