Restoring free-flow to the Stångån River

Ensuring a free-flowing River Stångån for future generations by acquiring the water usage rights associated with removing three dams.

Introduction

River Stångån is a 30 kilometre long tributary of River Ljungan in Västernorrland County, Sweden. Stångån is the only major tributary downstream of the first barrier in Ljungan (Viforsen power station). Ljungan, a large river stretching 399 kilometres with a catchment area of 12,851 square kilometres, is adversely impacted by hydropower, causing significant negative effects on migratory fish species like salmon, sea trout, and eels.

The watercourse, along with all eight lakes in the main channel of Stångån, fails to attain good ecological status due to a lack of connectivity and changes in the hydrological regime brought about by hydropower projects. The lower parts of Stångån have an average water flow of 2.6 cubic meters per second.

Of particular interest are migratory species such as sea trout, eel, and river lamprey, which depend on Stångån as the only major tributary to Ljungan for reproduction. Other important species associated with Stångån’s specific environments are white-throated dippers, otters, stationary trout, and freshwater pearl mussels.

At a glance

CountrySweden
RiverStångån, tributary to Ljungan
Km to be opened30
Focal speciestrout, eel and river lamprey
Removal dateSummer/autumn 2024
Project typeEnabling others to remove dams
Project statusLive

Project context and opportunity

The project is part of a holistic restoration approach for the catchment area. There are currently eight active dams on the watercourse. Five of these have already been decided to be removed. To reach the full potential of the watercourse, the three remaining dams (Skärsätt, Torrsjö and Torringen) must also be removed. The project will contribute to the removal of these three dams. Within the project, the Swedish Anglers Association will buy the water usage rights associated with the dams, thereby ensuring a free-flowing river in the future.

The ambition is to continue working with ecological restoration within the catchment after removing the dams. This will include restoration after timber floating as well as wetland restoration. We hope the project will provide a good example of a whole catchment approach for many years.

Project aims

The project aims to secure a free-flowing river for future generations by purchasing the water usage right connected to three different dams that will be removed in the River Stångån.

The effect of the removal should be considered on a whole catchment basis rather than on an individual dam removal basis. Free migration opportunities will be recreated in the catchment area, and the flow regime will become more natural. The biggest single ecological benefit is that a more natural flow regime will be recreated, benefitting the biological diversity in the 223 km2 catchment area.

Partners

Swedish Anglers Association