Sustainable water-based sports solutions in Slovenia and Croatia

Boating along the steep river bank for nesting birds. © Siniša Golub


The precious and vulnerable ecosystems along the Mura and Drava rivers are visited by an increasing number of tourists. They use canoes or kayaks to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Unsustainable practices of water-based sports are threatening our habitats and especially bird species. Through this project, we plan to train local stakeholders and tour operators, establish sustainable canoeing criteria and licensing, for a better protection of our nature.






Within the project, we focus on the following outcomes:

  • Transboundary Protected Area management systems are adapted for sports-based activities.
  • Tourism industry commits to sustainable canoeing and kayaking standards.
  • Local communities have enhanced knowledge on sustainable standards and products.



Our mission is:

  • Detect and educate all key stakeholders,.
  • Define suitable sites for water sports activities and recreational use to provide minimal disturbance.
  • Implement the guidelines and granting concessions.
  • Transfer and adapt standards on sustainable canoeing and kayaking in our project area.
  • Monitor breeding water bird species.
Within our project, we will prepare nesting walls for key birds species, such as the Common Kingfisher. © Alen Ploj

Expected Results

We want to minimize disturbances on the vulnerable habitats along the Mura and Drava rivers. With our activities, we want to educate key stakeholders about the sustainable use of valuable river habitats by providing rules of behaviour and guidance on how to avoid disturbing protected species (water birds, etc.) on the area. By identifying sites suitable for water sports activities and recreational use, we will reduce disturbance on the river habitats and protect nesting sites of key bird species (Little Ringed Plover, etc.) and thus increase their overall breeding success.

Sustainable water-based sports solutions

The project is implemented in Slovenia (at the Mura river) and in Croatia (at the Mura and Drava rivers).

Međimurska priroda - Javna ustanova za zaštitu prirode (Međimurje Nature - Public lnstitution for Nature Protection)
Trg međimurske prirode 1, Križovec, 40315 Mursko Središće


Nearest city: Bratislava

Contact person for the BESTbelt project: Zoran Šardi projekti(at)

Duration: 18 months

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