Good environmental work is part of Finavia’s corporate responsibility. The Sum of Good Things article series highlights details of Finavia’s responsibility work. This article focuses on the protection of local waters.
With the help of systematic water handling and rehabilitation of streams carried out by various actors, the endangered Finnish sea trout population has returned to Kylmäoja, a stream that runs next to Helsinki Airport.
“A specialist has inspected the brook and identified locations that are ideal for sea trout to spawn in. Trout require sheltered places and rocky ground in which to spawn and protect their young, which hatch in the spring. We will add gravel and stones of the right size to build new spawning grounds in these places,” says Tuija Hänninen, Environmental Specialist at Finavia.
The rehabilitation work also takes into account other organisms living in the stream and on the riverbed.
“The work will take a couple of weeks in total. Everything needs to be ready in September at the latest, well before the trout spawning season in October,” says Hänninen.
Finavia employees participate in maintenance work
This summer’s maintenance project in Kylmäoja will be carried out by Finavia. Local officials have approved the maintenance plan, and a specialist has checked if there are any endangered plants growing in the chosen locations. Finavia has also met with landowners and acquired the necessary permits for the work.
Two years ago, Finavia employees got to do maintenance work at Kylmäoja with City of Vantaa’s stream keepers. “Taking care of the stream is a fun alternative to office work for our people,” says Hänninen.
In recent years, Finavia has invested in water management, which has significantly improved the water quality around Helsinki Airport, especially in Kylmäoja.
“We have worked hard to minimise the emissions from the airport to local waters by controlling the amount of urban runoff. This year, we have finished our new biofiltration area, and later this year we will build an underground water treatment solution to control stormwaters. The biofiltration area is presumably the largest in Finland, and the underground water treatment solution is the first of its kind in Nordic airports,” says Hänninen.
Regular monitoring at Kylmäoja
Finavia has observed the effects of airport operations in Kylmäoja since the 1980s. Since 2017, Finavia has had its own observation posts in the west stream of Kylmäoja for monitoring the presence of trout and other fish. The sediments in the riverbed have also been inspected. According to the results, the sediment quality does not pose a threat for the vitality of the stream.
The authorities, as well as local fishermen, have been happy with recent developments. The coming years will show the long-term effects of the rehabilitation work.
“In addition to our water management, weather conditions affect the water flow and temperature of the streams in Vantaa, thereby also affecting the living conditions for fish. At Finavia, we are eager to continue our persistent work to support our local trout,” Hänninen concludes.