Pärnumaa – Estonia

From a harrowing river dam to a smooth migratory fish passageway and a modern tourism and leisure center - Sindi Rapids

The construction of the Sindi rapids was one of the main parts of the giant project “Restoration of habitats of the Pärnu river basin”, the main goal of which was to open the entire length of the Pärnu river for fish migration by demolishing the dam of the old hydroelectric power plant. Along with thedemolition of the Sindi dam and the construction of access roads and an artificial rapid, good conditions were created for the development of a public space and a year-round water sports and water tourism center with a recreation area that meets international standards. The municipality saw the implementation of such a large-scale environmental project as an opportunity to transform the riverbanks into recreation areas. The project lasted from 27.03.2015 to 31.12.2022. The demolition of the dam took place in 2018, and already in the year following the demolition, in 2019, according to the scientists’ estimation and the fishermen’s experiences, migratory fishes were seen in sections of the river where they could not reach before. At 2019 on the international seminar of Dam Removal Europe “Let it flow! Estonia” the project of Sindi dam removal was declared to be the largest dam demolition in Europe.

Keywords: biodiversity conservation , water sports , community involvement , water management, dam

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