First dam removals in Montenegro
The River Vezišnica
Vezišnica is a small river within the Black Sea Basin and is a tributary of River Ćehotina. It is 14 km long and flows through the Municipality of Pljevlja, near the town of Pljevlja, the mining and energy center of Montenegro. River Vezišnica used to be of significant ecological importance and characterized by high biodiversity and was one of the most important spawning habitats for salmonid species in the region, like Brown trout (Salmo trutta), as well as for endemic species, like the Danube salmon (Hucho hucho) and the European grayling (Thymallus thymallus). During the last decade the river has been negatively affected due to industrial pollution, untreated wastewater, and the construction of illegal barriers along its corridor.
Three longitudinal barriers (weirs) were illegally built in 2013 on River Vezišnica aiming to divert water into artificial fishponds. The fishponds were never operative, and the weirs remained obsolete and in continuous decay over the years. All three structures were 2-2.5 m high and 3-7 m long, situated in close distance with each other in the north-central part of the country (latitudes: 43.316639, 43.317278, 43.317694; longitudes: 19.327194, 19.326444, 19.326) (Figure 1) and were unsurpassable barriers hindering upstream migration of fishes (Figures 2-3).