February 24th 2013
A really big flood took place on the 22nd of February here in Attika. The Rafina River spewed amazing quantities of debris and sediment into the Southern Evvoikos Gulf and a couple of days later its river mouth has totally changed. Its like a true oceanic estuary! A great sediment plume has made the surrounding bay shallow and the river mouth and channel are scoured down and open to the sea. Gravel and mud lines the beach at the river mouth. Wagtails and gulls are really happy.
The Rafina River is one of our top priorities in conserving sites for both biodiversity and public awareness hear in the greater Athens region. Located immediately south of one of Attika’s largest harbours it is easy to visit and a great place for a very short stroll and a look at a river mouth in Attika – a very rare thing!
Sadly the decision-makers managing places like this have very little understanding of the potential here. The conservation – natural history bonanza. This place could become a wonderful foreshore parklet which focuses on the riches and wonders an urban river mouth. In the past, perhaps triggered by great floods like the current one, the river was channelled, straightened and embankments with huge boulders now line its banks. Could we imagine something slightly different and safer for the river flood-pulse, the wildlife and the people. People need nature in the city. Lets bring it back!

Reported by Dr. S. Zogaris