This article contains pictures from the Hiitolanjoki Lahnasenkoski construction site. Follow the construction site here – moving around the construction site is strictly prohibited to ensure the safety of all parties! Walking on the scenic path is also prohibited.
The turbines of the Lahnasenkoski power plant, which started in 1911, stopped finally on July 31, 2022.
The construction site already started in July, before the end of the power plant’s operation, with the preparation of construction sites and the start of the work dam.
The dam disappears from the landscape. Photos by Mikko Nikkinen 23 August 2022
DO NOT ENTER CONSTRUCTION AREA WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE RESPONSIBLE FOREMAN AND WEARING SAFETY EQUIPMENT.
Work in Kangaskoski began immediately at the beginning of August. The power plant’s Kaplan turbine turned to standstill after had been grinding electricity for almost 100 years.
When the water could no longer flow through the power plant, water rose in the canal and ran through the overflow hatches.
In order to prevent the water from rising too high above Kangaskoski dam, the hatches of the regulation dam were opened and the water was released into the natural rapids, ie the former river bed. Timing the start of the work at end of the summer when the flow is small, the work machines were able to move in the river bed. The spawning gravel for salmonids had been brought to the rapids in July before the dam demolishing project, when the riverbed was still dry.
Work was first started at the top of the future rapids by bringing rocks and quarries to the working dam. The machine was able to work on the work dam and shape the top of the rapids.
Large rocks have been brought to the upper section of the rapids and the shoreline are designed.
At the bottom of the river was found such an old roller – what is it possible and what is its age?
When the upper part of the river is ready to maintain the level of the water surface above, the dam hatches were completely opened. As a result, water began to fall at the dam and the upper channel began to dry out.
Excavated rock and old structures were exposed from the canal.
A new tributary was excavated from the rapids, which also brings flow to the water basin below the power plant. In the excavation work was revealed a concrete slab, which is part ot the structures of the previously located paper mill was found on site. An opening to the creek was pierced through the concrete.
Work on the upper duct began in in the beginning of September. The overflow openings and power plant duct will be blocked with concrete walls before the duct is filled. The power strainer can be seen now.
The dam will be finally opened, allowing the water level to fall above the dam and in the power plant channel.
The Kangaskoski dam was demolished in early September. To be able to work at the dam, a construction site was built cross the river, under which water was led through drum pipes. When the work at dam is done, all construction sites will be removed as well from at the upper part of the rapids and at the dam. The design of the Kangaskoski rapids will be finished in the river and at shorelines.
Actors of the Kangaskoski project
Developer: South Karelia Recreation Area Foundation
The restoration of Kangaskoski is an action of the RivTimes project co-financed by the Southeast Finland – Russia CBC program. The rest of the funding are grants and donations received for the restoration of Hiitolanjoki. The main donators for Kangaskoski are WWF, OP Simpele and Patagonia /Tides Foundation. The purchase of the power plants was financed with the grants from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland, South Karelian Foundation of the Savings Bank, Municipality of Rautjärvi and several private companies and persons.
Images and the article Hanna Ollikainen, South Karelia Recreation Area Foundation
Patagonia, a company producing makes eco-friendly outdoor outfits and accessories, is also an important sponsor of nature conservation projects world wide. Patagonia granted 28 000 $ for dam renovation in river Hiitolanjoki through Tides Foundation.
Thanks for Jasper Pääkkönen who communicated about our project to Patagonia’s people! Read the story how Jasper got involved to Hiitolanjoki restoration project. Read an article by Gregory Fitz / Patagonia:
South Karelian Foundation for Recreation Areas sent application for funding implementation of restoreation three rapids for migration fish, of which the most important species is extremely endangered Ladoga Salmon (Salmo salar m. sebago). Patagonia’s grant is will be used mostly at the lowest of the rapids, Kangaskoski.
Hiitolanjoki river renovation project is to be put in practice by removal of three dams at old hydro power plants. The goal of the Hiitolanjoki river restoration project is to enable fish migration and salmon stock strengthening Finland. After dam removals breeding areas for the fish will be multiplied in upper areas of the watercourse.
Ritakoski and Kangaskoski acquired ownership of South Karelia Recreation Area Foundation
The long-prepared and negotiated acquisition of Ritakoski and Kangaskoski in Hiitolanjoki was completed on October 29th, 2019, when the South Karelia Recreation Area Foundation acquired the entire share capital of Hiitolanjoki Voima Oy. Hiitolanjoen Voima Oy is now a subsidiary of the Recreation Area Foundation.
The company owns the buildings and dam structures of the power plants and the properties on which they are located. The Hiitolanjoki river restoration project is proceeding as planned, the power dams will be dismantled and the rapids will be restored, creating plenty of new breeding ground for the Ladoga salmon and trout, and opening up free access to the extensive estuarine waters.
Restoration begins in Kangaskoski
After the design and licensing work, the dismantling of the dams will begin on the lowest barrier elevation, Kangaskoski, in 2021. Each year, work will be carried out at one of the rapids: dismantling and restoration of the Lahnasenkoski dam in 2022 and Ritakoski in 2023. Electricity production will continue at every rapid until its demolition
A multi-year project and several stakeholders in the background
In addition to the authorities, a number of foundations, associations, companies and individuals participate in the Hiitolanioki project. In the end, a state commitment ensured the completion of the project. Sipilä Government’s environmental policy – In addition to financing the project, the purchase and restoration of power plants was supported by a number of public and private donors. To date, WWF Finland and foundation Lassi Leppinen, Savings Bank of South Karelia Foundation, Municipality of Rautjärvi, Simpeleen Osuuspanki, person anonymous, Raija and Ossi Tuulainen Foundation, insurance company Lähi Tapiola, ELY Center, Union of South Karelia, Teemu Juutinen private investor, Ahti Invest Oy and Signal Partners Oy.
Hanna Ollikainen, Managing Director of South Karelia Recreational Area Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0408235105
Matti Vaittinen, Environmental Manager of the South Karelia Federation, email@example.com, +358 40 139 0173