UPM supports the demolishing of Hiitolanjoki river’s third dam and the return of landlocked salmon to their old spawning waters

Press Release 1.11.2023 14:00 EET

UPM supports the third and final phase of the Hiitolanjoki river restoration project in South Karelia, where the dam of the Ritakoski hydropower plant was demolished and the rapid restored. The restoration will allow Ladoga’s landlocked salmon to rise to its old spawning waters and improves the status of the aquatic habitat of the river.

The Hiitolanjoki project started in 2021. During the project two other dams have been demolished and rapids restored – Kangaskoski in 2021 and Lahnasenkoski in 2022. The restoration of Ritakoski will be completed by the end of 2023.

"The results from the first two renovations are very promising in terms of salmon parr numbers. Now that Ritakoski has been dismantled and renovated, surely spawning will be successful there as well. We will see more detailed results next year," says Hanna Ollikainen, Managing Director of the South Karelia Recreation Foundation (EKVAS), which is leading the project.

The Hiitolanjoki river is the only spawning river for wild landlocked salmon of Ladoga on the Finnish side of the border. To enable the salmon to swim upstream, the South Karelia Recreation Area Foundation acquired ownership of the three hydroplants on the Hiitolanjoki at the turn of the decade and has since been promoting the project with the help of donations.

After the dismantling of the old hydropower dam, the Ritakoski rapid was restored to suit the migrating fish. (Picture: Mikko Nikkinen)

"It is great to be involved in the restoration of Ritakoski, as UPM has also been part of the history of Hiitolanjoki. Sites like this are a logical addition to UPM's stream water programme, which aims to promote the biodiversity of stream waters," says Mikael Rytkönen, Environmental Manager at UPM Energy.

The project was mainly funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Nousu programme. In addition to private individuals, other donors include WWF, the Lassi Leppinen Foundation, Etelä-Karjalan Säästöpankkisäätiö, OP Simpele, Lähi-Tapiola, the municipality of Rautjärvi and, most recently, the Open Rivers Programme, which funds the restoration of European stream ecosystems, and UPM. UPM's donation is part of the company's Share and Care programme.

Read more: UPM supports the dismantling of the third dam on Hiitolanjoki – landlocked salmon of Ladoga will soon rise to the headwaters (upmenergy.com)

For further information please contact:
Hanna Ollikainen, Managing Director of the South Karelia Recreation Foundation, tel. +358 40 823 5105
Mikael Rytkönen, Environmental Manager and Coordinator of UPM's Stream Water Programme, UPM Energy, tel. +358 40 826 3636

UPM, Media Relations
Mon-Fri 9:00–16:00 EET
tel. +358 40 588 3284

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