Fortum completes fish passage installation at Finland’s Montta complex

The Fortum Corp. has completed the installation of what it calls Finland’s first modern trap and transport facility at its Montta facility in Muhos.

Located on Finland’s Oulujoki River, Fortum selected the 47-MW Montta plant for the fish passage project in Fall 2014. Planning began the following spring in collaboration with the North Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, in addition to the townships of Muhos, Utajarvi and Vaala.

The system requires fish to swim into one of two pool openings located upstream of Montta. Fish are then transferred from the pools by transport tanker to breeding areas in the Utosjoki and Kutujoki rivers. From there, Fortum said, some fish may be released for recreational fishing, while others could be used for fish farming.

The company said it paid 80% of the project’s US$3.15 costs, with the remainder split between Muhos, Utajarvi, Vaala and Finland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

“Montta’s trap and transport facilities are an excellent example of the power company’s initiative to develop revitalization solutions for migrating fish in the Oulujoki River and elsewhere,” said Finland Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppa. “The company has voluntarily invested in the solution in collaborative partnership with other actors in the area.”

Fish passage outside North America
While fish passage has been a strong consideration for hydropower project developers and operators for decades within the United States and Canada, Fortum’s installation at Montta reflects a growing awareness for fish passage elsewhere in the world.

Another such effort to improve fish passage outside North America was detailed in the February issue of HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide magazine, which discusses a study being conducted at Brazil’s Tres Marias to track fish behavior in dam tailraces.

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