Four new river restoration projects

22.05.2017

For each MWh of EKOenergy-certified hydropower, the seller pays at least 0.10 euro into EKOenergy’s Environmental Fund. That money is used to finance the implementation of river restoration projects. Because most of EKOenergy-certified hydropower is sold in Finland, we decided to spend this year’s money on Finnish projects. With the help of a jury of experts and stakeholders we selected four projects.

  • €50 000 for Free waterways in the Kokemäenjoki catchment area
  • €9 000 for Saving the freshwater pearl mussel of river Mustionjoki by rehabilitation in a hatchery
  • €6 000 for Improving functionality of fish passages by utilizing bypass flow – developing a new fish passage type
  • €3 700 for Restoring river habitats in River Merikarvianjoki, in Puukoski and Lankoski river rapids
Lankoski rapids, Merikarvianjoki river. Photo: kallerna (CC0 1.0)

Lankoski rapids, Merikarvianjoki river. Photo: kallerna (CC0 1.0)

Free waterways in the Kokemäenjoki catchment area

Kokemäenjoki catchment area is located in South-West Finland, mainly in the Pirkanmaa county. The target areas of the project are selected on the basis of earlier distribution and genetic studies of the brown trout populations in the catchment area. The ultimate goal of the project is to re-establish river connectivity to enable the expansion of the genetically original trout populations. The information on the existing sub-populations of brown trout is used to further develop other measures for the benefit of the fish.

The 2-year project includes concrete river restoration and fish migration study in this catchment area, in the Pirkanmaa county. The restoration includes eliminating migration obstacles and restoring spawning areas. At the same time a study of the migration of naturally reproducing trout populations is carried out.

Responsible organization: The Water Protection Association of the River Kokemäenjoki (KVVY) Contact: Limnologist Heikki Holsti: heikki.holsti(a)kvvy.fi

Funding granted from EKOenergy Environmental Fund: 50 000 euro, to be used in 2017-2018 for specific river restoration measures and migration studies.

Saving the freshwater pearl mussel of river Mustionjoki by rehabilitation in a hatchery

Freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) is a critically endangered species. The lifecycle of the mussel is peculiar. In the early stage of its lifecycle the larvae/juvenile freshwater pearl mussel lives in the gills of salmonid fish (salmon or trout), from where it drops to the river bottom to start the long, up to a 100-year life as an adult mussel.

In Finland, River Mustionjoki supports the southernmost population of freshwater pearl mussels that are presently on the edge of extinction. The number of individual mussels in this population have dropped dramatically between 2010-2016 (from 3038 to 1353). The remaining individuals are in weak condition and do not produce glokidium larvae. Thus, if no extra measures are carried out, the population will disappear while waiting for the results of habitat restoration measures in situ.

Freshwater pearl mussels in the hatchery. Photo: Jouni Taskinen

Freshwater pearl mussels in the hatchery. Photo: Jouni Taskinen

In Norway there is evidence of successful  removal of individual mussels from threatened populations to be reared at a hatchery where they are fed and cared for, until they start to produce glokidium larvae again, typically within 1-2 years. Salmonid fish are then exposed to the larvae and the developing juvenile mussels are then planted back to the home river to areas that have suitable conditions and best possible habitats.

Responsible organization: University of Jyväskylä, the laboratory of bio- and environmental sciences
Contact: professor Jouni Taskinen: jouni.k.taskinen(a)jyu.fi

Money granted from EKOenergy Environmental Fund: 9 000 euro, to organize the care for freshwater pearl mussels in Konnevesi Hatchery.

Developing a new fish passage type

A remarkable challenge of fish passage planning is the task of creating a sufficient attraction flow that would show the animals the direction to the fish passage. In hydropower plants operations water is a resource to be used for electricity production and thus to be used effectively. On the other hand, in many plant operation bypass flow – the excess water that cannot be used in turbines to generate electricity – occurs regularly during the fish migration time in spring and autumn. In current fish passage installations (in Finland and internationally) the bypass flow is not utilized for the benefit of the fish. The goal of the project is to create a new fish passage type that would utilize this opportunity, especially with regards to upstream migration but to some extend also downstream migration.

Responsible organization: Kala- ja vesitutkimus Oy
Contact: Researcher Petri Karppinen: petri.karppinen(a)kalajavesitutkimus.fi

Money granted from EKOenergy Environmental Fund: 6 000 euro to be used in 2017 to conduct a preliminary survey on the feasibility, applications and cost of various types of dam structures.

Restoring river habitats in River Merikarvianjoki

River Merikarvianjoki is located in the Satakunta county. The brown trout population of the river suffers from the lack of reproduction areas. The restoration project will focus on the replacement of unsuitable sharp-shaped bottom stones with natural-like gravel and rock material. It is possible that also salmon and whitefish populations will benefit from this restoration.

Responsible organization: Merikarvia municipality
Contact: Executive manager Marianne Hakala: marianne.hakala(a)merikarvianjoki.fi

Money granted from EKOenergy Environmental Fund: 3 700 euro to be used in 2017 for organizing volunteer work to restoring river habitats in Puukoski and Lankoski river rapids.


For further information on the process in 2017, please contact:

Virpi Sahi
ympäristöpäällikkö I environmental director

EKOenergia I EKOenergy
www.ekoenergia.fi
virpi.sahi@sll.fi +358 50 308 2457
skype: virpi.sahi

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