There are a multitude of factors which impact the possibility of successful re-introduction of Salaria fluviatilis to their former range in Cyprus. An important series of questions that need to be asked are:
> can it be achieved? If so, what are the benefits?
> should it be achieved? Is it necessary?
> what factors will impact the implementation?
Here is a brief look at some of the existing anthropogenic impacts identified by our teams on recent surveys, which outline factors currently affecting habitats in the former distribution range of Salaria fluviatilis in Lemesos district in Cyprus.
Dams & Reservoirs
Dams and reservoirs may very well have been the major contributing reason for the decline of the species in the past, especially since the species is notoriously famous for being intolerant of habitat alteration and degradation. Whilst this has not been confirmed officially and may never be, what we do know is that the species was present in 1909 and the constructions of the Germasogeia Dam on the Amathos River (1947), the Pera Pedi Dam on the Kryos River (1956), the Trimiklini Dam on the Kouris River (1958), the Agros Dam on the Limnatis River (1964) [all large dams] and various others such as Prodromos Reservoir (1962) are all situated in the collective river basin which feeds the Lemesos district where the species was recorded from and these are likely to have been the occurrences which caused the most significant impact to the habitat.
Our 2017 research revealed a very small number of accessible perennial waterways in the sampled area. The habitat considered to have the most potential for habitation by Salaria was very badly polluted with effluent and rendered devoid of any aquatic biodiversity. Our team was not able to identify the source of the effluent due to time restraints, but this individual case should be investigated in future research; effluent disposal into river systems on the whole should be investigated. A live video was published on our social media account showing the extent of the damage caused. After our 2017 discovery of the area of significant negative impact from effluent, we decided in 2018 to take measurements of water parameters (including phosphate and nitrogenous compounds) and discovered startling results which highlighted a serious issue of waste water management which needs to be addressed. The use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers in crop farming and nitrogenous cattle waste run-off is possibly an issue in some locations and should be investigated to determine their presence and impact (if any) on the local river systems considered for Salaria re-introduction programs.
Introduced non-native salmonids are present in most of the waterways in the native range of Salaria on Cyprus. The effect of their presence and behavioural interactions between both species should be investigated to determine any threat to the success of re-introduction.