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Triple Lakes – Catchment restoration and preventive action for aquatic habitats in a climate change perspective (LIFE-TripleLakes)
Start date: Jul 1, 2014, End date: Jun 30, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Aquatic ecosystems in the Jämtland area currently face significant physical, chemical, and biological pressures. The clearing of streams, dams and road culverts, along with the consequent siltation of lake and streambeds, affect habitat types 3210 (Fennoscandian natural rivers) and 3140 (hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.). Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen are leaking from soils as a consequence of agriculture and forestry activities. Wastewater from treatment plants or private properties also increases the nutrient loads in local aquatic habitats. Due to a locally high concentration of nutrients and sediment/organic matter input the reed Phragmites australis has increased in density and distribution. This means that spawning grounds and feeding areas for lake-dwelling fish are severely affected and their population sizes have decreased. Moreover, climate change also presents challenges for the habitats’ long-term future. Another problem is the unsustainable use of natural resources. Objectives The project’s overall objective is to develop a model for adaptive catchment management for high conservation value aquatic ecosystems that takes into account climate change. This aim will be reached by implementing a programme of catchment enhancement measures to improve the status and resilience of aquatic Natura 2000 ecosystems. Specific measures included: eliminating and/or reducting of the current threats to the morphology, hydrology and water quality in three large Natura 2000 lakes and their tributaries; increasing the capacity of aquatic habitats to maintain favourable conditions and to contribute to a good ecological status; strengthening ecosystem resilience with respect to the current and expected impact of climate change; developing stakeholder involvement (participatory approach) through capacity building, demonstration and training activities, in order to stimulate a more sustainable use of land and water resources; and drawing up an adaptive model for future catchment management. Expected results: Restoration of stream hydromorphology leading to an additional 275 000 m2 of physically functioning bottom substrate; Elimination of migratory barriers, giving migratory species access to 59 km of stream habitat – resulting in more viable fish and invertebrate communities; Restoration of fish spawning areas leading to 8 800 m2 of physically functioning spawning bottoms substrate increasing the fish population size; Elimination of macrophytes contributing to the lake habitats’ restoration; Reintroduction of Margaritifera margaritifera in order restore a typical and better balanced community of species; Dissemination and capacity-building activities, leading to raised awareness among land owners and other local stakeholders, and thus more sustainable use of land and water; Project seminars and publications, providing an arena for the exchange of experiences among scientists and managers of adaptive catchment areas.

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