Norway blows up hydroelectric dam to restore health and fitness of rivers and fish stocks | Rivers

A dam that blocked Norway’s Tromsa River for far more than 100 a long time was detonated with dynamite this week, clearing migration routes for fish.

“It is a huge stage,” claimed Tore Solbakken of the Norwegian fishing club Gudbrandsdal Sportsfiskeforening, which has been combating for the removing of the hydroelectric plant’s old dam for 5 decades. “I am incredibly delighted. It is about restoring the wellness of rivers and fish populations.”

Crafted in 1916, the 7-meter-high dam in the town of Fåvang, Innlandet, eastern Norway, has not been in use for additional than 50 several years. Tromsa is a tributary of the Lågen River, which flows into Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s most significant lake. Activists say eliminating the dam will enable fish in the place thrive once again, together with grayling, burbot, bullhead and common minnow. It is hoped that the key beneficiary will be the stilt trout, which can weigh additional than 10 kg and feeds in the lakes downstream and in Lågen. So far, the fish have only been equipped to reside and spawn in the least expensive 950 meters right before the dam, although they will before long be capable to swim 10 km upstream.

Tore Solbakken and his regional fishing club have campaigned for 5 decades to eliminate the dam. Director of images: Rob Kleinjans

“A several years back, I saw the DamNation documentary and it inspired me to test to take out the dams that are no for a longer time in use,” explained Solbakken. “Fishing obstacles, hydroelectric dams, highway construction and how we safeguard rivers from flooding are all major troubles for massive brown trout and other fish. It is significant to choose treatment of all compact rivers. If we do, we can have a beneficial upcoming for our territory “.

The destruction of the dam is part of a trend to eliminate the obsolete barriers that infest European waterways. In Oct, with the support of the Arcadia charity fund, the Open up Rivers method was released, a € 42.5 million venture to offer grants to help the elimination of small dams and the restoration of river move throughout Europe. Last month, the European Commission released assistance for member states to detect limitations that could be taken off to aid meet the goal of returning 25,000 km of rivers to free movement by 2030.

“Dams in rivers block migratory routes – waterways – for fish,” explained Herman Wanningen, founder of the Earth Fish Migration Foundation and Dam Removing Europe. “Some fish species, this kind of as Atlantic salmon, eel and sturgeon, vacation 1000’s of kilometers to entire their lifetime cycle. Dams also hinder the transport of essential sediments and vitamins and dramatically modify the normal move of rivers. The breeding grounds are missing. “

There are believed to be at minimum 1.2 million inland reefs in Europe and they are a issue in the significant drop in the amount of migratory freshwater fish across the continent, with figures dropping by a lot more than 90% in between 1970 and 2016.

“Absolutely free flowing rivers are the foundation for a wealth of biodiversity,” said Wanningen. “They also present meals for hundreds of millions of persons, as these rivers are total of daily life and fish. Cost-free-flowing rivers provide prosperous sediments, which are significant for agriculture and also mitigate the effects of floods and droughts. There is so a great deal possible for no cost-flowing rivers in Europe. “

“Norway is a massive hydroelectric nation. Removing the dams here is not typical, “Solbakken explained.” But it is not controversial if you are eradicating the outdated dams that are not becoming employed, in rivers protected by rules versus new hydroelectricity. “

machinery and workers at the dam removal site
The dam was blown up with dynamite packed into holes along the composition. Following the rubble has been cleared, a team will start restoring the river. Director of images: Rob Kleinjans

The marketing campaign by Solbakken and the 120 associates of the fishing club led to the govt agreeing to shell out the 3.4 million kronor (£ 290,000) invoice to get rid of the dam.

On Wednesday, the compact workforce drilled five holes deep into the dam, then inserted 20 kg of dynamite into each individual. Blowing up dams is unconventional in Europe, but in this circumstance it has been observed to be the most secure method. “As predicted, the dam cracked in the heart and leading,” Solbakken stated. “The subsequent stage is to use the excavator. It is a big dam and it will choose days to clear away all of it. There is nonetheless a great deal of do the job to be carried out. “

The group will then operate to restore the river specifically in front of the dam site. “The Tromsa Dam is situated in a steep canyon, so our problem is to make a mother nature-like waterfall to allow for the fish to swim upstream in the sturdy latest,” reported Ulrich Pulg, fish biologist and river restoration pro. “This venture will have various actions of one particular meter. It will search like whitewater rapids in the course of floods, but big lake trout will make it.

A lot more dams are established to be taken off throughout Europe in 2022, which include Spain, France and the Uk. “More and far more river administrators and NGOs are accumulating their equipment for excavation,” Wanningen said. “Just a couple of months back, 3 dams in Montenegro and one in Slovakia collapsed for the 1st time in the record of these countries. The European exploration undertaking Amber, in which we participated, showed that there are all around 150,000 dams and weirs in Europe that no more time serve any function and can be demolished devoid of any difficulty.

“Rivers are the veins of the Earth. We need to deal with them with treatment ”.

Locate additional protection on the age of extinction in this article and observe biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston And Patrick Greenfield on Twitter for all the hottest news and capabilities

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