Innovation and Cooperation Helps Save Endangered Fish in Finland

18. October 2019 | 1 min read

As part of the country wide K-Fishways initiative to conserve and increase endangered migrating fish populations, a volunteering event was organized by WWF Finland, K Group and a local water and air protection association in August 2019. The aim was to restore spawning grounds and to facilitate trout migration along the Ylösjoki river in Hollola, Finland. Pipelife contributed with the innovation of a migration-friendly road culvert.

Teaming up to save endangered migratory fish populations

In Finland's many streams, thousands of obstacles and man-made structures such as culverts or bridges are keeping migratory fish from swimming upstream to their spawning grounds. Fish populations have therefore dwindled over the past decades and migratory fish have become endangered species. This is slowly changing thanks to initiatives such as K-Fishways for which K-Group and WWF have partnered up in 2018. In 2019 alone, 201 gatherings have been organized at which hundreds of volunteers equipped with shovels and barrels restored spawning grounds and freed streams from barriers.

Innovation through cooperation

At Ylösjoki river in Hollola, old concrete culverts have been preventing trout from migrating and spawning for a long time. This was also to change with the K-Fishway initiative and an innovative solution provided by Pipelife Finland.

To replace the concrete culverts with a better solution, Pipelife Finland's Kerava Plant designed a fish-friendly culvert that imitates the natural flow of the river and is large enough in size. "We designed and manufactured the new road culvert in close cooperation with WWF's water expert Manu Vihtonen. The bottom of the culvert was modified in way that the waterflow inside the pipe resembles that of a natural stream." says Sales Engineer Heikki Vihtonen at Kerava plant in Talokaivo.

The custom-made road culvert is the first of its kind. It is 10 meters long and measures more than 2 meters in diameter. The corrugated polyethylene (PE) pipe is both durable and recyclable. Together with K Group company Onninen, Pipelife Finland donated the road culvert to this cause.

Environmental responsibility

"Companies play an increasingly important role in their 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!" concluded WWF Finland's Partnership Manager Juuso Lautiainen.

"We are happy to have been able to supply a custom-built, fish-friendly culvert for this K Fishways 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 organizations also going forward," said Jani Kakko, Product Line Director of Onninen, and Sales Engineer Heikki Vihtonen from Talokaivo Oy, representing Pipelife Finland.

"The protection of water bodies is one of Pipelife Finland's main focus areas in environmental responsibility. And fishing has been an important hobby for me and my family for years." says Vihtonen and continues: "When our CEO Kimmo Kedonpää told me about the culvert plans and the K Fishways event, I was immediately excited. It feels really good to be able to contribute to helping nature restore itself."

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