If the planned wetland area stretches over, or is right next to several landowners’ land, the interested parties’ attitudes to the wetland project must be explored. Is there any point in even dreaming about a wetland in the area?
What ideas do the other landowners have concerning the wetland? Wishes, aims, limitations? Do any of the landowners have information about factors that will affect the planning of the project, such as cabling, subsoil drainage or anything else?
Are any of the landowners absolutely against the idea of establishing a wetland? If anyone is against the wetland in principle, the whole project may fall through or at least be slowed down and become more difficult.
A businesslike approach and presenting the idea as early as possible often have a positive effect on the end result. When landowners are given a chance to think about a budding idea for a project in their own time, they are more likely to have or develop a favourable attitude than if they were presented with a ready plan and pressurised to accept it.
Owners of Water Areas
What about the opinions of the owners of water areas? Ponds, lakes and streambeds, which are larger than a main ditch, and the alluvial land at their shore zones are usually common land owned by several farms, and in such cases the opinion of the owner of the water area, i.e. the joint property management association, must be sought.
In the best case scenario, the joint property management association is organised, in which case they can apply the owner’s power of decision in their meeting in accordance with the Common Land Act. The situation is much more difficult if the joint property management association is unorganised, because hearing owners is then often difficult.
If some of the common areas are still undivided, there is no official information available on the part-owners of the area. In such cases, it’s best to contact the National Land Survey of Finland for information about the undivided land. Deliveries of surveys of title made to determine the register of part-owners are free for applicants.
Ditch drainage or Ditch Clearing Company
When a wetland is going to be built in a ditch for which the area’s landowners have founded a company to clear and maintain the ditch, the consent of the company that has been founded for field drying is required.
If the ditch drainage company is no longer active, consent is required from the ratified owners of the beneficiary farms of the last legally valid ditch drainage operation in order to complete the project. The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment keep a record of ditch drainage companies, among others.
A field survey of the area is often necessary for determining the actual contours of the terrain. The eye cannot accurately measure the slope of the land, and a digging or damming point that seems easy by visual estimation may turn out to be impossible or extremely expensive. It’s best to conduct the survey as early as possible.
At the early stages of project planning, surveying a few basic elevations is enough. It’s not worth calling an expensive consultant to do this; instead, you can perform the surveys together with an entrepreneur you know who has suitable equipment, or with the help of friends.
A light preliminary contouring will often give a good indication of the feasibility of establishing a wetland. If everything still looks good and everyone is behind the project, the next step is to ask the authorities about any factors that may restrict the building of a wetland.
The possible effects the building of wetlands may have on the drying situation of the land used in agriculture or forestry must be kept in mind at all times. If the area seems promising for the project, a more detailed planning survey and specification of freeboard will be conducted on large sites or sites that extend over the land of several owners.