Ach! The stupid! It burns!

I’ve just finished beating my head against a filing cabinet after reading an article by Nick Thorpe,¬†on the BBC web site, about a proposal to straighten the Danube.

Apparently that pesky river’s all meandery and windy. It simply will not listen to reason and be nice and compliant and straight. And so the engineers have got a plan to … ach! that stupid again! it’s hurting! Didn’t they read my blog post about the Los Angeles River? Is no-one listening?

It’s not all bad news. Thorpe’s got a longer article in The Hungarian Review (available at all good newsagents). Back in the Danube’s headwaters there’s been work on to reintroduce the oxbows, re-open the anabranches and remove the engineering that almost completely stuffed the river and its surrounding environment in the not-so-long-ago olden days. Up around Vienna way, national park authorities have:

… re-opened the meandering side-arms of the river which were blocked off in the 19th century. Rocks placed along the shores have been removed in many places, to allow gravel and sand banks to reform. Fish can now breed again in the side-arms of the river, and many species of birds, insects and animals have returned.

But now the¬†Croatian Inland Waterway Agency wants to … agh! there it goes again! where’s that filing cabinet?