Small wetlands in towns and cities – the case of Rijeka
Urban ecology, together with the conservation of the natural world in towns and cities, deserves greater attention because the few green spaces that are left or have been designed into urban areas are the rare places where city people can come into contact with nature. Even harder to find are examples of preserved remnants of wetland habitats in cities. Rijeka is no exception. Before it was completely developed, the mouth of the Rječina River was a luscious wetland, to which bear witness old panoramic photos of Rijeka. Today, scattered wetland and aquatic plants can be found in but a few places along the regulated river bed. Wetland remnants are also located by Draški Creek. Twice recently, a pond turtle was rescued after torrent waters carried it from Draški Creek into the Viktor Lenac Shipyard (Photo 2) (http://www.ju-priroda.hr/novosti.asp?iddb=174 ). The turtle was captured and returned upstream into a more natural environment. Small wetland habitats in Rijeka also include some ponds, the Mistraž Pond (Photo 1) being a nice example, as well as fountains in parks – for example, Mlaka Park, Nikola Host Park, Vidikovac – where red-eared slider turtles have found a haven. Another interesting example of a small urban wetland habitat is the marshy area of gardens in Luki Street in the Mlaka neighbourhood.