Vindel River LIFE - Restoration of tributaries of the Vindel river combined with monitoring and evaluation of ecological responses of species and habitats

LIFE08 NAT/S/000266

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Johanna GARDESTRÖM
Tel: 46(0)907866561
Fax: +46(0)90-7867860
Email: johanna@vindelalven.se

Project description:


Actions to restore the tributaries of the Vindel river in the county of Västerbotten in the northern part of Sweden to a more natural conservation status are considered a priority by the Swedish environmental protection agency, the county administrative board and the EU under the Habitats Directive and the Water Framework Directive (WFD). For example, the fundamental aim of the WFD is to maintain the “high status” of waters where it exists, preventing any deterioration in the existing status of waters and achieving at least “good status” in relation to all waters by 2015.


The general objective of the project is to achieve 'good status' for the waters of the Vindel river with reference to the WFD, and a good conservation status for the species in the project area (under the Habitats Directive). This will be achieved by reducing or removing the remaining negative impacts of fragmentation and channelisation installations in 22 tributaries of the Vindel river system. Overall, the works will focus on a river stretch of just over 44 km. These installations (e.g. dams) stem from the period of timber floating, which was carried out from 1850 to 1976. They threaten the favourable conservation status of species and habitats within the Vindel river Natura 2000 site. The aim is that by the end of the project 73% of these obstructions to the natural river flow will have been removed and the conservation status of the river system should be considerably increased. Certain constructions built for the former timber floating activities that have a high cultural and historical value, will be left for educational or museum purposes. The ‘Vindel River LIFE’ project will restore two habitat types listed in the Habitats Directive and five species listed in Annex II of the directive.

Expected results:

  • The removal of seven dams, or the provision of bypass channels. In total, 44.1 km of tributaries will be restored to a more favourable conservation status;
  • Improved conditions for the water flow regarding velocity and dynamics. This will mean: (1) slower currents and increased water levels; (2) mitigation of hydraulic disturbance during high flows; and (3) reduction of the flood risk in lower reaches during high flows;
  • Improved conditions for species in the riparian zones, such as riparian plants and mammals. This will allow species and communities to recover to more natural and sustainable states;
  • Improved conditions and changes in insect abundance and species composition will be achieved, directly (via changes in habitat) and indirectly (via changes in the availability of food);
  • Improved conditions for the water habitats that will allow species and communities to recover to more natural and sustainable status.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Freshwater


monitoring‚  river‚  restoration measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Target species

 Cottus gobio   Lampetra planeri   Lutra lutra   Margaritifera margaritifera   Salmo salar   

Target Habitat types

  • 3210 - Fennoscandian natural rivers
  • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation

Natura 2000 sites

SCI SE0810435 Vindelälven



Coordinator Umeå University, Department of Ecology and Environmental Science
Type of organisation University
Description Umeå University’s department of ecology and environmental science offers seven different study programmes and a wide range of independent courses for c.800 full-time students (2007). Also masters' programmes in ecology, experimental plant science and geo-ecology are offered. The department pursues PhD programmes and research projects in ecology, environmental change, and physical geography.
Partners The Vindel River Fishery Advisory Board, Sweden Dpt of Wildlife, Fish and Environment-Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Umeå, Sweden


Project reference LIFE08 NAT/S/000266
Duration 01-JAN-2010 to 31-OCT -2015
Total budget 2,675,513.00 €
EU contribution 1,337,757.00 €
Project location Övre Norrland(Sverige)


Read more:

Leaflet Vindel River LIFE - Restaurering av Vindelälvens f ...
Leaflet Vindel River LIFE - Restoration of tributaries of ...
Leaflet "Vindel River LIFE: Resaurering av Vindelälvens bi ...
Project web site Project's website
Video link "Vindelälven Sweden: Part of the Natura 2000 Network" (TV spot, 2')
Video link "Vindel River LIFE: [öringlek och återställning]" (9')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version