Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 1–22 | Cite as

Biodiversity-friendly designs for gravel pit lakes along the Drina River floodplain (the Middle Danube Basin, Serbia)

  • Bojan Damnjanović
  • Maja Novković
  • Aleksandra Vesić
  • Milica Živković
  • Snežana Radulović
  • Dragana Vukov
  • Ana Anđelković
  • Dušanka CvijanovićEmail author
Original Paper


Massive gravel excavation is one of the most destructive forces affecting riverine habitats in Europe. However, gravel pit lakes are also recognized as valuable wildlife refuge areas. Different hydromorphological characteristics of gravel pits may influence aquatic biota differently. Optimal selection of gravel excavation procedures may create favorable conditions for ecosystem diversity. The aim of this study was to correlate hydromorphological variables against macrophyte composition and metrics in gravel pit lakes along the lower course of the Drina River. Field research was carried out at 18 gravel pit lakes (60 survey sectors) and four fluvial lakes (13 survey sectors), during the summer months of 2015, 2016 and 2018. The role of hydromorphological variables in structuring macrophyte assemblages was tested using the partial Canonical Correspondence Analysis, while the Generalized Linear Model was performed to test the ability of selected hydromorphological attributes to predict macrophyte quantitative metrics. The results demonstrated high habitat quality and conservation value of the gravel pit lakes compared to natural sites. Hydromorphological predictors for different macrophyte assemblages were defined. General recommendation is that two pit types should be excavated within a single extraction field, with the minimal impact to the riparian and shore zones. The first type should be located up to 100 m from river main channel, having area < 1000 m2 and a relative depth ratio > 5%. The second type should be optimally located 300 m form river main channel, with maximum depth of 3–4 m, surface area of 10,000–20,000 m2, and a relative depth ratio < 5%.


Gravel pit Lakes Macrophytes Charophytes Hydromorphology Floodplain 



The authors are grateful for the valuable comments and suggestions provided by anonymous reviewers. This study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (Grant Numbers 173030, 43002 and ON172001).

Supplementary material

11273_2018_9641_MOESM1_ESM.docx (177 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 177 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higher Medical and Business-Technological School of Applied Studies ŠabacŠabacRepublic of Serbia
  2. 2.University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology and EcologyNovi SadRepublic of Serbia
  3. 3.Institute of Chemistry, Technology and MetallurgyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeRepublic of Serbia
  4. 4.Institute for Plant Protection and EnvironmentBelgradeRepublic of Serbia

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