“Support from all friends of nature needed” – lake trout in Kuusamo one step closer to freedom
Funding is now being collected to purchase the Myllykoski hydropower plant in Kuusamo. The idea is to demolish the plant so that threatened lake trout will be able to migrate freely to large areas of streams and lakes. A binding preliminary agreement was signed and the first deposit paid to Koskienergia Koskivoima Oy on 31 August. The project receives support from the migratory fish programme NOUSU of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
After the plant is no longer in use, water will be conducted back to the river Piilijoki, through which fish will be able to migrate from the main stem of the river Kuusinkijoki all the way to the headwaters. The river Kuusinkijoki is one of the three famous trout river in Kuusamo. The two other are the rivers Kitkajoki and Oulankajoki. These three rivers come together on the Russian side and discharge into lake Paanajärvi. From there the route continues to lake Pääjärvi, which has extensive feeding areas for lake trout.
“Kuusamo is a city with beautiful nature and fantastic rivers. The hydropower plant has prevented fish from migrating upstream, which has caused the lake trout population to decline in recent years. The project will make 50 kilometres of spawning areas available for fish. This will be extremely important for lake trout, which is one of our threatened species,” says Matti Aikio, Chair of Kuusinkijoki kuntoon ry, an association whose mission is to restore the river.
Funds for the transaction collected until the end of 2022
The State is committed to proving 50% of the funds needed for purchasing the hydropower plant. The aim of the migratory fish programme NOUSU is to improve the status of migratory fish species and fish populations that are threatened.
“The River Kuusinkijoki is a high priority - the potential of this water area is huge,” says Matti Vaittinen, Project Coordinator of the migratory fish programme NOUSU.
To complete the transaction, the local association must collect half of the necessary funds from other sources by 2022.
“Now support from all friends of nature will be needed to come up with the share of the funding that is to be collected from private sources. Through this project, we may be able to help the unique trout population to recover. Another reason why the project is highly valuable for Kuusamo is that it will contribute to the viability of the region by boosting fishing tourism, which will also increase property values around the water bodies,” says Jouko Manninen, Chief Executive of Kuusamo.
“I wish to thank all those who have already donated money for the project. Thanks to them, we are again one step closer to reaching our goal. I also wish to thank the City of Kuusamo, which has been very supportive to the project,” Aikio says.
A letter of intent on the project was signed in Helsinki on 4 March 2021.
Matti Aikio, Chair, Kuusinkijoki Kuntoon ry, tel. +358 400 354 540
Matti Vaittinen, Project Coordinator of the migratory fish programme NOUSU, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 295 162 106, matti.vaittinen(at)mmm.fi