Nature Wins by Default

We gave up. We admit – we tried, but we failed. We must concede defeat.

Stržen creek flows through the dried-up Lake Cerknica.

The intermittent Lake Cerknica is one of the greatest karst wonders of the world, an exceptional and fragile ecoysytem, a true mystery of Nature. People living by the lake were using its resources since times immemorial in a semi-harmonius, almost-sustainable way. But we wanted more: we wanted to make the lake more “useful”.

It’s wet even when it’s dry.

First, we tried to drain the lake and turn it into high-productivity farmland. We enlarged the sinkholes and straightened the rivers meandering across the plain. Again, the Nature fought back: erosion became a serious problem, and the fish, the birds and other fauna and flora didn’t like it at all – while the wet soil was still not suitable for farming (and it never will be).

Hay is the only resource that can be safely harvested from the bottom of the lake in the dry season.

Then we tried to make this intermittent lake permanent (and even build a hydropower plant here), so we poured hundreds of tons of concrete into the sinkholes and we tried to build a dam at the caves into which the waters of the lake disappear. Of course it didn’t work; the porous limestone didn’t cooperate and the whole endeavour was something Sisyphus himself would be proud of.

So now it’s time to concede defeat; it’s time to let Nature herself manage this exceptional ecosystem. The rangers and experts of Notranjska Landscape Park are now undoing all these great ideas and the lake will be returned to its original state. A part of this effort is the renaturation of Stržen creek project, which includes re-digging the meanders that were filled up to restore the riverbed into its original course.

You can just see the heavy machinery doing the good work, re-digging the great meander of Stržen.

Stržen creek will be extended by 1,5 km, and slowly flowing water will remain in the area for longer periods of time. During the dry season this will increase the chances of survival of water-related organisms, such as crustaceans, fish, amphibians, birds, as well as aquatic and riparian plants. Plus, the renaturation will contribute to a more effective natural water purification.

It’s a win-win-win situation!

Meanders of Stržen filling up for the first time since their ‘melioration’

Abstract aerial art

All kite aerial photos shot with Nikon P330 on a Great White Delta kite.

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