Plans to tame the river Danube in Croatia so that cargo can continue to be shipped efficiently between countries have raised concerns that the changes could greatly damage precious wetlands and wildlife in the north-east of the country.
But now the Croatian Inland Waterway Agency wants to turn its banks into embankments ... and straighten its course. To discipline the river, to stop it daydreaming. On the opposite bank, the Serbian authorities have similar ideas and are waiting to see the fate of the Croatian project.
Give us one - ideally two - lanes of motorway down the middle of the Danube, argue the barge boys. And the only way to do that is to "complete" river-regulation work which began in the 19th Century.
Stop meddling, reply the environmentalists. Allow the river to swell from March to August ... Let the floodplains absorb the floods, clean the nutrients from the waters, allow fish to spawn, attract birds to feed on the fish, and flocks of tourists to admire them.
This was once the jealously-guarded preserve of the hunters and foresters, explains Dinko Pesic, an environmentalist from nearby Osijek. Habsburg princes and then the communist elite hunted wild boar and red deer to their bloodthirsty hearts' content.
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