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WWF Poland and UPM Raflatac cooperate for rivers in Poland

WWF Poland and UPM Raflatac have decided to continue cooperation to protect Polish rivers. Since January 2012, UPM Raflatac has been supporting WWF Poland’s valuable work on the Rivers for Life project that aims at protecting the river wildlife and improving safety of the people living in the valley.

One key element is UPM Raflatac Poland supporting knowledge exchange related to the fish ladders and passes. The existing hydrotechnical structures have a damaging impact on the river ecosystem, especially on migratory fish. That is why a trip to Finland will be organized for decision makers and people responsible for river management. The visit will focus on technical solutions and good practices for salmon river management.

Another activity, supported by UPM Raflatac, would be WWF Poland’s information brochure on good practices for the restoration of rivers, streams continuity and the proper maintenance of rivers with wild salmon populations. This will include at least one example of a technical solution fish pass and one example of wild salmon population management from Finland. WWF Poland plans to distribute it to about 400 entities, mainly institutions responsible for water management, design offices and contractors.

Other actions brought about by the joint initiative of UPM Raflatac and WWF Poland include monitoring of water investments - new and modernized hydrotechnical structures - on the Odra and its tributaries in terms of ensuring passability for water organisms. On the basis of this monitoring, recommendations and expert opinions will be made to support environmental impact assessments and decision making, including introducing necessary design modifications to ensure migration possibilities up and down the river.

UPM and WWF have a long history of co-operation. The two organisations work together in a number of national and international projects to promote the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources. The cooperation in Poland during 2012-2013 resulted in updating, distribution and promotion of the Atlas of the Odra River Floodplain. WWF Poland has also prepared expert opinions and consultations on the plans and technical designs for fish ladders on the barrage at Brzeg Dolny undergoing modernization and the barrage at Malczyce undergoing construction. Analysis of the design documentation developed for the planned modernization of the fish ladder at Brzeg Dolny commissioned by WWF Poland revealed the need for changing a series of the fish ladder parameters to obtain optimum parameters of its capacity for aquatic organisms. Environmental awareness events were also held for staff and customers at UPM Raflatac’s sites in Poland.

“We are very proud to participate again in The Rivers for Life project conducted by WWF Poland,” says Jani Konkarikoski, General Manager of UPM Raflatac Poland. “We decided to extend the cooperation on this project as continuation is very important to us. A series of the fish ladder parameters have been corrected and we are hoping, that now construction works on barrages will follow WWF guidelines. Still there is a lot of monitoring work on fish pass investments to be done in order to achieve this. As in previous years our partnership will also support exchange of environmental knowhow and will drive environmental awareness through the planned events for staff, customers and end-users of our products. UPM Raflatac sees clear benefits in this cooperation both for nature and people,” concludes Konkarikoski.