Managing Lake Bled hand in hand
The Municipality of Bled and the Slovenian Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning signed a Joint Management Agreement that also includes a specific plan of activities aimed at improving the quality of lake water.
When you walk around the lake, your heart should be facing away from the water
Lake Bled is the central attraction and the main asset of Bled. For us locals, it is a living organism, an integral part of our own being. The people of Bled would agree that the lake is part of our identity. According to a local belief, one should never walk around the lake so that their heart is on the lake side, i.e. in the counter-clockwise direction, taking rather the clockwise direction with the heart facing away from the lake. We are connected with the lake on an intimate and spiritual level, and this makes it invaluable and priceless. Water cleanses. Water is the source of life. Therefore it comes as no surprise that when the lake is at stake, the people of Bled make no compromises.
The lake will be co-managed by the state and the local community
© Romana Purkart
The management of Lake Bled is a complex affair. The decisions and decress made by the local community might collide with the national laws, leaving the local community unable to act given that the Republic of Slovenia is the lake's legal and formal owner. In that respect, the visit of Slovenia's current Minsiter of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Andrej Vizjak, on Friday, 12 March, was a huge step ahead.
Minister Andrej Vizjak and Bled mayor Janez Fajfar signed an important document that marks the beginning of joint management of Lake Bled, which is largely “due to last year’s situation when Lake Bled was on the brink of a natural disaster. I’m confident that together we can take on any challenge that comes our way”, says mayor Janez Fajfar.
The central task of the state is to take care of and manage the syphon system and the inflow of the Radovna River as two central instruments responsible for lake aeration and elimination of accumulated sediments.
Lake monitoring is the key
© Jošt Gantar
“The Municipality of Bled and the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning will carefully monitor the state of the lake and any pollution issues relating to the water surfaces and the land nearby, and undertake coordinated cleaning and purification action in the case of any deviations”, said minister Andrej Vizjak.
“A pearl of nature like Lake Bled must be safeguarded and sustained not just by the local community but also by the state, through collaboration and coordinated efforts, without arguing who can do what with this important natural asset”, added the minister.
The Action Group that consists of representatives of the ministry, interested science and the municipality has a lot of potential, and the mayor also runs a natural conservation municipal body.
The Municipality of Bled has been demonstrating its commitment to sustainable development for years as is clearly seen in the Destination Gold certificate of the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism and Slovenia’s new Strategy of Sustainable Tourism. All the measures foreseen in the strategy are part of the wider assessment in terms of the sustain nable development aspect in all areas.
The state has identified as one of its key projects the construction of the southern relief road, the construction of which is scheduled to start in September.
Lake Bled is a natural asset of outstanding importance
© Jošt Gantar
Lake Bled is a natural asset of outstanding importance and part of the priceless heritage we will pass onto our successors. The signing of the agreement between the ministry and the municipality and the plan of activities to reduce the environmental impact on the lake water quality is a key and vital step towards gradual assurance of better water quality and the meeting of European requirements in this area.
The Municipality of Bled has been implementing a series of measures for a number of years with an aim to reduce the load on the lake, but the authority needed to make a change and the resources available exceed those of the local community.
Several municipal projects relating to the construction and reconstruction of the sewage systems are underway, and the current sewage treatment rate in the lake area is 97%.
Furthermore, the Municipality of Bled is also striving to minimize, or impose time restrictions on, fertilization in the lake catchment area. It has taken several measures to reduce the traffic in the Lake Bled area and move parking further away from the lake.
The well-developed soft mobility scheme which Bled is continuously upgrading is one of the municipality’s main advantages. Construction of shared use paths for pedestrians and cyclists, a new cycling route between Bled and Bohinj, and construction of new cycling routes within the Julian Alps Community are just a few projects that will have a considerable impact on the overall ecological situation of Lake Bled and the municipality.
It needs to be stressed that for a few years now Bled has been carrying out intensive greenification of public services. Old trees approaching the end of their life cycles are being replaced with saplings, an orchard has been planted along the cycling route that runs parallel to the northern bypass road, and in autumn pedestrians are welcome to help themselves to an apple or two.