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Estonia eyeing EU funds to make openings into road dam between Muhu, Saaremaa

BC, Tallinn, 17.02.2016.Print version
External finance is being mulled as an option to help finance works to make openings into the Vaike Strait road dam between the west Estonian islands of Saaremaa and Muhu, the regional newspaper Saarte Haal said, cites LETA/BNS.

At Monday's meeting of the dam work group options were examined to seek money from international funds, such as the funding arrangements to promote the development of the Baltic Sea area or the EU's LIFE program, Berit-Helena Lamp, spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, told Saarte Haal.


Merike Linnamagi, of the Ministry of Environment's department for environmental protection, said that in environment-related projects the Commission covers 60% of eligible costs in 2016–2017, meaning that at least 40% of necessary money has to be found by the parties carrying out the project.


Creating openings in the dam would fit together well with the areas of preference set out for the environment program.


Linnamagi added that the LIFE program generally is willing to support projects like this that have a concrete outcome. Calls for proposals of projects under the LIFE program take place once every year. The exact timelines of the calls of 2016 are not yet known.


Although an existing plan of the Environmental Board suggests that the works to design the openings of the dam would be performed in 2019, the municipalities bordering on the strait want the work to start immediately, Lamp added.


The ecological condition is said to be deteriorating in the area of the Vaike Strait in the West Estonian archipelago in recent years, being expressed in processes of eutrophication in particular. The strait has been closed by a three-kilometer road dam since 1896, and after reconstruction and consolidation of the dam at the beginning of the 1990s no water exchange between the Gulf of Riga and the Vainameri Sea occurs through the strait, researchers say.

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