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Opposition to Icelandic Hydro Scheme

Opposition to Icelandic Hydro Scheme

Above: The River Svarta.

Plans to build a hydro power station on Iceland’s River Svarta have been met with severe opposition by fishermen.

The Svarta is 16km long and a tributary of the larger River Skjalfandafljot in Bardardalur. It flows through what is described as “a unique landscape” in Northern Iceland and is known amongst anglers as being a “true brown trout paradise”.

The river is also a large tourist attraction for the area, drawing anglers from the US, Europe and beyond.

The area is described as "a true brown trout paradise".

Morten Harrangen, who opposes the proposal and creator of the “Save Iceland’s River Svarta” Facebook page told FF&FT: “According to our Icelandic sources, the environmental consequences of the project has not been discussed at all. It does not take a rocket scientist, however, to conclude that a hydro power station will damage a vulnerable ecosystem like the Svarta - and possibly the area in general.”

In addition to the possible impact of the hydro scheme on fish life, Dr Árni Einarsson, director of the Myvatn Research Station, says that the impact could be much more widespread: “The River Svartá is a spring-fed and exceptionally rich river in the northern volcanic zone of Iceland. The river is one of the breeding places of the rare and very local Barrow’s Goldeneye duck and has notable populations of Harlequin Duck and Brown Trout. It is a small version of the famous River Laxá at Lake Mývatn. Plans to divert the river for power extraction seem inappropriate in every respect.”

Local duck populations would also be greatly impacted.

For more information about the proposal, including details of how to express opposition to it, visit the “Save Iceland’s River Svarta” Facebook page, HERE.

Photos courtesry of Morten Harangen.

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