Springs are unique ecosystems and very interesting habitats, not only for ecological and biogeographical studies, but also for their characteristic fauna. Traditionally, they are considered as clean and pristine environments with high biological integrity.
The issue of water availability and quality has become one of the most important global problems since human population increase and technological development resulted in the increasing demand for water supplies. Thus, it is important to estimate fish farming influence on the water quality as one of the most common point source pollution on lotic systems, by assessing macroinvertebrate community in both springs and sampling points downstream – influenced by local fish farms.
Within this project we aim to define the current ecological status of selected mountain springs with a special attention on the influence of trout farming on water quality and aquatic macroinvertebrate community within the investigated water sources. Moreover, the main goal is to establish a long-term monitoring system of these fragile habitats. We plan to interview local community about their knowledge on the importance of springs, their conservation, and anthropogenic factors they are affected by.
The fieldwork campaign will start in January when first field trip will be conducted on the Suva Planina Mt. and the Stara Planina Mt. Before this activity, we will prepare promotion material, necessary equipment and invite volunteers to join us by presenting them the project and planed actions. The frequency of field trips will be seasonally, in every three months.
Each field trip is followed by laboratory work. We will sort, count and identify individuals to the lowest possible taxonomic level using the appropriate keys for identification. Based on the obtained results, we will estimate and compare water quality parameters at sampling sites in the springs with those situated downstream fish farming effluents.
For raising awareness we will consider interviewing, lecturing and promotion.