The recent dramatic water level decrease of Lake Prespa, in combination with the continued and unabated human pressures (water abstraction, pollution, habitat fragmentation and degradation) amplifies the threats to the lake’s ecosystem and the rich and significant biodiversity it supports.
In 2019 PONT extended a grant to the Public Institution Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid (HIO) to establish and build a strategic partnership with Resen Municipality in North Macedonia concerning applied research, studies and experimentation as well as ecological monitoring at Ezerani Nature Park and Lake Prespa Monument of Nature.
The preliminary monitoring results obtained in 2020 and 2021 under the grant indicate that the dramatic water level drop of Lake Prespa exacerbates the threats to the ecosystem of Lake Prespa.
Building upon the effective partnership established between HIO and Resen Municipality over the last two years, PONT has recently approved a new, 3-year grant to HIO, submitted in consultation with Resen Municipality and Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of North Macedonia.
The new grant aims at improving the understanding of the impact of human and natural pressures, such as climate change, on lake’s ecosystem. Actions supported by the grant include applied research and environmental monitoring in compliance with the transboundary water monitoring system of the Prespa Park, developed by experts from the three riparian countries in 2011, in line with the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive. The grant also provides for a continued support from HIO to increase the capacity of Resent Municipality for contributing to the transboundary water monitoring.
By combining scientific investigation of the combined effects of human and natural pressures on the lake’s ecosystem with monitoring data on standard water quality parameters, the grant will help adapt management actions to address the ongoing ecological crisis at Lake Prespa. The grant will also help raise public awareness to improve the understanding among the stakeholders and local communities of the threats Lake Prespa is facing, and to leverage support for the implementation of relevant policy measures and actions on the ground.