European Rewilding Network
72

Rewilding Lankälven

Rewilding the Lankälven river

A view of the restored river Lankälven in Södra Hyttan after the dam was removed.
Helena Backius
Starting by having a dam removed and restoring the breeding habitats for the present trout population, the project aims to eventually allow the protected fresh water pearl mussel to be replanted in Lankälven.
Helena Sandell
A public event with electrical fishing and counting of the fish in the river, made in cooperation with the county government.
John Nyzell
A view of our house made of Bergslags-slag which will house our open air exhibition portraying the life in the river Lankälven.
Helena Backius
Gravel beds have been added as spawning habitat for trout, while rocks and small boulders have also been returned to create habitat where for trout can thrive.
Rewilding Lankälven
The removed dam on the River Lankälven first constructed in 1683 and rebuilt in the 1970s, has prevented trout from moving upstream beyond the village of Södra Hyttan.
Rewilding Lankälven

The Rewilding Lankälven project kicked off in 2017 with the removal of the dam on the river Lankälven. Since then gravel beds have been added as spawning habitat for trout, while rocks and small boulders have also been returned to create habitat where for trout can thrive (trout eat a host of aquatic and terrestrial insects, other fish, crustaceans, leeches and worms).

The eventual aim is to replant a population of freshwater pearl mussels in the Lankälven. But before this can happen the ecosystem has to rebalance itself after the restoration efforts, and the river’s trout population has to start swimming upstream (the mussels depend on trout for part of their lifecycle).

To complement rewilding efforts, the Rewilding Lankälven project is also developing a new visitor centre in Södra Hyttan to introduce people to the area’s wild nature. The Bergslagens Visitor Centre, which will open fully in 2021, will become a hub for natural and cultural experiences, and is already hosting workshops, volunteering camps and presentations.

Project: Rewilding Lankälven
Region: Lankälven in Södra Hyttan, Sweden
Type of project: Creating space for wilder nature, Increasing interest in the wild through communications
Aim and vision: Our aim is to make Lankälven wild again. Thereby allowing its natural inhabitants to flourish. By working with Lankälven, we aim to make sure that the whole area will be kept in conditions that allow for the river to live naturally and to be part of a functioning ecosystem. Our work with Lankälven started by removing a dam, and this was also our first step in creating Bergslagens Visitor Center. We want to help nature, but also show what nature is and what you can find once you look. By being the interpreters we believe that a greater audience will start to appreciate and care for nature.
Our vision is to have Lankälven restored so that the river can create an appropriate and sustainable ecosystem, where the replanted fresh water pearl mussel will thrive. This will allow for a more dynamic and resistant river that hopefully results in more restoration work along its path. With the possibility of the trout to swim to its old breeding and playing habitats hopefully the population will grow and ecotourism can start to reap the benefits of functioning ecosystems, allowing the local population in our rural countryside to live and create meaningful lives in close contact with, supporting and supported by, nature.
Uniqueness of the project: We have a cultural center, with Scandinavia's biggest 2nd hand bookshop, our world music festival HyttDreva and several thousand visitors each year. With all this we are creating a unique way to present nature to people who otherwise perhaps would not seek it and wouldn’t understand nor care.
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, High-impact communications, Recreational activities, Research, Sale of sustainable products
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Thriving population of trouts and mussels in Lankälven, a blue/green corridor between our already existing nature reserves and the forests of Lankälven, a visitor center merging art and science and becoming a place of resilience, sustainability and interpretation.
Results so far: Our first stepping stone has been the removal of the dam. We have organized a volunteer camp for the restoration of the river, and through working with volunteers we are raising awareness of the issue of the mussels, and giving those people a bodily experience as to what the issue actually is. We have been granted money by the county council to continue with our project, for the use of machines to restore inaccessible sites in the river. During the environment and filmfestival in Långbanshyttan in 2019 we were invited to hold a presentation of our rewilding project. The same talk was held in our culture center. We have also created a study circle where artists are going to create an exhibition portraying the life in and above the river Lankälven.
Inspirational value: When digging deep, you can find treasures in even the driest scientific reports. As a guide, or holding a presentation, as soon as you can explain new information in an understandable way, and if you can communicate well, your audience will learn, engage, and quickly start to care for your cause. Often tiny details make life more vivid, thereby furthering our cause.
Experience you would like to share: Many of us who are working with this project are artists of different kinds, but also have a background in biology. We want to share this duality and the richness in this combination. We hope that when we meet with others in this network we can evolve in this ambition. We want to be inspired by others and tell the stories of others working with rewilding and bring that to our visitors.
Experience you would like to gain: How to communicate to/with a greater audience, how to find funding for bigger projects. Learning from others who have more experience in these kinds of projects, dealing with politicians, how to get support from scientists and how to become a targeted place/project of study. In sum: we want to learn from those who have done this before so that we can rewild more areas and continue doing what we have started.
Map
Country
Sweden
Start year
2017
Size (ha)
5000
Area type
Freshwater lakes, Northern coniferous forest, River, Wetlands
Natural process
Flooding, River dynamics
Flagship species
Beaver, Otter, Trout
Rewilding Lankälven
A view of the restored river Lankälven in Södra Hyttan after the dam was removed.
Helena Backius
Starting by having a dam removed and restoring the breeding habitats for the present trout population, the project aims to eventually allow the protected fresh water pearl mussel to be replanted in Lankälven.
Helena Sandell
A public event with electrical fishing and counting of the fish in the river, made in cooperation with the county government.
John Nyzell
A view of our house made of Bergslags-slag which will house our open air exhibition portraying the life in the river Lankälven.
Helena Backius
Gravel beds have been added as spawning habitat for trout, while rocks and small boulders have also been returned to create habitat where for trout can thrive.
Rewilding Lankälven
The removed dam on the River Lankälven first constructed in 1683 and rebuilt in the 1970s, has prevented trout from moving upstream beyond the village of Södra Hyttan.
Rewilding Lankälven

