Ryökkylä Cultural Landscapes Being Restored

Ryökkylä, a traditional rune singing village is a target of efforts of restoration of rural traditional biotopes.

Iivananaho site is 8,81 hectares of traditional Karelian village pastures, biotopes and boreal forests situated in the biodiverse village of Ryökkylä. The site is connected with Korvinsuo-Parilamminsuo (FI0700022) Nature 2000 site, totalling 661 hectares. Iivananaho is an example of a traditional cultural and natural area in Koitajoki and therefore of high value.
ivananaho is a significant example of traditional Karelian life in the lake Megrijärvi area. It consists of field and boreal forest ecosystems, sites of traditional architecture and cultural heritage.
The site is located at the heart of the village of Ryökkylä. On the site there are examples of traditional Koitajoki houses and rural life. In Summer 2024 the traditional pastures of Iivananaho were restored and the process of maintaining iconic traditional biotopes of the site proceeds.



Koitere Theatre Has Still Three Showings

Koitere Theatre (in Finnish) has three shows remaining, please see below

The play, based on the River Guardian and other materials, recounts the changes on Koitere since 1954 onwards.



Koitajoki Restoration With ELSP Receives Tremendous Boost, Expands the Work

Snowchange initiated the Koitajoki Restoration Project titled "Land of Epic Poetry" in 2022 with the Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Program. In April 2024 together with ELSP and other partners the project expands to 2027, and includes thousands of new hectares of restoration.

Land of Epic Poetry had completed approximately. 890 hectares of peatland restoration by December 2023. Following an invitation from the ELSP for further talks late in the year, in April 2024 a sweeping expansion to the Koitajoki restoration was agreed to. This will enable up to 2500 hectares of peatlands to be restored up to 2027, several rivers and water bodies to be subject of restoration and also expand the cultural and traditional activities in Koitajoki area.
The new sites include nationally important Valkeasuo at 456 hectares, enabling trout passages and habitat to the Suomujoki river inside the Patvinsuo National Park, Festival of Northern Fishing Traditions in September 2024 and Artist Residencies in Koitajoki over the next years. will be a central portal where all restoration and major sites can be accessed in English and Finnish and it will be rigorously updated now that the project sites are expanding.
Check back in September for summer re-cap and news from the Festival - see link for the Festival info.



River Guardian Program Kicks Off

The River Guardian Program of Koitajoki is a pioneering initiative that engages local people and their knowledge in the restoration and monitoring work across the Koitajoki basin.

In November 2022, Snowchange launched a call for an entirely new concept in the Koitajoki area - the River Guardian Program. River Guardians are local people who care for their local environment and wish to be involved in the rewilding work by monitoring the conditions and changes in nature in their own areas across the Koitajoki basin.

The program is first of its kind in Finland. There are, however, successful examples from across the world. The efforts of River Guardians have remarkable potential in producing more detailed, holistic and in-depth knowledge about the Koitajoki river and improving its state.

15 newly selected River Guardians held their first meeting on January 8th in the village of Kivilahti in Ilomantsi. The guardians will start their monitoring work this month across the Koitajoki basin. The pilot-phase of the programme will last until the end of 2023.



The Guardian Highlights Koitajoki Rewilding

The Guardian wrote about the Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP) of which the rewilding project of the Koitajoki basin is part.

"In Finland, a $1.5m award will fund attempts to save from extinction a unique, land-locked population of Atlantic salmon by revitalising the fish’s spawning grounds and improving river water quality by restoring 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of carbon-sequestering boreal peatlands.

There are just 30 to 50 mother salmon returning to spawn each year in the Koitajoki watershed. Two hydroelectric dams block the migration routes of the landlocked salmon, which are a population that naturally never journey into the sea but migrate to lakes within Finland. The fish survive only because conservationists physically move them over land to assist their migration.

“It’s a knife-edge moment,” said Tero Mustonen of the Koitajoki watershed project. “This $1.5m project will do massively important work to support the last remaining spawning habitat and juvenile fish habitat that exists and also improve water quality. It is addressing, finally, degradation across Koitajoki in scale. I have a vision of uniquely landlocked Atlantic salmon and precious whitefish swimming in restored rivers and streams. Above this, golden eagle and bar-tailed godwits fly as they once did, perhaps smiling to themselves, seeing their homes saved, restored – in short, alive again.”

Read the full article here:

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