Critically endangered sturgeons threatened by proposed dams in Caucasus
A new hydropower project planned for the Rioni River in the country of Georgia could wipe out extremely rare sturgeons that still spawn there.
The canvas tents pitched on the tree-lined bank of the Rioni River in late March easily could have passed for a holiday campsite but for the fluttering flags emblazoned with “Save Rioni Valley” in Georgian script. About a dozen people busied themselves carrying out chores—chopping wood, preparing food, or attending to visitors. Under the late afternoon sun, there was little to suggest that this peaceful scene would soon lead to a watershed moment in the country’s environmental movement.
Here in the mountainous northwest region of Georgia, in the South Caucasus, these protestors—and now, many more across the country, gathering in unprecedented numbers—are fighting to stop construction of what would be the largest energy project in Georgia since the country’s independence from