Preparation, planning and procedures of restoration of lakes
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 May 2015 09:35
Shoreline is the area of lakes where the growing social demands of recreational and economic use of lakes and external loading from the catchment area meet the highest diversity and biological productivity. Littoral areas are of fundamental importance in lake ecosystems. Use of shoreline for instance for recreation, boating or residential areas brings needs to maintain proper functioning of the lake and shore zone ecosystem. Habitats in or close to conservation areas should be protected for biodiversity. Important elements in management of the shoreline in Lake Balaton area have been settled through a series of actions 1) special regulations were set to provide the legal framework to achieve the objectives 2) corresponding spatial plans were produced to guide restoration and development activities 3) landscape management plan was prepared to ensure and facilitate implementation. This procedure started in 2002 and is still ongoing.
Joint regional working groups consisting of regional and municipal authorities, different local stakeholders such as owners of water areas, angling clubs, voluntary lake associations, farmers’ associations, nature protection associations have for a long time been a tradition in Finnish lake management. Representatives of the relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries are invited to a steering group: to promote the commitment of local stakeholders and beneficiaries in implementation of lake management measures, to facilitate dialogue of stakeholders and authorities. This will also increase volunteer work and local funding for lake management, in planning and realisation of a management is launched. Consent to measures concerning the lake is needed from local private owners of water areas or their associations. Local stakeholders may be responsible for part of measures and funding. They may for instance arrange collecting or use of biomass of vegetation removed or biomass of cyprinids removed in biomanipulation. Their volunteer work is often priced in budgets of projects. Established routines of participation favour also hearings of the Water Framework Directive.
Interest in lake restoration in Estonia has been growing fast and diversely due to concurrent public notification of lake restoration matters. Profound information on lake restoration has been made accessible for public in an InternetHandbook in Estonian. The material has been used intensively and the feedback has been good. Since the handbook was published, 22 new lake or reservoir restoration projects have been funded by the Estonian Environmental Investment Centre. Experiences suggest that information in native language is needed to facilitate also the central idea of the Water Framework Directive to increase the participation of local stakeholders.
A flexible education-model for local stakeholders and authorities was developed to support local management planning. The education was divided into five modules including such parts as planning, knowledge of lake biology and different lake restoration methods.
Main goal of the education was to transfer the knowledge of lake ecosystem and restoration to a practical level. Trainees prepared a management plan for a lake or lakes in their locality. They could also participate to selected modules only.
Participants included local actors or authorities interested in or working on lake restoration cases, staff from relevant enterprises and private persons. The education included lectures, guided team work in preparation of a management plan, study site visits and evaluation of the management plan.
An approach based on multiple criteria decision analyses (MCDA) has been used in Finland both locally and regionally. Main criteria defining the priority of a lake to be restored have been 1) state of the lake which defines the need for restoration or management 2) degree of recreational use and 3) potential of local participation. The basic analyses can be carried out by a straightforward method using spreadsheets weighing the criteria by their importance. Lake cases are initially prioritized based on the sums of lake specific scores and results of prioritisation are further elaborated by MCDA. The evaluation method is transparent. It may also improve a tool for initial planning for local stakeholders, when they know what kind of information is needed from the lakes and which criteria are considered for funding decisions. Elements of the approach have also included in national guidance material for implementing the Water Framework Directive in Finland.
In lake management it is important also to visualise causes of problems. An important phase in restoration planning is to evaluate needs to reduce external nutrient load and relative importance of internal loading compared to external loading. For this purpose, series of maps were used in Satakunta region in Finland. Classification of ecological status of lakes was complemented with data analyses for modelled and current external loading and current phosphorus concentrations of lakes. A worse state than predicted by the pressure was considered as indication of internal phosphorus loading of a lake and to be a reason to screen in-lake restoration measures. Pressure maps provide a rapid visual image of external and internal loading of waters. This kind of information supports participation to the procedure.
A practical spreadsheet tool was used in Finland to determine cost-effective measures for reduction of phosphorus loading and to build cost-effective combinations of measures at catchment scale. The tool consists of 1) gathering the input data from the study area (P loading, potential of measures and reduction rates of measures for P) 2) entering input data into the tool 3) comparing single measures for their cost-effectiveness and 4) building cost-effective combinations of measures.
The tool can be used to assess costs and effects of water protection measures at catchment scale for instance when planning programmes of measures for the river basin management plans. The method gives a price tag for local or regional estimates of water management costs and facilitates estimates of an achievable phosphorus reduction rate. Furthermore, it supports better allocation of financial resources and improvement of communication between experts, authorities and local stakeholders. The method is transparent, easy to use, and its uncertainties are recognised.