Since the first hydropower dams, rivers have been suffering due to the demand that hydropower places on the local ecosystem. EKOenergy is working to alleviate some of these damages. As well as only certifying hydropower that is sustainable, EKOenergy has an Environmental Fund which is used to restore rivers and fish passes.
Our team from the secretariat joined some local volunteers to help out restoring a river in Vihti. We were joined by Tuomas Oksanen, from Fortum and photographer Jarmo Katila, who started our day off brilliantly by treating us to some kahvi and korvapussti before the hard work began.
Fortum is the largest seller of EKOenergy in Finland. Their ’Tarkka‘-product is EKOenergy certified. As it originates from hydropower, they pay for each sold MWh €0.10 to EKOenergy’s environmental fund. They also helped us organise a public vote about which river restorations projects EKOenergy should finance this year. During that public vote, EKOenergy consumers chose this particular river restoration project to receive a 50,000 euro donation from us.
The team were shown the outstanding work the volunteers had done in previous years to restore the local trout population and learnt about future plans to bring salmon back to the region, which would be made possible due to the EU LIFE Freshabit project. We often read and hear about the results of our work with river restorations and climate projects, but it was amazing to finally see the impact we have with these projects first hand!
Following the background of the project and after learning about what has previously been achieved, the team were taken to Vihtioki river to get their hands dirty restoring the river! It was very different work for this team of office-dwellers, but great fun nonetheless. The main task was shovelling buckets of gravel and carrying them down to the river, where they were deposited on the riverbed to create spawning areas for fish. It was surprisingly hard work in the searing sunshine and certainly made the team appreciate the efforts of local volunteers who work so tirelessly to restore these rivers even more.
We are glad to have been a part of this process, and we are looking forward to continued cooperation, and hope we will have the opportunity in the future to lend a helping hand.
Written by Amy Corrigan
Posted on 13 July 2016