Tisza River

Specialized type of alluvial forest, Tisza River, Hungary. rel=
Specialized type of alluvial forest, Tisza River, Hungary.
© WWF-Canon / Klaus-Henning GROTH

The Tisza River flows for 966 km – including 61km in Romania - and drains a river basin of 157,220 km 2. It is the largest tributary of the Danube River and remains one of Europe ’s most natural rivers.
However, there are problems facing water management authorities in the Tisza River Basin: frequent floods occur, the most recent in November 1998 and March 2001; landslides in the uplands have become more frequent due to deforestation; and accidental pollution and accidents at tailings dams (i.e. the cyanide spill occurred at Aurul Baia Mare in January 2000) drastically affect aquatic wildlife and drinking water.

Moreover, since 1990 the entire Romanian economy has been in decline. Major economic sectors such as mineral extraction and processing, agriculture and tourism have been affected. All of these are in the Romanian part of the Tisza River Basin , especially Maramures county.

Because similar problems are found in many parts of Europe, WWF has launched a new initiative: One Europe More Nature with the aim of stimulating new economic opportunities in rural areas that are consistent with the principles of integrated river basin management and which contribute to, rather than threaten, nature conservation.

An innovative project in Maramures county - and others in Hungary, Spain and elsewhere in Europe - will demonstrate how to harness the energies, motivations and resources of stakeholders, including the private sector, to find land and water management solutions which deliver gains for nature and jobs for people.

Upstream in the Tisza headwaters in Maramures the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme will identify and stimulate rural development activities which can contribute to better environmental management.

By integrating forestry, grazing, eco-tourism and water management, the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme hopes to restore the "sponge" effect of the wetlands, and thereby reduce the future impact of flooding, and to promote socio-economic benefits for local communities.

Downstream , the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme plans to restore the famous Ecedea/Ecsedi lap wetland and create the first ever cross-border wetland project between Romania and Hungary .

Again, stimulation of the local economy will be key - in this case by using positive opportunities offered by the EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and its reform in 2006 for alternative rural development activities in order to drive wetland restoration.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.