Environmental measures in Lower Dalälven

The nature of the Lower Dalälven is unique in Sweden, and the wide variety of landscapes provides the conditions for a particularly rich flora and fauna. This project aimed at preserving and developing the high natural values found at the lower Dalälven through various measures. The project was first a collaboration between Fortum Hydro and Upplandsstiftelsen, which started in late 1990.

Dalarna, Sweden

The efforts over ten years have possibly improved and developed the biodiversity in the area. Measures have also been made outside the Fortum’s real estate, with the same aim; contribution to biodiversity. In 2021 an updated management plan for the area was finalized, so the successful work with environmental management in Untra will continue for at least ten years.

The unique nature of Lower Dalälven

The nature in the lower Dalälven is unique in Sweden. Large open river meadows and bays are varied with streams, old leaves, and mixed forests which are rare in the rest of the country. The wide variety that the landscape exhibits provide the prerequisites for a particularly rich flora and fauna. Regular floods have benefited from different deciduous trees and the appearance of the flood meadows, which is typical for the lower Dalälven.

In no other place is the biological northern border as clear and obvious as here. At the northern border for many animals and plants, there are, e.g. plenty of precious deciduous trees like oaks, ashes and linden. Some areas belong to the most valuable that we have in terms of biodiversity. Here there are hundreds of red-listed and threatened animals and plants. The harrow stock, which is one of the country's southernmost, is of high biological value.

Project scope

The project started in 2009 as a cooperation between Fortum and the Uppland Foundation. The project aimed to conserve and develop the high nature values in the lower Dalälven through the opening up and clearing of vegetation and prevent meadows from being invaded by fir trees. The project also aimed to recreate naturally leafy forests and preserve the threatened plants and animals that occur in the area.

Implemented actions

  • Clearing of fir from flood meadows and areas rich in leaf trees
  • Clearing of bushes in flood meadows
  • Relieving old oaks in need of a lot of light
  • Recreation of forage and pastures on river meadows
  • Contributing to the Nature Conservation Association's project for the reintroduction of the white-backed woodpecker. Woody debris is created to favour woodpeckers.
  • Burning of forests on the island Upper Tylleropsön, and follow-up through insect inventory in the burned area
  • Biotope enhancements in the Bredforsen stream through the supplying of gravel

Sixty hectares of meadows have been restored so far, and another 30 hectares were opened later in the project.

Cooperating partners and stakeholders

Collaboration with Upplandsstiftelsen (Uppland Foundation) first started in late 1990. A more formal project including development of a plan for environmental management of the Fortum real estate at Untra first started 2009. It has continued until 2018. The cooperation with Upplandsstiftelsen has continued after 2018. First with an inventory to follow up the situation to see possible improvements but also updating the management plan during 2019-2020. In the plan, different type of measures are decided due to conditions in the different part of the area. From free development in some areas to restoration of overgrown areas, enrichment with dead wood, free cutting of oak trees etcetera. Also measures in the aquatic environment in the streams Bredforsen and Tammån received more attention. Results from investigations led to proposals on improved biotopes by supplying gravel and debris for support of the grayling. Some extra activities have been agreed with the County Administrative Board in Uppsala during 2021. The reason for this is due to impact on a Natura 2000 area when dam safety actions will be implemented during 2021-2024. Measures to compensate will be carried out Fortum Hydro in order not to impact on nature values in the area, forest burning, clear cutting of old trees, increase amount of dead wood.
The long-term work with focus on biodiversity in Lower Dalälven will continue for the next coming ten years in collaboration with Upplandsstiftelsen.

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