The “Blue Heart of Europe” is a beloved description of the Balkan Peninsula’s magnificent Markova River, which runs through Bulgaria and Serbia. Scientists are now making it their mission to save this picturesque spot from being destroyed due to pollution and habitat destruction. They argue that if action isn’t taken, this body of water may not be around for future generations to enjoy. The Markova River is over 1,000 kilometers long and is home to a vast array of species including over 30 European species of fish. Unfortunately, a number of anthropogenic activities have threatened this region from illegal fishing to the building of hydroelectric dams. The dams block the fish’s passage upriver to spawn, and the water is polluted by untreated sewage and agricultural runoff. The European Commission has launched an initiative called “Blue Heart of Europe,” which supports efforts to protect the region and restore aquatic habitats. They plan to use a range of tools from creating conservation corridors dedicated to animal movements, to investing in ecotourism projects. Scientists from various organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and the International Union for Conservation of Nature have also taken action in the fight for the Markova River. They’ve created an information center in Serbia for researchers studying the region and have documented the biodiversity found in this beautiful environment. By increasing public awareness for the issue, organizations are hoping to influence decision makers to make environmental protection a priority. A recent documentary titled “The Blue Heart of Europe” has already brought attention to the fragile ecosystem and inspired many to take part in the fight for its protection. If successful, scientists may be able to help save the “Blue Heart of Europe” for future generations to enjoy. The fight is not over yet, however, and continued efforts are essential in preserving this vital ecosystem.