Three fish passes were opened today at Vaskjala hydropoint. The aim of building the fish passes was to improve the biological diversity and natural environment of the rivers in Lake Ülemiste catchment area and through that the conditions of the entire drainage system. The total cost of the project was over 350,000 euros and it was delivered in cooperation between AS Tallinna Vesi and the Environmental Investments Centre. The fish passes were built on Sae, Vaskjala and Kaunissaare dams. The project of Vaskjala and Sae fish passes was co-financed by the Cohesion Fund in the amount of 180,000 euros.
Those are the first structures of such type in AS Tallinna Vesi’s history. According to Sven Miller, who managed the project in AS Tallinna Vesi, the aim of building the fish passes was to improve the conditions for migrating fish as well as water quality in rivers of Lake Ülemiste catchment area and to increase the species composition and population of the fish therein. “We have already seen the fish using all three new passes for both up- and downstream migration. Thus, we can say today that the project has been a success,” said Miller.
Fish passes are structures on the dams of water reservoirs to facilitate the migration of fish along a water body. Above all the fish passes help to improve the living conditions of fish and they can freely migrate between reproduction and growth areas as well as the areas, where they spend winters. Fish passes play a key role in maintaining the vitality of fish population in those watercourses.
Lake Ülemiste is the main source of drinking water in the city of Tallinn. In order to secure additional raw water storage Tallinna Vesi has built an extensive water catchment system that consists of the hydropoints on rivers, water reservoirs and channels between those, covering the total area of ca 1 800 km2.
European Union Structural Fund has supported the construction of fish passes. 20 million euros will have been spent by the end of 2015 to support the construction of approximately 90 fish passes in Estonia. With the help of state investments fish passes have been built for example on the Piusa river at Korela, Tsüdsinä, Tillo, Saarõ, Tamme, Keldre, Jõksi, Makõ, Kelbä and Oro dams. Nehatu, Loo and Paritõkke dams have been built on the Pirita river, Leebiku and Tõrva dams on the Õhne river, Vihula dam on the Mustoja river, Laastre dam on the Kasari river, Kurgja and Türi-Särevere dams on the Pärnu river and Loobu dam on Loobu river and are now open for migrating fish.