Demolition of Louhikoski hydropower plant opens the Saramojoki watercourse to sea trout in Lake Pielinen
The State participates in the project to demolish the Louhikoski hydropower plant in the River Saramojoki in Nurmes and to free the river. This was made possible by the decision of Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö to demolish the plant free of charge and the fact that the demolition will not lead to any obligations related to the dam, regulation or other matters.
The River Saramojoki is one of the most significant watercourses that discharge into Lake Pielinen. Because there are no other major structures that prevent the passage of fish in the river, the demolition of the plant opens an extensive river basin for migratory fish.
In particular, the project will enable the River Vuoksi lake trout that has been classified as threatened to breed in the wild and build a stronger population in Lake Pielinen. Besides the interests of fisheries, this multiple-use project serves the objectives to promote tourism and the need to reorganise the hydropower economy. The water permit application for the project will be submitted to the Regional State Administrative Agency within the next few weeks.
The project to demolish the Louhikoski hydropower plant was launched on the initiative of the electricity company Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö as the company was looking for alternatives to the renovation of the plant. The total costs of the demolition will be about EUR 1.7 million. The State will contribute about 25% of the total costs of the project. Besides the migratory fish programme NOUSU, the project to demolish the Louhikoski hydropower plant and free the river will be funded by several public organisations and private donors.
-This is the first demolition project concerning a small-scale hydropower plant that receives funding from the migratory fish programme NOUSU. Setting the River Saramojoki free provides the opportunity to develop the fisheries, recreational use and nature tourism of this river basin in quite a unique manner. The project serves as a good example of a joint effort for the benefit of watercourses and migratory fish, says Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
On 11 September 2020 Minister Leppä met key stakeholders in Nurmes and the Lake Pielinen area, visited the Louhikoski hydropower plant and examined the demolition plans.
-The implementation of this quite unique project that will enhance the value of Lake Pielinen and the River Saramojoki river basin was made possible by the strong commitment of the State and broad cooperation between the municipalities and other stakeholders in the area, says Asko Saatsi, Chief Executive of Nurmes.
By means of support and measures under the migratory fish programme NOUSU Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government aims to improve the status of migratory fish and threatened fish populations in different parts of Finland. The programme continues the work started as a key project by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government. Read more about the NOUSU programme on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry https://mmm.fi/vaelluskalat/vaelluskalaohjelma (in Finnish).
Organisations that have already pledged their contributions to the project to demolish the Louhikoski hydropower plant and free the River Saramojoki are the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, LähiTapiola Itä, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, City of Nurmes, Nestori Foundation, Regional Council of North Karelia, Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö Oy, Raija and Ossi Tuuliainen Foundation, Säästöpankki Foundation, Sasta Oy and Scanpole Oy.
Teppo Säkkinen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 50 516 2868, teppo.sakkinen(at)mmm.fi
Jouni Tammi, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 400 453 425, jouni.tammi(at)mmm.fi
Asko Saatsi, Chief Executive, Nurmes, tel. +358 401 04500, asko.saatsi(at)nurmes.fi
Niilo Valkonen, Project Manager, Future Missions Oy, tel. +358 45 875 3735, niilo.valkonen(at) futuremissions.fi
Jari von Becker, Business Unit Director, Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö Oy, tel. +358 50 433 8244, jari.vonbecker(at)pks.fi