Return Salmon

The Baltic wild salmon and sea trout, listed as Vulnerable under HELCOM, need healthy river systems for migration and spawning during their life-cycle. BSR river ecosystems have been dammed for water supply, mills or power generation. The conservation issues on dammed rivers are well documented, with inadequate tangible progress to remove or bypass these dams for salmonid migration in eastern BSR countries.

The project aims to address the problem of excessive regulation of small Baltic rivers and therefore hindrances to migratory species, by applying best available practices for mitigation of migratory barriers in the pilot case and prioritising other rivers and dams for further action.

Project Goal:

  • The goal of the project is to launch restoration of Baltic salmonid population in small Baltic Sea rivers, by generating and sharing knowledge on best cases and practices on migration barriers’ mitigation, including by construction of the irst ever constructed in Belarus fauna-passage/fishway around Stracha River dam at Olkhovka village in Grodno Region of Belarus pilot fauna-passage fishway on Stracha river (Belarus).


  • Launching salmonid population restoration programme on Stracha river (Belarus): construct efficient fishway/fauna-passage for up- and downstream migration
  • Launching a salmonid migration barriers‘ mitigation programme in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia with the purpose to remove barriers/dams or establish fishways in small rivers in the near future. This will include
    • Generating knowledge and examples of best practices and methods for migration barriers’ mitigation, globally and regionally;
    • Initiating a knowledge exchange/learning for future actions within BSR  CCB’s ambition is to gather and improve knowledge as well as to provide sound argumentation on effectiveness of site-specific migration barriers mitigation measures, by demonstrating drawbacks and benefits of both solutions and highlighting associated net risks and gains. Presentation and spreading the gained knowledge to relevant authorities, decision-makers and media to get support for future actions; and
    • Production and presentation of a list of Priorities on migration barriers’ mitigation, including proposals for specific actions in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia; To be used for discussions with relevant national authorities and stakeholders for actions on mitigation measures, incl. what potential financing to be used.


  • Developing and constructing a fishway/fauna passage over the Olkhova Dam on the Stracha River in Belarus
  • Facilitate knowledge exchange on the removal of barriers for river migration across the Baltic through study tours and workshops
  • Publish a handbook on mitigating barriers to migration for use across the Baltic Sea Region
  • Through further evaluations with partner organizations, the project will develop strategies for implementing dam bypass or removal in other river systems in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia.

Long-Term Effects:

  • Improved migration and access to spawning habitat for salmonids in BSR rivers
  • Improved collaboration and knowledge exchange across the BSR


Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB)


Friends of Neman

Belarus Academy of Sciences

Project region 

Olkhovka, Westen Belarus

Project duration 

2019-04-01 – 2022-03-31


total project budget: €242,350.00

funding BaltCF: €191,485.00