Vitality from the Kainuu Lakes to the Gulf of Bothnia - Oulujoki watershed vision 2035 (ARVOVESI)


River Oulujoki is one of the largest rivers in Northern Finland and is intensively used in hydroelectric power production. The Oulujoki watershed reaches from the eastern Finnish border to the coast of Bothnian bay. Reports and assessments concerning the watershed have been spatially and thematically rather limited, and plans regarding the watershed have not been sufficiently tied to regional and municipal development programs. For now, there is no shared vision of the development of the area which would include opposing needs and expectations of land use.

Aims and work packages

The project aims to combine the priorities of water management, hydroelectric power, fishery, land use and economy, and to produce a joint development model for the entire region. The outcomes of the project include a co-developed Watershed Vision, which builds on multidisciplinary information and a negotiation process. Sustainable use of natural resources, development of low-carbon economy and tourism are considered throughout the process. The Watershed Vision will contain an operating model, which will serve as a guideline for reaching the targets collectively set in the Watershed Vision. The project aims to ensure that the desired practices will be carried on in the future as well.

The actions of the project are divided into five work packages (WP). All partners participate to all five WPs.

In WP1, the current state of the water quality and the use of water reserves will be reviewed. The biodiversity of the area will be analyzed using a state-of-the-art index of ecological uniqueness, which will provide a means to assess the significance of the locations in terms of nature conservation, restorations needs and recreation. Issues related to water security will also be addressed in WP1. In charge of WP1: SYKE.

WP2 focuses on analyzing the changes in hydroelectric power production and its consequences on the price of electricity, emissions, flow and the production of wind power. Water regulation and its effects will be assessed for the period 2010–2019, as well as the effects of the changes on hydro power as a flexible energy production technology. The short term and yearly regulation and their pros and cons will also be analyzed. In charge of WP2: Oulu Business School.

WP3 defines the objectives for the recovery and management of migratory fish stocks and the required actions to support the objectives. Information on the current status of the management of migratory fish stocks in the Oulujoki River basin will be compiled. In addition, a synthesis of the current status of the total fish stocks and its exploitation will be made. Alternative scenarios on the developing the fish stock utilization based on harmonized biological and economic production will be created. In charge of WP3: Luke.

In WP4, to merge the different needs and expectations of the area, the Oulujoki Watershed Vision will be formed. The Vision is formed by an Advisory Board made up of stakeholders. Vision work will be guided by an expert in interactive negotiation processes. Advisory Board will guide the research executed in WPs and utilize the results in the vision work. The results of a survey targeted to residents of the watershed are also available for vision work. After the analyses and vision phase, a permanent operating model will be created, and measures and targeted projects will be agreed upon. In charge of WP4: SYKE.

Project communication (WP5) will take into account the different target groups, residents and age groups and aims to participate younger people by co-operating with schools. A visual story map with popularized information about water will be created to the project’s web page. In the end of the project, actions to engage policy makers to the operative model of the vision work will be prepared. In charge of WP5: SYKE and Oulu Business School.


More information

Person in charge at SYKE, development manager Seppo Hellsten, tel. +358 29 525 1165,

Project manager at SYKE, researcher Annika Vilmi, tel. +358 29 525 1818,

Person in charge of the watershed vision process in WP4, group leader Mika Marttunen, tel. +358 295 251 411,

Leader of the project, professor Maria Kopsakangas-Savolainen, University of Oulu, tel. +358 29 525 1297, maria.kopsakangas (at)

Project manager, doctoral student Hannu Huuki, University of Oulu, hannu.huuki (at)



Published 2020-09-10 at 12:54, updated 2021-02-02 at 15:12