An additional grant was awarded to the Balkan Foundation for Sustainable Development (BFSD) in North Macedonia that addresses Strategic Direction 2 (Sustainable management of water catchments) of the Call. The grant will support actions concerning the conservation of the endemic Prespa trout (Salmo peristericus) which is listed as Endangered (EN) on the global IUCN Red List. The headwaters of River Brajchinska, mostly located in Pelister National Park, currently support the largest population of this species in North Macedonia, while smaller populations are also found in Kranska and Leva rivers, outside the boundaries of the park.
The grant will enable the BFSD, in partnership with Eko-svest, an NGO also from North Macedonia, to design and facilitate a participatory process for developing a Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for the Prespa trout. The Plan, concerning the populations in North Macedonia, will take into account the transboundary action plan for the species of 2008 that also covered the Agios Germanos river in the Greek part of Prespa.
An assessment will be conducted on the distribution, population size and conservation status of the Prespa trout in the three rivers, building upon and updating the data from studies conducted before the construction of three hydropower plants on Brajchinska and Kranska rivers in 2013 and 2014.
Building upon the results of the assessment study, the CAP will be developed by Pelister National Park, with the involvement of the Municipality of Resen, the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, other competent ministries, as well as the National Forest Service, hydro power plant operators, local communities and local civil society organisations. Key stakeholders in the Greek part of Prespa will be also consulted.
The development of the CAP will be accompanied by public awareness and capacity building activities focusing on governance and establishing a long-term monitoring program for the Prespa trout.
Photo credits: Ljubomir Stefanov (photo of the Prespa trout); Ana Colovic Leskoska (photos of water intake structures on Brajchinska river); Silvana Manasievska Simikj (photos of the Brachinska river).