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Let it Flow! International seminar on dam removal, Estonia

Estonia, 22-23  May 2019

The Environment Agency of Estonia and Dam Removal Europe (DRE) partners invite you to join the fourth Dam Removal Seminar from 22-23rd May 2019 at the Strand SPA and Conference Hotel in Pärnu, Estonia. 

Let it Flow! the seminar will take place very near the biggest river basin opening  (3,300 km of rivers and streams) which is happening as we speak thanks to a dam removal project (the Sindi Dam removal).

On the first day:

The Environment Agency of Estonia will present the dam removal strategy for their country and the dams removed until now. Our special guest Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, will present the current status and the future of dam removals in USA. We will learn about the dam removal situation in Finland and Denmark and we will hear three special dam removal cases from Sweden, Finland and Spain. There will be a round table discussion.  We will end the day by watching the Estonian Premiere of the Love Flows Documentary. Watch the trailer on the DRE youtube channel.


08:45   Registration

09:30   Külli Tammur – Environment Agency of Estonia: Official Opening.

09:40   Sampsa Vilhunen – WWF (Finland): Dam Removal Europe and dam removal campaign Finland.

10:00   Sander Sandberg, Olav Ojala & Hanno Zingel – Ministry of Environment (Estonia): Overview of dam removal in Estonia.

10:40   Bob Irvin– American Rivers (USA): From Monkey-wrenching to Mainstream: 30 years of dam removal and river restoration in the USA.

11:20   Break

11:40   Jukka Jormola– Finnish Environment Institute (Finland): Dam removal in Finland: Reasons, goals, status and social perspective.

12:00   Kim Birnie-Gauvin – Denmark Technical University (Denmark): Barrier removal. The Danish perspective!

12:20   Aitziber Urquijo Luengo – Basque Water Agency (Spain): Dam removals in Basque Country.

12:40   Lunch

13:40   Otso Lintinen – Ramboll (Finland): Removal of the Tikkurila Dam – From barrier to breeding place.

14:00   Külli Tammur – Environment Agency of Estonia: Restoration of Pärnu River Basin and introduction of the first fieldtrip.

14:15   Raimo Jaaksoo – Ministry of Environment (Estonia): Remediation of Purtse River Catchment area and introduction of the second fieldtrip.

14:30   Ivan Olsson – County Administrative Board of Skåne (Sweden): River connectivity, habitats and water quality towards restored ecosystem services in Rönne å River

14:50   Meelis Tambets – Wildlife Estonia: Open for new challenges – fishes and people at crossroads.

15:10   Break

15:30   Dam Removal updates from Europe

15:50   Round table discussion

16:30   Wrap-up

16:35   Love Flows documentary (Estonian premiere)

17:15   End

The second day will focus on two on-site experiences:

1.Sindi Dam

The removal of the Sindi Dam is part of the project “Restoration of Pärnu River Basin” – the purpose is to remove 7 – 8 barriers (two of them already gone) in the river basin altogether. The Sindi Dam was a 151 m wide and 4.5m high dam and the first migration barrier within the river (14 km from the sea). The Pärnu River Basin in Estonia covers an area 20% the size of Estonia. The river is 144 km long but together with the tributaries (270 rivers and streams) it makes up a 3,300km river basin. Pärnu River is the biggest historical salmon river in the country with a potential twice as big as the other rivers altogether to improve salmon populations. Once the project is complete, this will effectively open up the 3,300 km of river basin in Estonia. That makes it the largest river restoration project in Europe to date. Sindi Dam Location

2. Purtse River

The Purtse River and its tributaries, the Kohtla River and the Erra River, are some of the most polluted watercourses in Estonia. The Purtse River basin is located in North Estonia. Length of the river together with its tributaries is 101 km and the basin is 1,094 km2. The extensive pollution of the rivers began with the extraction and processing of oil shale at Kohtla-Järve and Kiviõli oil shale chemical plants and it continued throughout the entire Soviet period. The overall objective of elimination of residual pollution is to ensure a safe environment for humans and a favorable environment for living nature. Purtse River Location

Please note: After the Sindi Dam visit, we will go to Purtse River, which it’s 207 km away, a 2 h 40 min ride. It is possible to come back through Tallinn at around 17:00 for those traveling back home that day.

Practical Information

Seminar Location: Strand SPA and Conference Hotel

Accommodation: You can  stay in the same hotel of the conference or there are plenty of other hotels nearby, if you enter “Pärnu, Estonia” in you will find many good deals too.

Transport and Travel to Pärnu: From Tallinn Airport to Tallinn Bus Station by tram or by bus , stop Bussijaam . From Tallinn Bus Station to Pärnu by bus. How to get around and what to do in Pärnu

Registration: The registration fee includes: lunch (2x), coffee/tea, and 1 dinner (incl 3 drink tickets). To register click here

For questions related to the seminar please contact: Pao Fernández Garrido –

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