RMK will restore more than 2400 hectares of bogs this year  14.12

RMK will complete restoration efforts in six bogs and one peat mining area this year.

Bogs must be restored as they are a habitat for many rare species of plants and animals as well as being notable carbon binding ecosystems and maintaining clean water.

“Restoration works have been finished in six bogs: Metsaküla, Unakvere, Übina, Visja, Ess-soo and Nigula, and works continue in Alutaguse National Park,” said Küllike Kuusik, Nature Protection Work Manager at RMK. “We hope to finish this month, if the weather allows it.”

As part of the restoration work, former, primarily soviet, drainage channels will be closed to raise the water level near the surface. If necessary, woodlands that have grown as a result of drainage will be cut down and peat moss will be planted to restore the natural bog flora.

The largest area of restoration this year is in Alutaguse National Park with a total of 1320 hectares. The Puhatu bog system there has been heavily affected by oil shale mining and drainage.

RMK will restore a total of 2369 hectares of bogs this year, being the largest nature conservation operator in Estonia.

Background information about bog restoration
“In Puhatu Bog in Alutaguse National Park, drainage channels will be dammed to divert water across the bog surface in a way that leaves the areas between sods wet and their tops drier. This improves the hydrological regime of the entire bog which in turn supports the preservation and recovery of the bog,” said Leevi Krumm, Nature Conservation Specialist at RMK.

The adjacent Visja and Übina spring marshes and swamps in Rapla and Harju Counties had to have old furrow berms removed. According to Krumm, bogs used to be forested by drawing furrows across the bogs and planting spruces on top of the berms. “The lower area between the furrows served as a ditch diverting water into drainage channels,” Krumm said. The berms have now been removed, channels dammed and the surface levelled.

The restoration of the former mining area in Ess-soo, Võru County involved the planting of 18 hectares of peat moss last autumn. The moss was sown onto a natural grassland area that was abandoned at the end of the 1990s, where the bog’s native plant life has not managed to regrow in two decades.

According to Priit Voolaid, Nature Conservation Specialist at RMK, it is too early to assess how successful the sowing was. “This summer was very dry and there were worries this would ruin our plans but fortunately enough peat moss survived to restore the native flora. The next few years will make it clearer whether it worked,” Voolaid admitted. The water level in different fields in Ess-soo has generally turned out as desired.

Bog restoration is the kind of job that takes time to show results. Around a hundred surveillance wells have been set up in restored bogs to measure the water level relative to the surface in order to assess the results of closing the drainage channels. If necessary, additional work will be done to adjust the water level.

Further information:
Küllike Kuusik
Head of Nature Conservation at RMK
+372 503 8556