While the two Prespa lakes are famous for their 9 endemic fish, these species are in fact adapted to spawn in running waters, with one, the Prespa trout, living in the Agios Germanos River. For centuries, this river partially discharged into Lake Lesser Prespa and served all the spawning needs of endemic fish. However, the branch to this lake was blocked in the 1930s, while the river’s hydrogeological morphology has also been altered to serve irrigation needs. At the same time, for many reasons, including climate change, eutrophication has increased in both lakes, significantly influencing endemic fish populations.
Rehabilitating the Agios Germanos River, in order to gain its ecological functions, serve biodiversity needs and ensure sustainable use of water, is a topic that has been raised locally and regionally. The old fluvial spawning habitats could be restored, contributing to fish recruitment and population increases, while the river’s clear, well-oxygenated waters could greatly improve water quality in Lesser Prespa, which needs high quality waters to maintain its basic hydrology cycles and health and adapt to climate change stresses.
This project is the first step towards potentially rehabilitating the Agios Germanos River and aims to increase our knowledge of the river system, examine what its rehabilitation might entail and discuss all the planning and parameters with local and regional stakeholders, before initiating any future feasibility study and formal consultation process.