Living coast

BalticSea2020 started the project Living coast in 2011. It is a large scale demonstration project carried out in a bay in Stockholm’s archipelago where different measures are tested and evaluated in order for the eutrophic bay to recover. The project is led by Doc Linda Kumbland and Doc Emil Rydin from BalticSea2020.

Background and Objectives
Living coast is carried out in the Björnö Bay in the municipality of Värmdö, an archipelago bay that can be compared  to a "Baltic Sea in miniature". The bay is heavily eutrophicated, has a low water exchange and a highLitenkarta Bjrnfjrden 2  20130426 jpg prevalence of anoxic bottoms. Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) entering the Björnö bay from the catchment area come in part naturally from the forest and the open areas, but mainly from human activities going on in the area in the form of leaching from agricultural activities, run-off from poor sewage treatment solutions, horse management and leaching from the "sins of the past". The sins of the past refers to phosphorus discharges from previous years, stored in the sediments and leaching back into the water when the bottoms becomes anoxic. Read more about eutrophication here.

Purpose and goal
The goal of the project is to show that it is possible to recover a good environment in eutrophic bays. A good environment, or a “good ecological status”, is characterised by clear water, abundant flora and fauna, a natural fishing community and oxygenated bottoms with benthic animal life.

Measures to improve water quality
Both in the Bjönö bay and the area around the bay, the project has implemented measures to reduce nutrients entering the water to counter-act the effects of eutrophication:

To stop the benthic phosphorus release from the sins of the past, the anoxic bottoms in the Björnö bay were aluminium-treated during the summers of 2012 and 2013. Aluminium robustly binds phosphorus and prevents it from leaching back into the water again.  After treatment, the bay has regained the same water quality as it had in the 1950s. Read more about aluminum-treatment here.

Photo: Joakim Odelberg.

A major source of nitrogen and phosphorus release into the sea comes from agricultural activities. Four agricultural measures have been implemented to reduce the impact from the farms. These are structure liming, two-stage ditches, sedimentation ponds with lime-scale filters and tile drainage with a lime admixture. Read more about structure liming, sedimentation ponds with lime-scale filters here.

Poor sewage treatment solutions in the area has been improved and a latrine station has been built for property owners who want to retain their dry toilet. Nutrient leaching from the areas horse farms has been reduced with measures. Read more about measures for sewage treatment solutions here.

To strengthen pike stocks in the Björnö bay and in the archipelago area beyond, the project has constructed a pike wetland adjacent to the bay. A pike fishing ban has been introduced by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management in the bay between 1 April to 15 June. During this period the pike spawns and should not be disturbed.

The project has also implanted bladder wrack to regain the natural vegetation in the Björnö bay. Read more about the restoration of vegetation clad bottoms here.

Spread knowledge
The experience will be summarized in a book that describes how eutrophied archipelago areas can be restored and what it costs. The book will be available in different languages and disseminate the project results and the lessons learnt from it to countries around the Baltic Sea.




Project status

Start: 2011-03-01
End: 2019-12-31



Emil Rydin & Linda Kumblad


2018-10-11 - Article in "Svenska Dagbladet"
The bay returned from the dead - how the Baltic Sea can be saved
2018-03-01 - Article and interview
Living coast in Nya Åland and Åland's radio
2017-04-19 - Press release
The Living Coast project has contributed towards a healthier Björnö Bay (Environmental Science & Technology)
2016-10-13 - Update: Agriculture sampling
Agriculture sampling at Säby farm has begun
2016-06-29 - Monitoring
Scientific monitoring in the Björnö bay will continue next year
2016-06-17 - Article
Draining the pike wetland at the Björnö bay
2016-05-31 - Exhibition
The project "Living coast" is presented in an exhibition
2014-03-12 - Press release
The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management: Fishing ban introduced in Björnöfjärden, Säbyviken and Torpe-Infjärden
2013-12-12 - Christmas News letter #4
Living coast wishes a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (the news letter is in Swedish)
2013-09-06 - News letter #3
News from Living Coast (the news letter is in Swedish)
2013-07-05 - News letter #2
News from Living Coast (the news letter is in Swedish)
2013-04-19 - Feature
Living Coast want to show that it's possible (the feature is in Swedish)
2012-12-20 - Report (in Swedish)
Fixing of phosphorus for a better archipelago environment
2012-12-20 - Report (in Swedish)
The historical development of Björnöfjärden
2012-12-18 Christmas News letter #1
Living Coast wishes a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (the newsletter is in Swedish)
2012-08-22 - Report (in Swedish)
Leakage of phosphorus in the bottom sediment of Björnöfjärden 
2012-04-18 - Report (in Swedish)
Living coast - phosphorus load from land to Björnöfjärden
2012-02-06 - Report (in Swedish)
Vegetation inventory in Björnöfjärden
2012-02-06 - Report (in Swedish)
Vegetation inventory in Fjällviksviken
2012-02-06 - Report (in Swedish)
Vegetation inventory in Skarpösundet
2012-02-06 - Report (in Swedish)
Vegetation inventory in three bays - comparison
2012-02-06 - Report (in Swedish)
Exploration of fish in Skarpösundet, Fjällviksviken and Björnöfjärden
2012-02-01 - Report (in Swedish)
Benthic survey of Björnöfjärden, Fjällviksviken och Skarpösundet 
2011-01-14 - Press release
Two project managers recruited to BalticSea2020's Coastal zone project