Tuesday, March 17, 2015

HCMR Inland Waters Meeting in Athens

March 16th 2015.
The Water Frame Work Directive and the protection of  inland waters: Research and prospects

A public information meeting organized by our Inland Waters Department of IMBRIW (Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters), Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR).

Impressive day. We tried to mimic the approach taken last October (Fisheries meeting) where many top-speakers had only ten minutes to summarize their story within an open-to-the-public all-day event. We focused on the EU Water Framework Directive - specifically our research results, problems, and future needs and prospects. We had more than 25 speakers; 8 were from our institute. A good combination.

The amphitheater hall at the Hellenic "Ministry of Environment" on Mesogeion street in Athens was nearly full. The meeting begun at about 9:00 and ended nearly on time, at about 18:00. The Minister of Environment and Special Secretary of the Special Secretariat for Waters made introductory speeches in support. Many people were so engaged in what these odd scientists and environmentalists had to say... And we also heard from NGOs and a recreational fisher's prospective as well. All in a long day.

Some highlights come to mind, immediately after the event:
  • A really good review of the results so far for the long and painstaking work to monitor rivers & lakes & transitional waters: the first ever coordinated state-wide bioassessment and monitoring network effort is now in full swing. 
  • A critique of WFD progress and the big BIG problem of poor hydrological collecting and poor basic data management so far. Basic hydrological data is sorely missing. 
  • A good review of modelling applications and Ecological Flow work and prospects.
  • A good debate on hydro-electicity development and big water transfer project of the Acheloos. The Acheloos river diversion issue is one of the most controversial mega-projects in this country and it needs to be solved. 
  • Mature discussion on ecological restoration. Interesting talks on restoration prospects and about the dismal and unfortunate state of the Karla Lake's restoration.  
  • Focus on societal contribution and need for informed public participation.


Some snap-shots follow - I am sorry to say I have left out a lot of speakers and some of the photos are of very low quality - also; I apologize for my attempts at humor in the commentary. 

Professor Kostas Stergiou (Director of IMBRIW, HCMR) and Vassilis Lykousis (President of HCMR )- Introduce our passion for inland waters!

Ioannis Tsironis, Alternate Minister of Productive Reconstruction , Environment and Energy in full support of our initiative and of HCMR.
Vassilis Lykousis (HCMR), Kostas Triantis (Special Secretariat for Waters), Ioannis Tsironis (Minster)

Professor Kostas Triantis (Special Secretariat for Waters) helping to pass a registry of bore-hole inventory to monitor water abstraction pressures.
Nikos Skoulikidis (IMBRIW, HCMR) heading the WFD river monitoring project at HCMR: The first and largest monitoring project in our Institute's history.

Yorgos Chatzinikolaou (HCMR), best all-round potamologist I know; he provides results.
Vassilis Tachos (IMBRIW-HCMR) with a map FULL of  fish sampling points!

Audience both young and old; lots of people who love inland waters.
Mrs Maria Ghini (Special Secretariat for Waters) is one of the main architects of  water management in this country.

Yours (IMBRIW-HCMR) showing pictures of birds (and i love the Greek flag behind me...). 
Out for a smoke...
Costas Papaconstantinou "former Ornithologist" now Green Party activist and long-time Environmental Education expert with Thanos Athanassopoulos, ichthyologist and good friend of lagoon ecology and management in Greece
Yours with Thodoros Naziridis head ofthe Kerkini National Park Management Body - a champion for conservation in that important protected area
Vassiliki Tsiaousi (EKBY) hard-working environmental scientist discussing lakes next to Dr. Maria Stoumboudi (IMBRIW-HCMR)
Professor Kimon Hatzibiros (NTUA), legendary ecologist and thinker from the '80s period...
Researcher Andreas Efstratiadis from NTUA discussing the numerical aspects of the WFD in Greece.
Professor Derkas from the Agricultural University of Athens voicing his opinion against the Acheloos water transfer.
Ms Olga Petriki (AUT), PhD Candidate, exploring fish-based indices in Greek lakes: Excellent work so far. 

Panayotis Sabatakakis (National Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration) in splendid rhetoric!
Dr. Dimitra Daniil from the National Chemical Laboratory.

Ioannis Kouvopoulos from the Public Power Corporation (DEH).
Professor Michalis Skourtos (Agricultural University of Athens) discussing economic aspects of the WFD.

Dr. Emmanuil Koutrakis from National Fisheries Institute (Kavalla) taking about fish-based indices in lagoons.
From Dr. Emmanuil Koutrakis' excellent talk on the lagoon fish-based indices.

Angeliki Mentzafou (IMBRIW-HCMR) had loads of  convincing reports on applying simulation models in river basins in Greece.
Christos Theodoropoulos (IMBRIW-HCMR), PhD Candidate, introduced us to Ecological Flow policy priorities.

 Christina Papadakis (IMBRIW-HCMR), PhD Candidate, eloquently reviewed the institute's Ecological Flows work in Greece.
Kaloust Paragamian (WWF) flew all the way from Crete to help us understand the need for small wetlands!
Professor Ifigeneia Kangalou (Univ. Thessaly) explained the situation in the Lake Karla restoration project. 
Associate Professor Maria Chrisochou from Univ. Connecticut and NTUA discussed environmental forensics techniques to pinpoint pollution at the Assopos River.
Amateur fisher, Stavros Bletsos along with other fly fishers interrupted the science with some real-life river problem reporting.
Anastasios Papadopoulos (IMBRIW-HCMR), Meteorologist, with Kostas Stergiou closing the day.
Nikos Skoulikidis and Professor Maria Lazaridou (AUT) sharing a smile. Optimistic!

 This public information meeting would not have been possible without the help the orgnaizational unit formed to work on this meeting: many people at HCMR helped. I really want to thank Christos Theodoropoulos for really taking up such a great burden. Thanks to all for participating and supporting.

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