PHOTOS: Europe’s last wild rivers in danger of being tamed

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In this June 30, 2019 photo, an old bridge spans the Vjosa River near the border with Greece, in Albania. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

(AP) – Vjosa River near Permet, Albania is one of Europe’s last wild rivers. But for how long?

This June 20, 2019 photo shows the Langarica hydropower plant, on a tributary to the Vjosa River near Permet, Albania. As pressure to build dams intensifies in less developed countries, the opposite is happening in the U.S. and western Europe, where there’s a movement to tear down dams considered obsolete and environmentally destructive. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this Sunday, June 16, 2019 aerial photo, the sun sets behind the Vjosa River near Tepelene, Albania. Rivers are a crucial part of the global water cycle. They act like nature’s arteries, carrying energy and nutrients across vast landscapes, providing water for drinking, food production and industry. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 28, 2019 photo, Shyqyri Seiti, pulls his fishing net from the Vjosa River near Ane Vjose, Albania. The 65-year-old boatman has been transporting locals, goods and livestock across the river for about a quarter century. The construction of the Kalivac dam would spell disaster for him. Many of the fields and some of the houses in his nearby village of Ane Vjose would be lost. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 26, 2019 photo, 13-year-old Eriko, sits in the driver’s seat of a car in the village of Kute, Albania. The village overlooks the Vjosa River as it snakes its way north to the sea. Residents here joined a lawsuit against the Pocem dam that would flood their fields, some houses and, crucially for many, a cemetery. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 19, 2019 photo, Vito Ilia, 64, walks out of a small cow shed outside her home in the village of Kanikol, Albania. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 27, 2019 photo, sheep are pastured near the shore of the Vjosa River in Ane Vjosa, Albania. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 26, 2019 photo, residents play dominoes in a small bar in the village of Kute, Albania. Dozens of residents from the village joined nonprofit organizations to file what was Albania’s first environmental lawsuit against the construction of a dam in the Pocem gorge. They won in 2017, but the government has appealed. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 15, 2019 photo, Sebastian Bäumler, 41, a German filmmaker kayaking the length of the Vjosa River, is illuminated by a bonfire as he sits next to his kayak on its bank in Albania. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 26, 2019 photo, children play outside at dusk in the village of Kute, Albania. The village overlooks the Vjosa River as it snakes its way north to the sea. Residents here joined a lawsuit against the Pocem dam that would flood their fields, some houses and, crucially for many, a cemetery. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 20, 2019 photo, people walk along the Langarica River, a tributary to the Vjosa near Permet, Albania. Albania’s government has set in motion plans to dam the Vjosa and its tributaries to generate much-needed electricity for one of Europe’s poorest countries, with the intent to build eight dams along the main river. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 22, 2019 photo, Jonuz Jonuzi, 70, rides his horse on the banks of the Vjosa River in the Kelcyre Gorge, Albania. He raised his children here and now watches his grandchildren play in the Vjosa’s waters. Before dawn each day, he crosses a bridge over a narrow gorge to tend to his goats before his son drives them to drink from a local spring, where the water emerges cold and crystal clear. “Everything I have, I have because of the river,” he says. “Albania needs electrical energy. But not by creating one thing and destroying another. Why do such damage that will be irreparable for life, that future generations will blame us for what we’ve done?” (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 25, 2019 photo, people raft on the Vjosa River near Permet, Albania. Some tout hydropower as a reliable, cheap and renewable energy source that helps curb dependence on planet-warming fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. But some critics like EcoAlbania say the benefits of hydropower are overstated _ and outweighed by the harm dams can do. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 30, 2019 photo, an old bridge spans the Vjosa River near the border with Greece, in Albania. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 14, 2019 photo, Jorgji Ilia, 71, stands on the shore of the Vjosa River after collecting water from a small spring in the village of Kanikol, Albania. “There is nothing else better than the river,” the retired schoolteacher says. “The Vjosa gives beauty to our village.” (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 20, 2019 photo, people bathe in a thermal spring on the banks of the Langarica River, a tributary to the Vjosa near Permet, Albania. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 24, 2019 photo, residents sit on the shore of the Vjosa River next to a spring in the Kelcyre Gorge, Albania. Those who live along the riverbank or rely on the waterway for their livelihood fear dams could kill the Vjosa as they know it. Its fragile ecosystem will be irreversibly altered, and many residents will lose their land and homes. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 29, 2019 photo, a river rafting guide paddles at dusk on the Vjosa River, Albania. Those who live along the riverbank or rely on the waterway for their livelihood fear dams could kill the Vjosa as they know it. Its fragile ecosystem will be irreversibly altered, and many residents will lose their land and homes. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 15, 2019 photo, Jurgen Steinbauer, Benedikt Baumler and Sebastian Baumler, German tourists who are kayaking the length of the Vjosa River, cook a meal as they sit next to a bonfire on the river bank in Albania. After seeing the Kalivac dam construction site, Benedikt Baeumler said, “It was really unbelievable what they did to nature, removing entire parts of the mountain. I hope this dam is never built.” (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
This June 23, 2019 aerial photo shows the construction site of the Kalivac dam on the banks of the Vjosa River in Albania. As pressure to build dams intensifies in less developed countries, the opposite is happening in the U.S. and western Europe, where there’s a movement to tear down dams considered obsolete and environmentally destructive. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 15, 2019 photo, Benedikt Baeumler, a German advertising executive kayaking the length of the Vjosa River, checks his map after setting up camp on its bank in Albania. A few days earlier and several miles upriver, the 43-year-old had been ambivalent about the hydropower projects, noting his own country had also dammed its rivers. But what he saw at the Kalivac site changed his mind. “It was really unbelievable what they did to nature, removing entire parts of the mountain,” he said. “I hope this dam is never built.” (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 18, 2019 photo, a man crosses a bridge over the Langarica River, a tributary to the Vjosa near the city of Permet, Albania. Albania’s government has set in motion plans to dam the Vjosa and its tributaries to generate much-needed electricity for one of Europe’s poorest countries, with the intent to build eight dams along the main river. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 23, 2019 photo, an abandoned bulldozer sits on the banks of the Vjosa River at the construction site of the Kalivac dam in Albania. Some tout hydropower as a reliable, cheap and renewable energy source that helps curb dependence on planet-warming fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. But some critics like EcoAlbania say the benefits of hydropower are overstated _ and outweighed by the harm dams can do. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 30, 2019 photo, the sky is reflected in the Vjosa River after sunset near the village of Badelonje, Albania. Rivers are a crucial part of the global water cycle. They act like nature’s arteries, carrying energy and nutrients across vast landscapes, providing water for drinking, food production and industry. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this June 24, 2019 photo, a man jumps into a spring where it meets the Vjosa River in the Kelcyre Gorge, Albania. Albania’s government has set in motion plans to dam the Vjosa and its tributaries to generate much-needed electricity for one of Europe’s poorest countries, with the intent to build eight dams along the main river. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

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