The days when the lake dried up and the gentlefolk could load their carriages full of fish are gone. People wished to made their lives a bit better and thus drained what was for them worthless marshy land. The draining processes consequently reduced the number of fish which had been fairly high in the previous years (Korošec 1995).
After the World War II when the peasants finished with the draining processes the Breeding and Hunting Ground LRS controlled the fish population on the east side of the lake – in the regulated streams which never disappeared. However, on the west part of the lake the then Ljubljana Fishing Association did the best it could to save the fish from the intermittent caves. Since the west part of the lake dried up completely in dry periods many suggestions came for an urgent intervention on this part of the lake. The fishermen strived to retain at least some water in dry periods and thus rescue the fish. These efforts would reduce the irreparable loss of fish caused by the recurrent drying of the lake (Korošec 1996).
The Fishing Association Ljubljana tried to found a fishing association in Cerknica which would solve the accumulated problems more easily. They consulted a local Lojze Mikše who was at that time a member of the Ljubljana Fishing Association. Mikše took the initiative and together with twenty-three other members founded the Cerknica Fishing Association on 1st July 1956. Without delay the association got the permission and launched the project to construct a dam in front of the Rešeto Caves (Korošec 1996).
After several researches the building of the dam started that same year. The Fishing Association of Slovenia provided the money, while the Cerknica’s Municipal Administration carried out the work. Inhabitants of the village Dolenje jezero appealed against the project since it was in opposition to all previous efforts to drain the lake in which they invested a lot of money. However the small constant pond that formed behind the dam was general public property of the agrarian community Dolenje jezero (Korošec 1996).
On the initiative of the inhabitants of Dolenje jezero the People’s Committee of Ljubljana convoked a water-legal debate on 12th September 1956. The fishermen thought that building a dam was the only way to prevent a huge economic disaster. The area of the 61 meter long dam and the 9 acres of land of the constant pond behind the Rešeto were situated on an unfertile area in the channel which was unsuitable for pastures. The villagers didn’t object to the dam since there was once already a smaller dam in that same place. The participants of the debate considered the fact that the pieces of land near the pond which they used for mowing in dry periods would be dry whereas the dammed water could be used for watering cattle and in case of fires. The Municipality of Cerknica and other local committees agreed to the building of the dam. The Cerknica Fishing Association suggested making the pond general public property and thus tax-free (Korošec 1996).
Due to frequent flooding the dam was initially damaged several times. The engineer Franc Jenko who worked on the dam suggested building a channel on the other part of the dam. He also made a plan to stuff the new small sinkholes in the channel of the Stržen Brook which would reduce the loss of fish in this channel. Since the pond behind Rešeto lies on partly permeable karstic ground and it would disappear in the dry period the fishermen wanted to connect the pond to the Stržen and Žerovniščica Brooks. For this purpose dams were built also in front of Ponikve, Retje and Sitarica Caves in the sixties (Korošec 1996).
Every year in the dry period members of the Cerknica Fishing Association take the fish from the intermittent caves and put them into the pond behind the Rešeto Caves, where they stay until the lake fills up again. The locals help in this endeavour (Korošec 1996).
For a long time, the local fishermen have been drawing attention to the accelerated draining of the lake. Problems arise due to the small quantity of permanent water that lasts until heavy rainfall when the lake refills. Moreover the fast draining of the water lowered the level of underground rivers; new holes irrupted in the pond and other permanent channels and they now endanger the pond behind the Rešeto Cave. This pond is very important for the protection of the environment especially for the fire safety not only of the lake which is increasingly overgrown with reeds but also for the larger part of the Notranjska Region (Korošec 2001).For a long time, the local fishermen have been drawing attention to the accelerated draining of the lake. Problems arise due to the small quantity of permanent water that lasts until heavy rainfall when the lake refills. Moreover the fast draining of the water lowered the level of underground rivers; new holes irrupted in the pond and other permanent channels and they now endanger the pond behind the Rešeto Cave. This pond is very important for the protection of the environment especially for the fire safety not only of the lake which is increasingly overgrown with reeds but also for the larger part of the Notranjska Region (Korošec 2001).
Metod Korošec, BA in Sociology
Sources: Korošec, Metod (1995): Prihaja čas odločitve. Kras, januar 1965, št.6, str. 43. Korošec, Metod (1996): Ponosni na svoje delo. Ribič, LV, 12, str. 310 - 311. Korošec, Metod (2001): Kljub mukam se ne damo. Ribič, LX, 1-2, str. 10 -11.