New culvert significantly facilitates natural trout movement and reproduction at the Ylösjoki river in Hollola

On 3 August, WWF Finland, K Group and a local water and air protection association organised a volunteering event on the Ylösjoki river in Hollola to restore spawning grounds for trout. Culverts that were blocking trout migration were replaced with a custom-made culvert that enables the trout population to move freely and grow. The new culvert was donated by Pipelife Finland in cooperation with Onninen.

Representatives of the companies that supplied the new custom-built culvert also took part in the work. From the left: K Group’s Sourcing and Sustainability Director Antti Auvinen and Product Line Director Jani Kakko and Talokaivo Oy’s sales engineer Heikki Vihtonen.

Pictures: Ville Rinne

Finnish migratory fish are endangered because our brooks and rivers are full of obstacles that prevent them from migrating and spawning. Culverts had been preventing the endangered trout from swimming upstream the Ylösjoki river and reaching their spawning grounds. This all changed when volunteers gathered at the K Fishpaths event on 3 August.

“We worked midway through the river route, where the river runs towards the Porvoonjoki river. In addition to using machines, we shaped the new culvert by hand so that it allows for unobstructed access for trout to their spawning grounds. This will enable the original trout population in Hollola to grow stronger,” say Manu Vihtonen, WWF Finland’s expert, and Sampo Vainio, a “river janitor” appointed by a Finnish water protection society, who together headed the work at Hollola.

There’s demand for environmentally friendly innovations

Flow through the new culvert strives to imitate that of a natural brook. Representatives of Pipelife Finland and Onninen, which supplied the new culvert, also took part in the volunteering effort.

“We are happy to have been able to supply a custom-built, fish-friendly culvert for this K Fishpaths location. We hope this sets an example for other restoration locations, and we would be happy to cooperate with local road maintenance and water protection organisations also going forward,” said Jani Kakko, Product Line Director for K Group company Onninen, and sales engineer Heikki Vihtonen from Talokaivo Oy, representing Pipelife Finland. Both also took part in the actual restoration work at the event.Meanwhile, WWF Finland’s Partnership Manager Juuso Lautiainen (left) donned his wading boots. He was excited about this new type of corporate cooperation.

“Companies have an increasingly important role and ability to help solve environmental issues, and this cooperation is a great, tangible example of that. The culvert donated in Hollola represents an innovation that is also good for the environment, and I’m sure the trout are grateful,” said Lautiainen.

Some 20 volunteers

Overall, some 20 volunteers participated in the K Fishpaths event in Hollola. One eager volunteer was local K-retailer Mikko Artima from K-Supermarket Okeroinen.

“I was happy to come and take part in creating opportunities for migratory fish to reproduce. This location is especially important to me as I live close by. The way Kesko and us K-retailers bear our social responsibility also outside the stores makes me proud,” said Artima.

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