The key is to involve the local communities in the unconventional care for the watercourses and the surrounding landscape – the streams are near their homes and they are familiar with how they behave throughout the year. Important step is revitalizing the bed and the banks. The people are then inclined to return and further care for the stream channel. The first Patronage took place in Kadov near Blatná. The mayor appreciated the work of the almost hundred and twenty of the local children and adults who took part. Preparations are under way for other Patronages for example in Telč or Prague. The model proved successful for instance in Germany or Slovakia.
“Patronages of the Streams are an elegant and effective solution of the long neglected state of our streams and river,” says the coordinator of the patronages Ing. Jakub Esterka of Arnika. “There are many watercourses forcedly straightened and deepened, constrained in concrete or channelled by other means. That proves fatal for the aquatic life. It is just as damaging for the hydrological regime of the landscape and often such stream regulations contrast with flood protection,” adds Esterka. Reinforced and straightened streams accelerate the flow of water in the landscape, exacerbate the flooding, prevent its natural clearing ability and destroy habitats of water based organisms, while weirs and dams prevent migration of aquatic life.
“I much appreciate the voluntary activity on the premises of our municipality, the young tend to the stream and aid in increasing the attractiveness of the surroundings,” praised the effort Kadov’s mayor Vladimíra Tomanová. The patronage model is easy to employ in our conditions. The simple methodology enables the commencing of natural processes on small watercourses, so the environment may flourish.
Building on the basis of the first Patronage and the German experience, the non-profit organisation is preparing more projects for example in the vicinity of Telč or Krčský les in Prague. The intention is to spread the model to widest possible spectrum of areas. The people may not only actively take part in environment protection, but may also strengthen their relation to a specific area and better understand the environmental processes.
Patronage of the Streams is also closely related to fulfilling The Water Framework Directive, which was ratified by the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic undertook to improve the quality of the surface waters, which Arnika believes it has been successful at during past two decades. On the other hand the effort to improve the condition of the watercourses, to return them to their natural courses, has not been a success. The non-profit organisation sees the Patronage of the Streams project as a means to reach this objective.