Kirkniemi Mill, located in a lakeside city just one hour’s drive from Helsinki, produces far more than exceptional coated papers destined for high-quality printers. Thanks to a project with the Länsi-Uusimaa Water and Environment Association, the mill is also supporting the revitalisation of threatened aquatic species in the nearby Mustionjoki River.
The project involves building fish passages to restore salmon stocks and freshwater pearl mussel populations in the river, which belongs to the Karjaanjoki watershed that provides Kirkniemi Mill with one of its most important raw materials, water.
The four power plant dams around the watershed have acted as an especially tough barrier to salmon fish migration. All are in the area of the Mustionjoki River, which flows from Lake Lohjanjärvi to the Gulf of Finland. By building the fish passages, the project enables salmon to bypass the dams on their important journey to and from the Gulf. The passages also similarly benefit the unique population of freshwater pearl mussels that have been threatened by the dams.
Project activities are part of the European Commission’s Freshabit programme to improve the ecological status, management and sustainable use of freshwater habitats. With its scenic lakeside vistas and old ironworks reflecting Finland’s proud industrial heritage, this - project co-funded by Sappi also supports the recreational and tourist value of the region.
Together, we’re revitalising a watershed that is important to all Finns…especially the 8,500 owners of summer cottages around the lake in addition to permanent residents. Many of whom are employees at Kirkniemi as Mill Director, Martti Savelainen explains:
"Fishing, swimming, boating and sailing are a big part of our employee's lives outside the mill. We don't take our water resources for granted. We work hard to protect and preserve water in the communitities we also call home."