Drawing up a restoration plan
A plan is drawn up for the restoration project. There are plans of various levels, which depend on the anticipated impacts and the nature of the measures. The essential principle is that all measures designed to benefit the water body are planned and implemented in cooperation with riparian owners and shareholders’ associations.
Hopes for the restoration of a water body or a part of it are usually voiced when changes have taken place that undermine the utility value of the water body. Local environmental or health authorities; the regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment; or the regional water protection association may already have water quality data for the water body concerned. If no such data exist, it is recommended that the status of the water body be monitored for about a year before initiation of restoration measures. Waterside residents can monitor changes in water quality by measuring the depth of visibility, for instance.
A water protection or management association or a shareholders’ association should prepare or have drawn up a restoration plan, irrespective of the scale of the project. The plan is prepared on the basis of goals, as well as from information obtained on, and surveys conducted of, the water body. The plan should cover the grounds for the project, the methods to be used, quantitative targets, the parties involved, monitoring methods and the budget.
A small water area can be restored through voluntary work. The restoration of larger sites usually involves several parties. The local party can be represented by a management/protection association established for the water body, a fisheries region, a local water protection association or the municipality. State authorities can be represented by the regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. The last three entities mentioned, in particular, can be contacted for advice on determining the alternatives, drawing up a plan and making use of various sources of funding. It is also advisable to take advantage of the water-area-owners’ knowledge of the lake (e.g., information from members of a shareholders’ association).
Management of restored waters
Restoration is long-term work, and measures must be carried out over several years if they are to achieve permanent results. There is no quick and easy way to improve the state of a lake. It must also be remembered that even effective restoration measures do not lead to lasting changes if excessive nutrient and sediment loads entering a lake are not reduced. Harm caused by restoration measures can be avoided if attention is paid to the timing of the measures and the work is planned thoroughly.
In everyday language, the words ‘restoration’ and ‘management’ have been used in an almost identical sense. However, restoration usually refers to activities clearly aimed at changing the status of a water body. Management, in contrast, can be defined as an activity intended to maintain a good status. Management measures are needed to maintain the results of restoration. They can also be used to prevent the deterioration of the status to a level that would necessitate restoration. Water protection measures reducing the external load are an important means for preventing such deterioration.