Koiliaris river in Kalyves

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Koiliaris river in chaniaKoiliaris River is one of the eco rich and impressive rivers in Chania Prefecture. It sources from Stylos Village at Apokoronas area in Chania end falls to the Blue Beach in Kalyves, after traveling for 5km.

Koiliaris River travels among lush greenery, a profuse and dense natural setting, offering the visitors an oasis of relaxation and aesthetic pleasure.

The river is home to several different species of flora and fauna that use the ideal landscape for reproductive purposes or as a very friendly haven. Several outdoor activities take place at the heady waters of the river.

Along the river, visitors can spot bird nests, and emigrating fowls that stop there to rest from their long journey; turtle doves, nightingale, swans, ducks and geese, marabou and many more species nest at the banks of the river.

Due to the uniqueness of the biotope and the natural beauty of the landscape, combined with the rich history of the Apokoronas region, the Municipality and Officials decided to launch a campaign in order to preserve the surrounding area and the river.

The interventions and the improvement or enforcement of legislation suggested and co organized by officials, Institutions and scientists in Chania Prefecture, aim at preserving the River Koiliaris and designate the riparian path, as well as the landmarks and findings at the banks of the river, tokens of Art and Culture for the region of Apokoronas and Kalyves.

Scientific Research at the Koiliaris River

By Vicki Nikolaidis.

One of the most pleasant and cool Cretan ecosystems even in the hottest part of summer is under the trees along each side of the Koiliaris River. In the deepest summer the water is cool because it arrives from the White Mountains. The trees still offer green-leaved protection from the sun, their reflection in the river making the clear water appear green.

In the winter the personality of the Koiliaris River changes into a wild and rushing channel of water. The White Mountains send rain and melted snow gushing and filling the river with crystal clear cold water.

The water level fluctuates throughout the year from approximately 50 centimeters to 2 meters. The highest water level can be reached within 20 to 30 minutes, a phenomenon known as a ‘flash flood.’

If you have been to the Koiliaris River in the past five years you may have noticed a box with wires running through a protective pipe into the river. The box disguises how interesting its contents really are. Inside the box is an apparatus which improves the understanding of how different river processes work. The box protects, in fact, a telemetric high-frequency hydrologic and water quality monitoring station.

Measurements of parameters such as water flow, water level, water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and nitrate-nitrogen are continually being taken and recorded by a computer. After being measured and saved by the computer the data automatically arrives at another computer at the Polytechnic University in Chania, Crete.

Daniel Moraetis and Dionissios Efstathio at the Department of Environmental Engineering of the Technical University of Crete, Chania have developed this intricate computerized scientific method for collecting data as the river water level raises and lowers throughout the year.

These types of measurements are commonly taken but what is different with this new method is the ability to measure the characteristics in real-time. The ability to monitor changes from moment to moment will add greatly to the knowledge needed to care for rivers. The data will also be very useful for water management.

Watershed management is a serious undertaking in Crete for maintaining excellent, high quality water on the island. Data from watersheds such as that collected with the Koiliaris River project is also an all important ingredient for planning so the inhabitants and visitors to the island have enough water.

Each part of Crete has distinct geological features; each river has its own personality and particular reactions to geology and weather. Due to the unique features in watersheds the need to collect short term data as well as long term data is invaluable. Now you can understand the significance of the development of the real time capability for measurement.

Once again the University of Crete has added greatly to the international scientific community with their valuable research.

The Research Team

The full research team is listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Efstathiou, Dionissios is from Athens but has married in settled in Chania, Crete. He is a computer analyst.
  • Moraetis, Daniel is a native of Lassithi in east Crete. He is a hydrologist.
  • Nikolaidis, Nikos P., Professor of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Greece.
  • Schnoor, Jerald L., Professor of Environmental and Structural Engineering, University of Iowa, U.S.A.
  • Stamati, Fotini is a native of Chania, Crete and studying environmental engineering.
  • Tzoraki, Ourania is a native of Heraklion, Crete. She is an Environmental Engineer of the Environmental Engineering Department, Technical University of Crete, Greece.
  • Vozinakis, Konstantinos, Geologist, Prefecture of Chania, Crete, Greece.

The research team’s peer reviewed paper titled “High frequency monitoring for the identification of hydrological and biochemical processes in a Mediterranean river basin” will be published in The Journal of Hydrology.

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