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The first results of STAR! project

A year has passed since the beginning of the project and we can display the first positive results, especially regarding the protection of one of the last Alpine wild rivers, the Tagliamento. Today the Tagliamento is less lonely than one year ago; in fact, thanks to an intense lobbying pressure exerted by Eliante and WWF European Alpine Office, we succeeded in gathering around the same table representatives from important institutions and local associations.

All these stakeholders signed the "Manifesto for Tagliamento", a list of actions that should be implemented in order to preserve one of the wildest rivers in Europe, a true symbol of the Alps. These points are:


  • deleting the main threats, first of all detention basins and new hydropower projects;
  • stopping the building of infrastructures in the upper part of Tagliamento, or at least identifying sustainable alternatives not tampering the river;
  • protecting the upper and middle course through the implementation of Natura 2000 sites;
  • implementing regional protocols and standards for existing hydropower plants, reducing the overall water withdrawal;
  • officially recognising the extraordinary qualities of Tagliamento, recovering the awareness of its value (also economic) with the help and the involvement of local governments, communities and regions.

We are satisfied, but there is still a lot of work to do together with all the project partners. For example, along the Soča river we met the economic and social needs of a country like Slovenia, that joined the European Union only in 2004 and has yet to align with EU standards on freshwater issues. In fact, the quality of this river, among the most spectacular in Europe and characterised by unique blue-green water, has indeed become of primary importance for all the economic activities related to local tourism, which are nevertheless harmed by new hydropower projects.

In 2014 the project consortium is going to present an Alpine-scale study that will pick out the rivers with the greatest ecological potential, together with the most serious threats looming over them. The outcome will be a list of priorities to be addressed through action plans that will include well-defined communication and raising-awareness activities, as well as an even more intense lobbying pressure to be put on regional, national and international decision makers.

Medium-term goal is to create a political climate willing to support and protect the ecological, cultural and social value of Alpine rivers, as well to deal with all the security-related issues from a sustainable point of view.