World wetlands day

Prospekt News

Photo 1. Salt marsh in Soline Cove (Photo by Sunčica Strišković)


The theme of this year’s World Wetlands Day is UPSTREAM-DOWNSTREAM
– Wetlands Connect Us All. According to the criteria set out by the Ramsar
Convention, major rivers and their flood plains are particularly valuable
wetlands. However, considerably smaller water courses, as well as very
small creeks and canals, can also be vital wetland habitats.

What goes on in the upstream areas of water courses or
alongside water courses may have an effect on soil, water, air, plants
and animals, largely in the downstream part of the watercourse. Because
life on Earth depends on rivers and streams, we have to be very careful
how we treat the water courses that “feed” many wetland habitats.
Unfortunately, we often forget to do so!

Meline, a fairly spacious and well-preserved salt marsh,
is located at Soline Cove. The marsh is important because it is the habitat
of halophytes (plants that are adapted to growing in soil of high salinity)
and many animals living in saline and wet mud and sand. Numerous marsh
birds also stop at Meline marsh during their autumn and spring migrations
and some of them winter there. One of the most picturesque birds is the
white heron, whose snow-white feathers are reflected in the tranquil waters
of the shallow shores. They are often seen wading through the shallow
sea in the company of sandpipers, while in the marine zone where they
can swim they keep the company of various types of ducks.

Photo 2. White heron (Photo by Sunčica Strišković)

Dobrinjski Creek continuously gouges and carries away
material from the flysh gorges at the foot of Dobrinje. It has created
a wide marshy, muddy and sandy area that during low tide stretches from
the settlement of Čižici to the settlement Soline. Once Dobrinjski Creek
and its freshwater network were intertwined and connected with the special
world of the saline marsh. However, road construction has cut off the
salt marsh from its upstream freshwater creek. Deposits of excavated materials
alongside the road have additionally reduced the range of the freshwater
part of the marsh covered in reeds, while rainwater torrents carry stones
and pebbles into the salt marsh where they do not belong. This has reduced
the natural inflow of the creek’s fine, muddy deposits to the salt marsh,
which is crucial to the formation of highly sought black mud, believed
to have curative properties. Projects for the development of health tourism
in this region are based on the availability of large quantities of black

Toads spawn in the freshwater marsh along Dobrinjski
Creek. Although they typically begin to reproduce in the early spring,
the spawning season probably began earlier this year because of the warm
weather and we could clearly hear the characteristic calls of these toads.
Unfortunately, we also found a freshly levelled area full of excavated
materials which has caused inestimable damage to the natural assets of
Meline marsh. Some passers-by have also been using the freshwater marsh
as a garbage dump. This could be why the frogs try to cross the road,
or maybe they are just following some deep-rooted paths (it is well-known
that generations of frogs use the same routes for centuries to return
to the place they were spawned) but ultimately end up under the wheels
of cars, as we witnessed during our recent visit. Has anyone considered
the consequences?

Marko Randić and Sunčica Strišković

Keywords: salt marsh, Krk Island, Soline Cove, frog, toad