By definition, karst ponds are classified as small marshes. They are especially numerous on the Kvarner islands. On Krk Island alone, as many as 317 larger ponds have been recognized as being particularly important in nature protection and are included in the Spatial Plan of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. They have been assigned with the protection status “natural monuments”. In the waterless karst landscapes, these ponds are dispersed aquatic and wetland habitats of immeasurable importance to the diversity of plant and animal life.
In some parts of the Kvarner islands where animal husbandry has managed to keep hold, ponds are very important even now. Ponds provided for life in the waterless karst, until the introduction of running water and new, easier ways of making a living. This caused the traditional activities and inherited knowledge linked to ponds to shrink or, sometimes, completely die off. In certain regions – the southern part of Krk Island in particular – where traditional sheep-farming is still practised, the ponds have retained their primary function of watering livestock. However, in other areas of the island that focus on tourism, or are in the vicinity of settlements, ponds were often filled in, polluted or have disappeared due to urbanization and construction. Some ponds are still used for irrigating gardens or as a water reserve for other purposes (see for example: http://www.ju-priroda.hr/zanimljivosti.asp?iddb=69 ).
In regions where there was no longer any need for watering livestock, ponds may not have been filled in but they were frequently neglected and fell into ruin. As people stopped cleaning ponds of deposited silt and removing the growing vegetation, succession gradually transformed many ponds into solid ground. Numerous examples can be found on Krk Island and other Kvarner Bay islands. In some cases the clay bottoms of ponds began to leak and were never repaired, causing them to lose all their water.
The aim of the Project for the Conservation and Promotion of Aquatic Biotopes – Ponds and Marsh Pools – For the Future (Project LOKNA) is the conservation and revitalisation of aquatic biotopes (ponds on Krk Island and marsh pools in the Ljubljana Marsh) through a joint cross-border approach to valorising, taking inventories of, revitalising and promoting aquatic biotopes.
This is the link to the Internet page of the 2007-2013 Slovenia-Croatia Operational Programme: