Reduction of nutrients in Västervik

Local Action Plan Process

CHALLENGE DESCRIPTION Västervik Municipality has a long coast and an extensive archipelago. It provides many opportunities for development, but also includes responsibility for the Baltic environment. Västervik archipelago, covered by about 5000 islands, offers a variety of outdoor activities and a rich fish selection. Most of the bays are deep with a shallow mouth. The exchange of water between the inner deeper part and the open sea is low. This makes benthic ecosystems particularly vulnerable. The poor water circulation leads to nutrient-rich water and bad oxygen conditions at the bottom. As Västervik is characterized by its proximity to the Baltic Sea, the eutrophication problem is palpable. Since the anthropogenic nutrient load to the coastal waters is dominated by agriculture the municipality of Västervik is focusing on reducing emissions from agriculture. A prerequisite for success is that measures can be done with economically sustainable methods in corporation with the farmers.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SOLUTION The aim is to improve the water quality and at the same time increase the agricultural production. Measures should be in the right place and the right way. In cooperation with local stakeholders the Municipality developed a Local Action Plan to decrease the nutrient load to the Baltic Sea. Three strategic objectives were set:

  1. Reducing eutrophication in collaboration with stakeholders
  2. Improve the coastal waters and reduce eutrophication through recycling of nutrients.
  3. The Citizens knowledge about the Baltic Sea and water ecology will increase by dissemination of information concerning water conservation issues.

As a part of the Action Plan, surveys of GIS layers and documents has been conducted. Geographical Information System about land use is important for understanding of waterflows and the effects on the environment. Examples; Status Classification (VISS), Modelling/GIS (PLC6), Erosion, Hight levels om farm land, Nutrient sources in small catchment areas, ditches-organisations, Measures to reduce eutrophication. Individual advisory services on farm/field. Priorities to reduce nutrient leaching from agricultural land to the sea:

  • Optimize the plant environment by efficient nutrients use (advice, adapted crops, increased root growth, adapted fertilization, and improved soil structure).
  • Keep the nutrients in the soil profile (reduces erosion, reduce soil compaction, improve soil structure, increase soil fertility).
  • Stop the load of nutrients before it reaches the sea (sedimentation ponds, wetlands).
  • Catch the nutrients from the sea (mussel, reed harvesting)
  • Recirculate the nutrients (digestate sludge to biogas and bio fertilizer, irrigation on surrounding fields, toilet water as fertilizer).
  • Consulting not only to farmers – At the same time advices to other groups as wastewater treatment, drinking water supply, forestry, stormwater treatment.

POSSIBILITY OF ADAPTING THE SOLUTION Västervik has been working for many years in a holistic way to reduce the nutrient load. Västervik
has successfully implemented several large projects and local measures together with farmers. Advisory service to landowners, local projects, high requirements in wastewater treatment and the agricultural sector has been the method. All in collaboration with stakeholders, farmers, landowners, and NGO:s. Some examples are construction of wetlands and multi-dams, liming to improve soil structure, two-stage ditches, irrigation, etc.
Success factors “Västervik method:

  • Act locally to create commitments between stakeholders in the area.
  • Increased knowledge provides greater understanding of the measures.
  • Make SWOT analysis on field/watercourses level with landowners.
  • Develop a Local Action Plan for the watercourse in dialogue with stakeholders.
  • Simplify as much as possible with clear objectives.
  • Set common objectives that generate “”win-win”” concept both reduced eutrophication and increased harvest.
  • Holistic work close to farmers, stakeholders, local and regional.
  • Be able to answer the question: What’s in it for me.

Authors of the solution description:Fredrik Meurman and Sandra Frosth, Ecoloop
Anders Fröberg and Gun Lindberg, Västervik Municipality
State of implementation of the solution:in progress, implemented

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