The project aims to address the problem of excessive regulation of small Baltic rivers and therefore hindrances to migratory species, by applying best available practices for mitigation of migratory barriers in the pilot case and prioritising other rivers and dams for further action.

Wild Baltic salmon and sea trout, listed as Vulnerable under HELCOM, need healthy river systems for migration and spawning during their life cycle. BSR river ecosystems have been dammed for water supply, mills or power generation. The conservation issues on dammed rivers are well documented, with inadequate tangible progress to remove or bypass these dams for salmonid migration in eastern BSR countries.

The geographic scope of the project will cover the whole Eastern Baltic coast and basin, but focus on pilot bypassing a dam in the Stracha river in Belarus, built in the 1950s-60s near Olkhovka village, a location already evaluated as beneficial for salmonid recovery. Through further evaluations with partner organizations the project will develop strategies for implementing dam bypass or removal in other river systems in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia.

The goal of the project is to launch restoration of Baltic salmonid population in small Baltic Sea rivers, by generating and sharing knowledge on best cases and practices on migration barriers’ mitigation, including by construction of a pilot fauna passage fishway on Stracha river (Belarus).

It will be achieved through reaching the following objectives:

  1. Launching salmonid population restoration programme on Stracha river (Belarus): construct efficient fish way /fauna passage for up and downstream migration.
  2. Launching a salmonid migration barriers‘ mitigation programme in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania , Poland and Russia with the purpose to remove barriers/dams or establish fishways in small rivers in the near future. This will include
    2.1 Generating knowledge and examples of best practices and methods for migration barriers’ mitigation, globally and regionally;
    2.2 Initiating a knowledge exchange/learning for future actions within BSR. CCB’s ambition is to gather and improve knowledge as well as to provide sound argumentation on effectiveness of site specific migration barriers mitigation measures, by demonstrating drawbacks and benefits of both solutions and highlighting associated net risks and gains. Presentation and spreading the gained
    knowledge to relevant authorities, decision makers and media to get support for future actions; and
    2.3 Production and presentation of a list of Priorities on migration barriers’ mitigation, including proposals for specific actions in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia;
    To be used for discussions with relevant national authorities and stakeholders for actions on mitigation measures, incl what potential financing to be used.

Inception phase

Summer 2018
Translation of a short Swedish guidebook on “Restoration of watercourses with reservoirs with examples of removed dams” (published in 2018 by Jönköpings Fiskeribiologi AB) into English and Russian.

24-26/09/2018, Hudiksvall, Sweden
Dam Removal Europe Workshop.
Project Kick-off meeting (short 2-3 hours).
Study visits to Nianån and Gnarpsån dam removal sites.

05/11/2018, Minsk
Belarus Water Programme Evaluation and Monitoring Meeting, including update on Stracha case.

19-22/11/2018, Västmanland, Sweden
Study Tour on dam removal practices in Sweden for potential participants of the proposed project. Participants of the Study Tour presented their national cases that will form the initial list of priority national cases to be assessed for devising migration barriers’ mitigation measures.

News about the opening of the new fishways in Västerås, Sweden.

December 2018
Translation of a Swedish Handbook on Environmental DNA method into English (in process).

12 December 2018
Visit to Stracha dam and meeting with all authorities and stakeholders to take participation in the project.

Main project

April 2019
Kick-off Meeting / Webinar.

Late April 2019
Project Meeting Stracha, Belarus – deciding a roadmap for surveys, permitting and construction; agreements with the authorities.

Spring 2019
Update to HELCOM Working Group on State and Conservation.

May-June 2019
National Workshop Latvia, possibly back-to-back with CCB Annual Conference and study trip to Estonia – Sindi Dam, removed in 2018.

May 22-23 2019
Dam Removal Europe seminar, Pärnu, Estonia (Sindi Dam case).

May 23 2019
Kick-off meeting “Free Baltic Rivers” in Pärnu, Estonia.

May-June 2019
Tender prepared and launched for Stracha case.
Field survey season started (pre-project assessment).

June 2019
Communication on the Return Salmon Project to HELCOM HOD 56.

Spring-Fall 2019
Field season for evaluation and assessment of pilot cases, incl. possible application of eDNA method.

Aug/Sep 2019
National Workshop Lithuania (to be discussed and decided). Focus on small rivers and obsolete dams/barriers.
National Workshop Estonia-Russia (or alternatively – workshop only for Luga); focus on small rivers in Estonia-Russia or Luga river clean-ups.

28 September 2019
River and salmon fest in Olkhovka, Belarus

Sep-Oct 2019
Fish-way/fauna passage design prepared and discussed.
External review launched.
Permitting process started.

[Oct/Nov 2019]
[CCB international Workshop on Return Salmon Study visits in Finland (tbd)].

Fall 2019 update to HELCOM
Reporting to relevant HELCOM groups (FISH, FISH-M, STATE & CONSERVATION, etc.)

December 2019, Helsinki, Finland
Communication on the Return Salmon Project to HELCOM HOD.

Spring 2020 update to HELCOM
Reporting to relevant HELCOM groups (FISH, FISH-M, STATE & CONSERVATION, etc.).

Spring 2020
Permit for Stracha construction obtained construction commenced.

Spring-Fall 2020
Field season for evaluation and assessment of pilot cases, incl. possible application of novel monitoring methods.

Spring-Fall 2020
National workshops in all participating Eastern BSR countries.

Nov/Dec 2020
CCB international Workshop on Return Salmon.

Dec 2020
[Construction at Stracha finalised].

December 2020, Helsinki, Finland
Communication on the Return Salmon Project to HELCOM HOD.

Spring 2021 update to HELCOM
Reporting to relevant HELCOM groups (FISH, FISH-M, STATE & CONSERVATION, etc.).

Spring/Fall 2021
National workshops in participating Eastern Baltic countries (tbd).

Spring-Fall 2021
Field season for evaluation and assessment of pilot cases, incl. possible application of novel monitoring methods.
Post-project assessment at Stracha.

Nov 2021, Belarus
Final Workshop/Reporting on Return Salmon Project.

Gunnar Noren
gunnar.noren@ccb.se
+46 705 605 352

Lennart Gladh
lennart@gladhhetplana.se
+46 702 210 367

Gallery

Funded by: