Indicative Ecological Status Assessment of the Zapadna Morava River Based on Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Community

Boris Novaković1



1 The Serbian Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Energy, Development and Enviromental Protection, Ruže Jovanovića 27a, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it





The aim of this study is to provide an indicative ecological status assessment of the Zapadna Morava River, based on the analysis of aquatic macroinvertebrate communities. Investigations were carried out during the summer period in 2011 and 2012 and covered four sampling sites: Gugaljski Most, Kraljevo, Jasika and Maskare. A total of 71 aquatic invertebrate taxa were recorded. Eight metrics were used for indicative ecological status assessment: total number of taxa, Zelinka and Marvan Saprobic Index, Biological Monitoring Working Party (BMWP) Score, ASPT (Average Score per Taxon), percentage participation of Oligochaeta/Tubificidae in the total macroinvertebrate community, Shannon-Weaver's Diversity Index, number of sensitive taxa (Austria) and number of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) taxa. Based on analyses of all selected metrics, the indicative ecological status of the Zapadna Morava River could be assessed as moderate (Class III).

Keywords: aquatic macroinvertebrates, Zapadna Morava River, biological metrics, ecological status assessment




In the present work the results of the ecological status assessment of the Zapadna Morava River was introduced based on aquatic macroinvertebrates as the most commonly used biological quality element.

The Zapadna Morava is a river in central Serbia, with a 308 km-long longer headstream of the Velika Morava which it forms with the Južna Morava River. It originates in the Tašti field, east of the town of Požega, from the Golijska Moravica and Đetinja headstreams. It receives the Skrapež from the left of its main tributary in the field Đetinja, less than a kilometer after the confluence, it meets the Golijska Moravica from the south, forming the Zapadna Morava River. Owing to the proximity of the confluences of the Đetinja, Skrapež and Golijska Moravica, some sources consider all three rivers to be direct headstreams of the Zapadna Morava.

The Zapadna Morava River Valley is called Zapadno Pomoravlje. With the valley of the Ibar River, the Zapadna Morava has a considerable potential in electricity production (the Ovčar Banja and Međuvršje). Water is also used for the irrigation and the artificial lake Parmenac was created on the river for that purpose, thus helping the already fertile region (grains, orchards).

Also, out of all three Morava rivers, the Zapadna Morava's Valley is the most forested one.

Altogether, the Zapadna Morava River receives 85 tributaries. The most important left ones are: Čemernica, Kamenica and Dičina and the right ones are: Ibar, Rasina and Ribnica. The river used to be longer (319 km), but due to the regulation of the flow, it is shorter now.

The river has an average discharge of 120 m³/s, but it is characterized by extreme fluctuations, which results in severe floods. The Zapadna Morava River drains an area of 15,849 km² (42,3 % of the entire Velika Morava River watershed) and it is not navigable.

The catchment of the Zapadna Morava River covers four water bodies (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia 96/2010), and three of them are situated within the investigated stretch: ZMOR_1, JMOR_2, ZMOR_4.

According to the national typology of surface waters, the Zapadna Morava River belongs to Type 2 (large rivers with medium grain-size mineral substrates, except for the Pannonian plain rivers) (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia 74/2011). With regard to ecoregion delineation for the territory of Serbia, the Južna Morava River is included in Ecoregion 5 (ER5) (Paunović et al, 2012).