Discussion

On April 20th 2018 our Bioeconomy team from Novia UAS had an important meeting with several specialists in different areas concerning the environment and the farm. The meeting took place in Västankvarn´s management offices and had the purpose of presenting our project, analyze its viability and get feedback on how our project could be improved. Besides our team, among the people that attended the meeting was Fredrich Von Limburg, specialist in wetland construction who has built 9 wetlands in his farm located near Salo area (Finland), Tomas Lander representing the Swedish Forest Society Foundation (Skogssälskapet) which offices in Finland are located in Västankvarn and Torsten Lindqvist, former manager of Västankvarn with vast experience in the management of the farm.

After the presentation of our project, all people attending the meeting showed quite enthusiastic about the construction of both wetlands. Tomas Lander (representing Skogssälskapet) showed great interest in supporting the project since wetlands also provide a beneficial service for the forestry industry by mitigating its impact in the environment. Some ideas concerning the further potential of the project were discussed like for example that the construction of Wetland2, could be the first of a chain of interconnected wetlands that could form a nutrient capturing structure shaped like a string of pearls. Concerning Wetland1 we were asked to develop an extended version of it and simulate a flooded area in the field where the wetland would be located, until the flooded area would reach 4 hectares. This request was done due to the fact that the catchment area for Wetland1 was too vast for the surface area of Wetland1 (0.88 hectares) to be effective at capturing a good amount of runoff nutrients throughout the year.

We did the simulation and the results are shown in the image below where the light blue lines represent the contours of the wetland we first proposed (Wetland1) and the blue area surrounded by a yellow perimeter represents the simulation of flooding the area until a 4 hectare wetland is formed (extended version of Wetland1). Flooding this area would not be particularly difficult since it is already partially flooded in several locations and by doing so, we could create a wetland that is effective not only in capturing nutrients, but because of its location it would be a first of its kind and would provide an ecosystem that would attract all sorts of birds and wildlife.

Conclusions

Västankvarn Wetland Project is a great opportunity to develop and implement an Ecosystem Service that when planned properly, has proven to benefit all stakeholders. Involved in this project there are multidisciplinary experts from Novia UAS, Västankvarn and experienced locals that would definitely be up to the task of implementing it in the best way possible. As mentioned previously, this project not only represents a win/win situation for the environment and the farm, but also represents an opportunity to establish an invaluable onsite research and learning platform for students and researchers that are concerned with environmental sciences, agriculture and their relationship to this type of water bodies. In other words, our project could offer Västankvarn the possibility of diversifying their field trail research and include wetlands as an ecosystem service with all the different subjects related to them. For this purpose, the farm’s location is optimal for this purpose since it is situated close to Helsinki and it has great connectivity through roads and nearby train stations which makes the logistics of planning visits to the farm quite easy. In the future, wetlands might become an essential part of agriculture. With further research on them and their capacity to capture
and store runoff nutrients, we could obtain the necessary knowledge to increase their efficiency and improve the overall status of the Finnish environment. If I remember correctly from a visit to Västankvarn when I was a student at Novia UAS, providing the conditions for students to learn about agricultural sciences was one of the primary aims of Västankvarn founders. Our project is definitely well aligned with this goal.

References

Biebighauser, Thomas R.:  Build Your Own Wetland, Kentucky Woodlands Magazine, https://www.aswm.org/pdf_lib/build_your_own_wetland_biebighauser.pdf (accessed on 16/04/2018)

Melbourne Water: Constructed Wetlands Design Manual, https://www.melbournewater.com.au/planning-and-building/developer-guides-and-resources/standards-and-specifications/constructed-0 (accessed on 16/04/2018)

NC State University A&T State University Cooperative extension: College of Agriculture & Life Sciences: Stormwater Wetland Design Update, 2007, Zones, Vegetation, Soil, and Outlet Guidance https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/stormwater-wetland-design-update-zones-vegetation-soil-and-outlet-guidance (accessed on 16/04/2018)

NC State University A&T State University Cooperative extension: Urban Waterways: Stormwater Wetland Construction Guidance, 2010, https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/stormwater-wetland-construction-guidance (accessed on 16/04/2018)

United States Environmental Protection Agency: A Handbook of Constructed Wetlands, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/constructed-wetlands-handbook.pdf