So far, 47 model wetlands have been chosen for the Life+ Return of Rural Wetlands project (January 2013). At 31 of these sites, the excavation work has already been completed or is in progress, and the total area of completed wetlands amounts approximately to 190 hectares. The plans for 43 sites have been finished, and the planning of the rest of them continues.
Demonstrative wetlands will be selected from the wetland sites announced to Game Management Districts. Many of the potential sites were found in the wetland survey in 2009 (see the report in Finnish). Good site for the project is a wetland site that can be restored mainly by damming and is naturally relatively fertile and has a surface area of more than one hectare in order to provide good habitat for waterfowl.
In the beginning of selection phase the potential sites for the project will be checked with the regional ELY-center in order to check that there is no endangered species or technical issues that could prevent the restoration or re-creation actions. When potential sites that are selected the discussion with landowners and local associations will be started about the project actions.
Planning will be started in those wetland sites that all the owners of the area have written down an agreement that the wetland can be restored/re-created. The action plan for the sites will depend on the size and technical complexity of the site. Restoring a 30 hectare drained lake will need more detailed action plan than re-creation of couple hectare wetland to a drained floodplain.
The action plan for the site will be done in close co-operation with local stakeholders to achieve best results. The main goal in the planning process is to write an action plan for the creation of demonstrative biodiversity increasing wetland that will provide quality habitat for waterfowl.