Inspiration meetings for Sweden’s action coordinators

Author: BalticSea2020
Year published: 2019

On 24-25 April the BalticSea2020 foundation invited the newly appointed action coordinators to its inspiration days at Björnöfjärden on Ingarö.

Last year, it was decided that 20 projects in Sweden would receive a total of almost SEK 37 million in grants to develop new forms of work in water management over three years, and to implement more measures against eutrophication in lakes and seas (read the press release from the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management here, only in Swedish). This is part of the Swedish government’s extended and multiannual investment in clean seas. The initiative has led to 20 pilot areas employing their own so-called action coordinators – people who will lead the work to implement measures to combat eutrophication in each area during the project period. In February of this year the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management arranged a start-up meeting to discuss ways to organise and carry out the restoration work based on the conditions and challenges present in each pilot area. The coordinators met for a second time on 24-25 April. This time BalticSea2020 invited them to two inspiration days out on Ingarö in the Stockholm archipelago. This is where Linda Kumblad and Emil Rydin spent 8 years carrying out the project Living coast – a large-scale restoration project of the heavily eutrophic bay Björnöfjärden.

Measures implemented during the Living coast project have involved agricultural land, horse farms and small sewage systems in the area, in combination with efforts to stop phosphorus leaching from anoxic bottoms in the bay, the introduction of pike wetlands, and the transplanting of bladderwrack. Today the bay has regained its good environmental status. Linda and Emil hope that their experiences from the project, involving both successful and less successful measures, will inspire others and enable lessons to be learned that contribute to the future work of the action coordinators. However, it was not just Linda and Emil who shared their experiences of restoration work. Several action coordinators provided information during the inspiration days about completed and ongoing restoration projects elsewhere. One lesson that everyone’s stories had in common is that restoration work takes time and requires knowledge, patience and clear goals! It not only takes time to see the results of the measures, but also to inform, to create dialogue and commitment, and to anchor the work locally. There is no clear template for the work of the action coordinators – it varies depending on the source of the nutrient load in the pilot area, the form the solutions take, the knowledge possessed by those involved, and the parties who need to be involved in the work, both directly and indirectly. There are simply no short cuts to carrying out good restoration work when the aim is reduced eutrophication. And that’s what makes this kind of meeting so valuable. By making contacts, exchanging experiences and formulating requests for support from the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and other organisations, the conditions are put in place to increase the number of successful restoration projects. One thing is certain, there is no lack of commitment or determination to improve the quality of our waters in this group!

We wish all the action coordinators the best of luck in their work to reduce eutrophication in our seas and lakes!

Bildserie action coordinatiors

For more information about Living coast, please visit the project’s website here.

If you are ever passing Björnöfjärden, feel free to drop in and visit the project’s nature exhibition. The exhibition is in Swedish and open all year round. Find out more at www.levandekust.se.

All the photographs used in this article have been taken by BalticSea2020.