Restoring the watershed landscape of Grunnafjörður in Western Iceland

Project Context and Aim

Iceland’s lowland wetlands harbour rich biodiversity, including globally significant sites for waders (including knot) and wildfowl (such as brent goose) alongside nine nationally Red-Listed birds. However, 90% of wetlands have been drained for agriculture, with many subsequently overgrazed or abandoned. Over 350,000 ha of damaged ecosystems are no longer used, yet generate 70% of national carbon emissions.

Involving the community, farmers and landowners, this project is developing a costed plan to restore 25,000 ha of the Hvalfjarðarsveit (Whale Fjord) watershed by reinstating natural hydrological processes across a landscape under fragmented management. It includes rewetting land, raising water quality, reducing carbon emissions and restoring valuable habitat.

Project Partners

Fuglavernd (Birdlife Iceland)
Votlendi (Wetland Fund)
Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI)
Agricultural University of Iceland
Cairngorms Connect
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Quick Facts

ELP funding

US$ 88,934

Duration of grant

September 2019 – October 2023

Project Gallery

Latest updates from Planning Projects

Endangered Landscapes Programme opens call for expressions of interest for Planning Grants

The Endangered Landscapes Programme has opened a call for expressions of interest for funding of up to US$100,000 for Landscape…

Farmers working together in Cumbria to face an uncertain future

Restoration at the landscape scale often involves a wide range of stakeholders – landowners, community members, local business, farmers, people…

Overcoming Barriers to Restoring the Białowieża Forest

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Białowieża forest is one of the largest areas of primary lowland temperate forest in…