Case study:Vindel River LIFE

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Location: 65° 6' 57", 18° 16' 57"
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Project overview

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Status In progress
Project web site
Themes Fisheries, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Water quality
Country Sweden
Main contact forename Johanna
Main contact surname Gardeström
Main contact user ID User:Arolam
Contact organisation Umeå University
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Ume/ Vindel river Fishery Advisory Board
Parent multi-site project

Case_study:Vindel River LIFE

This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Olsbacken after restoration (photo by Daniel Jonsson)

Project summary

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Vindel River LIFE is collaborative project between Umeå University, Vindel River Fishery Advisory Board, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Tributaries that were affected by fragmentation and channelization during the timber-floating era will be restored with the objective to widen the floodplain, increase the variation in the stream habitats, and to improve the condition for species in the Vindel river system. The Vindel river provides a unique habitat for a variety of aquatic species and many of them are listed as protected species. Otter, great diving beetle, bullhead, Atlantic Salmon, Salmon Trutta and freshwater pearl mussel are all present in the stream. The length of the restored area is 4500 meters. During the restoration banks have been modified, closed channels re-opened, spawning grounds constructed and building fishways have been taken away to improve the habitats for migratory fish.

Ten demonstration sites were restored in 2010. By monitoring these restored sites and their references, the effects of restoration will be evaluated: hydrological measurements were done before restoration and after restoration in 2011; fish abundance was monitored before restoration and the after measurements will be done in summer 2013 and 2014; the riparian vegetation will be monitored after restoration in summer 2013 and 2014.

Remediation of Migratory Barriers in streams (ReMiBar) -project is related to the Vindel River LIFE project. (

Monitoring surveys and results

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Lessons learnt

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Image gallery

nVindel River Lifen Lidsbacken_before restoration
Vindel River Lifen Lidsbacken_after restoration

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district
River basin Vindel River Basin


River name River Vindelälven
Area category more than 10000 km²
Area (km2) 12650 km²
1,265,000 ha
Maximum altitude category
Maximum altitude (m)
Dominant geology Organic (i.e. Peat)
Ecoregion Fenno-Scandian Shield
Dominant land cover Woodland
Waterbody ID


WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology Straight, High width:depth
Reference morphology Braided, Sinuous
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation EU - Special Area of Conservation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present Yes
Invasive species present No
Species of interest otter (Lutra lutra), highland great diving beetle (Dytiscus lapponicus), bullhead (Cottus gobio), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), Brown trout (Salmo trutta), Freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate Gravel, Sand, Cobble
River corridor land use Woodland
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m) 4500
4,500 m
4.5 km
450,000 cm
Project started 2010/01/01
Works started 2011/01/01
Works completed 2014/01/01
Project completed
Total cost category more than 10000 k€
Total cost (k€) 2 675 513
2,675,513 k€
2,675,513,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources European Commission, Federal Nature Protection Agency, County Administrative Board, Municipalities, Universities, Ume/Vindel River Fishery Advisory Board

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design Umeå University Johanna Gardeström
Stakeholder engagement and communication Umeå University Johanna Gardeström
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Riparian development
Hydromorphology Width & depth variation, Flow velocities, Substrate conditions
Biology Fish: Disturbance-sensitive species, Invertebrates: Disturbance-sensitive species, Fish: Abundance, Continuity of sediment transport
Physico-chemical Invertebrates: Diversity
Other reasons for the project Landscape enhancement, Bank erosion, Flood risk management


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Re-introducing stones, Re-introducing gravel, Dam removal, Creation of fish passes, Introducing large woody debris
Floodplain / River corridor Increases the interaction between land and water and the heterogeneity of the substrate; vegetation and shore structure, Vegetation management
Planform / Channel pattern Re-instatement of old course
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement)


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Flow velocities Yes Yes No Yes No Awaiting results
Width & depth variation Yes Yes No Yes No Awaiting results

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Fish: Disturbance-sensitive species Yes Yes No Yes No Awaiting results
Fish: Abundance Yes No No Yes No Awaiting results
Invertebrates: Disturbance-sensitive species No No No No No Awaiting results

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description

Supplementary Information

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