Healthy local lakes – new water management tools for citizens

Press release 2013-09-30 at 15:45

Citizens have been reserved a major role in initiating, planning and implementing water management measures. Led by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the GisBloom project has led to the development of practices and tools which support participation and cooperation by citizens and authorities in water management. This three-year project ended in September 2013.

“Tools for assessing the condition of lakes and planning cost-efficient management measures, as well as the web services Vesinetti and Järviwiki, are just a few examples of the many tools developed under the GisBloom project,” comments Olli Malve, Project Manager and Senior Research Scientist at SYKE.

“During the project, these tools were tested in pilot areas across Finland. We hope that they will be used as widely as possible in the management and restoration of water bodies and catchments,” Malve continues.

Järviwiki (Lakewiki) – a meeting place for lake enthusiasts

You can begin managing your local lake through the Järviwiki (Lakewiki) web service. This is an open, community-based web service concerned with Finnish lakes. You can engage in activities such as editing descriptions of lakes, maintaining observation spots and contributing to the discussion forum.

“The aim is that Järviwiki will develop into a virtual meeting place where local residents, summer cottagers and other lake users monitor the condition of the lake and discuss any restoration measures required. Järviwiki is also a forum for agreeing on and notifying of meetings and voluntary work activities,” explains Matti Lindholm, a Web Journalist at SYKE, who developed and maintains the Järviwiki web service.

The cost-efficiency of measures depends on each catchment’s characteristics

If a water body is in poor condition, prior to taking action it is important to identify the most effective restoration measures that provide the greatest benefit, based on the funds available. In many cases, the most cost-efficient measure is dependent on the nature of the catchment.

“For example, if many sloping fields are located in the catchment, the most cost-efficient measures usually consist of establishing buffer zones in the fields, or increasing plant coverage in winter. However, if the catchment has gently sloping fields, reducing fertilisation or constructing wetlands could be more cost-efficient,” states Turo Hjerppe, Coordinator at SYKE.

Correspondingly, if considerable areas of the catchment are used for forestry or peat production, the focus should be on measures that affect the loading caused by these sectors.

Vesinetti for water management professionals

The Vesinetti web service was developed for professionals engaged in monitoring and modelling of the condition of water bodies. It is a versatile map service, which can be used to share monitoring data, forecasts, assessment results and management plans relating to individual bodies of water.

“Using the tools and data available on Vesinetti, experts can establish the current loading and status of a water body and assess the loading reduction required to achieve a good status. This helps to identify the most cost-efficient combination of management measures required. It is also possible to compare the costs of measures with the benefits, in terms of recreational use, of improved water quality,” points out Niina Kotamäki, Researcher at SYKE.

Some parts of Vesinetti can be browsed by logging in as a guest, but most functions require access rights which can be obtained through application to the Finnish Environment Institute. Oy Arbonaut Ltd was responsible for the practical implementation of Vesinetti.

Extensive cooperation and ten pilot areas

GisBloom was an extensive cooperation project, in which more than 70 researchers and experts from SYKE and other organisations participated. Local actors, such as water protection associations, were involved from the beginning. Other cooperation partners were Oy Arbonaut Ltd, Päijät-Hämeen Vesijärvisäätiö Foundation, the Association for Water and Environment of Western Uusimaa (LUVY), Tvärminne Zoological Station/University of Helsinki and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for South Ostrobothnia.

The tools developed in the project were tested in the following pilot areas: the Lapuanjoki, Lake Hiidenvesi, the Pohjanpitäjänlahti bay and the sea area off Tvärminne, Pien-Saimaa lake area, Lake Vanajavesi, Lake Pyhäjärvi in Säkylä, Lake Vesijärvi in Lahti, the Vantaanjoki and the sea area off Helsinki, the Karvianjoki river basin, the Paimionjoki river basin and the Temmesjoki.

GisBloom received funding from the EU LIFE+ programme (Life09 ENV/FI/000569).

Healthy local lakes - the video

GisBloom -project

Järviwiki (Lakewiki) & Vesinetti

For additional information, please contact:

Senior Research Scientist Olli Malve, SYKE
Tel. +358 400 148 826

Research Engineer Pia Rotko, SYKE
Tel. +358 400 148 708

Information Officer Katri Haatainen, SYKE
Tel. +358 400 148 550


Web Journalist Matti Lindholm, SYKE
Tel. +358 400 148 555


Researcher Niina Kotamäki, SYKE
Tel. +358 400 148 573

Sales Director Jorma Haikonen, Oy Arbonaut Ltd
Tel. +358 400 770648

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