One step closer to a free-flowing River Hiitolanjoki
The Hiitolanjoki project
The Hiitolanjoki project is the largest river restoration project ever planned in Finland. It aims to remove barriers in River Hiitolanjoki in Rautjärvi, South Karelia, in southeast Finland, that currently block the upstream migration of the landlocked salmon population at Lake Ladoga. That population of the species is the last fully natural landlocked stock remaining. There were three barriers fragmenting River Hiitolanjoki whose demolitions were included in this project along with the restoration of their previously dammed rapids (Video 1). All three barriers were operational hydropower plants and were acquired by The South Karelia Foundation for Recreation Area between 2017 and 2019 in order to move forward with their deconstruction. Kangaskoski Dam was the lowermost barrier on the Finnish side of River Hiitolanjoki and was demolished in September of 2021. Only a few weeks later, salmon spawning nests were observed in the newly opened section of the river.