The aim is to improve the state of aquatic environments

Metsähallitus works to improve the condition of inland waters through careful advance planning of forest management measures and by rehabilitating aquatic habitats. In the management of fishing waters, the main strategic objective is to strengthen and protect the natural native fish and crayfish populations.

Key water management projects and measures in 2017

Project Objective Measures

Inland waters Sea areas
Hydrology LIFE (2017–2023) Safeguarding peatlands, streams and bird lakes Drainage ditches were blocked and trees cleared.

Mushroom surveys and habitat inventories were carried out.

Freshabit LIFE IP (2016–2022) Improving the ecological state and biodiversity of Natura 2000 water bodies Peatland areas were restored.

Measures were taken to improve water protection in multiple-use forests.

Measures were taken to manage river pearl mussel populations.

VELMU – the Finnish Inventory Programme for Underwater Marine Environment Better protection of maritime areas and species occurring in the Baltic Sea
Underwater sandbanks were surveyed.

Surveys of lagoons and endangered species and habitats continued.


Rehabilitation and stockings help fish populations

In 2017, Metsähallitus prepared a national operating model to improve the effectiveness of fish habitat management. The aim is to promote the rehabilitation of fish habitats in state-owned waters and to improve the effectiveness of the projects. The work will be carried out in a coordinated manner and it will involve close cooperation between Metsähallitus units and experts.

Metsähallitus took part in key projects supporting the natural life cycle of migratory fishes in Iijoki and Lieksanjoki rivers. In the Iijoki river, Metsähallitus was closely involved in the preparation of the Raasakka power plant fish pass and the implementation of a stocking programme. In the key project involving the Lieksanjoki river, an application for the restoration of the Ruunaa rapids for fisheries management was submitted to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland. In the same project, the reproduction of wild trout in the Ruunaa rapids was examined by means of electric pulse fishing. As part of the project, small fingerling stockings were also carried out, gravel was spread in spawning areas from helicopters, the number of smolts migrating downstream was studied, and the spawning behaviour of broodstock was examined using telemetry monitoring.

Negative impacts on water bodies can be reduced with good planning

The pollutant loads on water bodies in Metsähallitus-managed multiple-use forests were at moderate levels in 2017 and the trend is downwards. This is partially due to the revised criteria for drainage ditch maintenance and the fact that, as a result, there has been a continuous decline in such work.

In accordance with its 2017 environmental objectives for water protection, Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd provided its managerial staff with training in the design of the catchment basin level. The water protection guidelines for forest management were also made more specific and entered into the Ahjo competence environment as part of the ongoing updating of the environmental guidelines.

Metsähallitus is also taking part in the Interreg Wambaf development project dealing with water protection in forest management in countries in the Baltic Sea region. The purpose of the project, which was launched in 2016, is to test how the impacts on water bodies arising from such forest management measures as drainage ditch maintenance and soil preparation can be reduced. The Vengasoja model area in Pudasjärvi prepared for the purpose was put into use in 2017. The impacts of different types of buffer zones on water protection can be assessed in the model area.

Photo: Jari Salonen