Härmälä wetland is the second demonstrative wetland site accomplished in the Life Return of Rural wetlands project.
Further details of the re-creation of shallow wetland habitat to the landscape of Southwest Finland can be read at the presentation and at the action plan.
Härmälä plan (in Finnish)
Photo: Marko Muuttola, 2015
Härmälä wetland site was built in to a former wet meadow that has been drained for forestry and agricultural purposes during the last century. The drainage was never really successful and the waterlogged area wasn’t good for growing crops and it was used for hay production or left fallow in the rainy years. The landowner contacted the project as he was willing to restore the unproductive area to provide more than 2 hectares of quality wetland habitat for wildlife. Picture: Timo Niemelä
The wetland was re-created by damming. The dam was built of solid clay excavated at the site. The 90 meter long dam was built wide enough to be maintained by using regular farming machinery, tractors etc. Picture: Timo Niemelä
The possibility to control water levels in the wetland is essential for the maintenance of the site. In Härmälä wetland an adjustor dwell was assembled in the dam. The adjustor dwell allows very accurate water level regulation and allows the total drainage of the site for the maintenance and vegetation control every 5-10 years. A disaster pipe was also set in the dam in case of unusual flooding. Picture: Timo Niemelä
The concrete action at the site was done in August 2011. The water level was kept about 40 cm below optimal level over the first winter in order to let the clay dam to settle without water pressure. Despite the water surface area was just 1/10th of the forthcoming habitat, the waterfowl found the site within few weeks, and the flock of 80 teal used the site for feeding before the migration. The landowner has already eradicated several raccoon dogs from the areas surrounding the wetland to provide safe breeding habitat for the wetland birds returning next spring. Picture: Mikko Koho
The demonstrative wetland sites are also used for educational purposes. The regional agricultural authorities of Southwest Finland in co-operation with an education project organized an event ‘support for environment projects of local associations from agricultural environmental subsidies’. The project coordinator was invited to have a presentation about wetlands at the event and the people from the many associations joining the event also visited the Härmälä wetland site in mid September 2011. The good example site will promote interest toward wetland habitat work in surrounding areas. Note the water level 40 cm below optimal level during the first 10 months. Picture: Mikko Alhainen
Picture: Mikko Alhainen
Picture: Mikko Koho