The Rewilding Lankälven project kicked off in 2017 with the removal of the dam on the river Lankälven. Since then gravel beds have been added as spawning habitat for trout, while rocks and small boulders have also been returned to create habitat where for trout can thrive (trout eat a host of aquatic and terrestrial insects, other fish, crustaceans, leeches and worms).

The eventual aim is to replant a population of freshwater pearl mussels in the Lankälven. But before this can happen the ecosystem has to rebalance itself after the restoration efforts, and the river’s trout population has to start swimming upstream (the mussels depend on trout for part of their lifecycle).

To complement rewilding efforts, the Rewilding Lankälven project is also developing a new visitor centre in Södra Hyttan to introduce people to the area’s wild nature. The Bergslagens Visitor Centre, which will open fully in 2021, will become a hub for natural and cultural experiences, and is already hosting workshops, volunteering camps and presentations.

Map
Country
Sweden
Start year
2017
Size (ha)
5000
Area type
Freshwater lakes, Northern coniferous forest, River, Wetlands
Natural process
Flooding, River dynamics
Flagship species
Beaver, Otter, Trout
Specification
Project: Rewilding Lankälven
Region: Lankälven in Södra Hyttan, Sweden
Description
Type of project: Creating space for wilder nature, Increasing interest in the wild through communications
Aim and vision: Our aim is to make Lankälven wild again. Thereby allowing its natural inhabitants to flourish. By working with Lankälven, we aim to make sure that the whole area will be kept in conditions that allow for the river to live naturally and to be part of a functioning ecosystem. Our work with Lankälven started by removing a dam, and this was also our first step in creating Bergslagens Visitor Center. We want to help nature, but also show what nature is and what you can find once you look. By being the interpreters we believe that a greater audience will start to appreciate and care for nature.
Our vision is to have Lankälven restored so that the river can create an appropriate and sustainable ecosystem, where the replanted fresh water pearl mussel will thrive. This will allow for a more dynamic and resistant river that hopefully results in more restoration work along its path. With the possibility of the trout to swim to its old breeding and playing habitats hopefully the population will grow and ecotourism can start to reap the benefits of functioning ecosystems, allowing the local population in our rural countryside to live and create meaningful lives in close contact with, supporting and supported by, nature.
Uniqueness of the project: We have a cultural center, with Scandinavia's biggest 2nd hand bookshop, our world music festival HyttDreva and several thousand visitors each year. With all this we are creating a unique way to present nature to people who otherwise perhaps would not seek it and wouldn’t understand nor care.
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, High-impact communications, Recreational activities, Research, Sale of sustainable products
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: Thriving population of trouts and mussels in Lankälven, a blue/green corridor between our already existing nature reserves and the forests of Lankälven, a visitor center merging art and science and becoming a place of resilience, sustainability and interpretation.
Results so far: Our first stepping stone has been the removal of the dam. We have organized a volunteer camp for the restoration of the river, and through working with volunteers we are raising awareness of the issue of the mussels, and giving those people a bodily experience as to what the issue actually is. We have been granted money by the county council to continue with our project, for the use of machines to restore inaccessible sites in the river. During the environment and filmfestival in Långbanshyttan in 2019 we were invited to hold a presentation of our rewilding project. The same talk was held in our culture center. We have also created a study circle where artists are going to create an exhibition portraying the life in and above the river Lankälven.
Exchange
Inspirational value: When digging deep, you can find treasures in even the driest scientific reports. As a guide, or holding a presentation, as soon as you can explain new information in an understandable way, and if you can communicate well, your audience will learn, engage, and quickly start to care for your cause. Often tiny details make life more vivid, thereby furthering our cause.
Experience you would like to share: Many of us who are working with this project are artists of different kinds, but also have a background in biology. We want to share this duality and the richness in this combination. We hope that when we meet with others in this network we can evolve in this ambition. We want to be inspired by others and tell the stories of others working with rewilding and bring that to our visitors.
Experience you would like to gain: How to communicate to/with a greater audience, how to find funding for bigger projects. Learning from others who have more experience in these kinds of projects, dealing with politicians, how to get support from scientists and how to become a targeted place/project of study. In sum: we want to learn from those who have done this before so that we can rewild more areas and continue doing what we have started.
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