Biodiversity around the Avesta power plant

During the summer, Fortum worked with environmental consultants from Calluna to inventory plants and insects in the area surrounding the Avesta hydropower plant on the Dalälven river. The preliminary results show that there are several interesting butterflies and wild bee species in the area.

Bugs flower field nature summer

The project was initiated in May of 2021 with a controlled burn. This was done in collaboration with Avesta municipality and the emergency services of Södra Dalarna.

-Controlled burns are intended to benefit the area’s biodiversity and are one of several important means of maintaining high natural value, explains Fortum Environmental Coordinator Katarina Erelöf. In this case it was also necessary to investigate what species are found in the area. We could now inventory eight areas within the burned surface and the same number within a control area.

Several threatened species such as broad-leaved thyme and blue bugle were found in the test areas. Interesting plants typical in dry environments such as sand or lime-rich soils were also found. Examples include maiden pink, bloody crane's-bill, Nottingham catchfly, spear thistle, and garden burnet.

The inventory revealed abundant growth of species including field scabious, brown knapweed, common bird's-foot trefoil, creeping thistle, along with sporadic growth of harebell and mouse-ear hawkweed. All these plants have special significance to wild bee and butterfly populations.

Inventory by means of clean-up over both areas showed that there are many interesting butterfly and wild bee species here. Several threatened butterfly species were found, including the six-spot burnet, narrow-bordered five-spot burnet, and small blues.

-Of course it’s great to see that there are many interesting plant and insect species in the area around the Avesta power plant, says Erelöf. Now we can analyse the results and look forward to continued dialogue with Avesta municipality as to how we can continue to benefit and preserve the biodiversity here - while the power plant continues fossil-free production of electricity for many years to come.

Fortum strives to reduce the environmental impact of our activity while at the same time delivering electricity and heat to private homes, businesses, and the public sector. Hydropower does not emit any greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and is therefore good from a climate perspective. On the other hand, there is local environmental impact in all electricity production. It is for this reason that we participate in several different environmental projects at our power plants. Such efforts are underway in Avesta.

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