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Progress

Land reclamation on behalf of the Land improvement fund of Norður-Hérað has been ongoing for 17 years at Jökuldalsheiði heath, with overall good results. Vegetation has increased and a soil crust started to build. In areas suffering soil erosion, land reclamation procedures have managed to slow down the erosion process. Land reclamation at bars of Jökla river commenced in 2007. The vegetation reacts well to fertilizer and seeds. However, the water torrent of Jökla river has destroyed parts of the land reclamation area plus ice floes in wintertime seems to uproot the vegetation in some areas. It is too early to conclude about land reclamation progress in areas under the responsibility of the Land improvement fund of Fljótsdalshreppur, but results from inspected areas are promising.

Since 2009 fertilizer has been spread on barren areas east of Hálslón reservoir in order to establish vegetation able to withstand and bind possible aeolian deposition from the reservoir bed. The results have been very good most years and the land reclamation area covers now about 780 ha. In 2012 land reclamation operations were started with fertilizer and seeds in Hraun area, a disrupted former construction site. The area is sparse, high above sea level and hard to vegetate. In 2017, reclamation began with fertilizer and sawing in damage, former construction sites in Tunga, between Glúmsstaðadalur and Þuríðardalur (valleys). In total the reclamation area by Hálslón resevoir, Hraun area and Tunga is now about 900 ha.

Figure 1. Land reclamation by Hálslón reservoir and Hraun area
Figure 1. Land reclamation by Hálslón reservoir and Hraun area 
 

Labels:

Aðgerðarsvæði 2009 - 2018: Operations in 2009 - 2018
Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður: Vatnajökull National Park
Ár og vötn: Rivers and lakes
Vegir: Roads
Hæðarlínur: Contour lines

Summary of land reclamation operations can be seen in the tables below and more information under the "Further reading" tab (only in Icelandic).

Table 1. Land reclamation by Hálslón reservoir
Year Area (ha) Fertilizer (tons) Hayseed (kg)
2009 255 - -
2010 350 63,3 -
2011 418 70,2 -
2012 361 64,8 530
2013 337 58,1 280
2014 290 49,2 480
2015 331 51,6 -
2016 394 59,4 -
2017 355 48,6 -
2018 314 57 -
2019 466 68,7 -

Table 2. Land reclamation in Hraunasvæði area
Year Area (ha) Fertilizer (tons) Hayseed (kg)
2012 33 7,2 0,65
2013 43 10,1 540
2014 77 18 1.260
2015 51 12,6 630
2016 69 15,6 700
2017 76 17,4 320
2018 70 15,0 160
2019 0 0 0

Table 3. Land reclamation in haugur area, Tunga. 
Year Area (ha) Fertilizer (tons) Hayseed (kg)
2017 30 7,8 440
2018 30 7,2 560
2019 18 5,7 180

Table 4. Land reclamation operations by Land improvement fund of Norður-Hérað
Year Area (ha) Fertilizer (tons) Hayseed (kg)
2003 - 45,5 400
2004 766 132,9 160
2005 1.017 176,2 325
2006 1.600 284 -
2007 1894 300 400
2008 1.370 200,4 2.800
2009 1.552 225 1.180
2010 1.307 201 1.240
2011 638 116,9 900
2012 606 101,4 600
2013 682 102 600
2014 634 104,4 -
2015 853 140 -
2016 1.063 175 -
2017 1.193 200 -
2018 1.273 217,8 260
2019 1.242 165,6 -

Table 5. Land reclamation operations by Land improvement fund of Fljótsdalshreppur
Year Area (ha) Fertilizer (tons) Hayseed (kg)
2007 35 - -
2008 126,4 24,9 130
2009 330 105 400
2010 337 - -
2011 264 57 297
2012 400 94,5 44,5
2013 200 42,1 20
2014 347 52,4 95
2015 237 34,8 15
2016 310 55,2 -
2017 332 43,2 45
2018 384 60 -
2019 482 62 -

Land improvement fund of Norður-Hérað

Land improvement fund of Norður-Hérað was established by Norður-Hérað (municipality at the time). It was financed by contribution from Landsvirkjun with main objective to revegetate land at least equivalent to the vegetated land submerged to make Hálslón reservoir. The fund shall also initiate land reclamation at the bars of Jökulsá á Dal river since decreased water volume increases risk of erosion on river bars. The Icelandic act on land reclamation Act. 17/1965 states among other in chapter 3, article 17 that: he, who causes land damage by construction or otherwise, is obliged to compensate for it. By the advent of Kárahnjúkavirkjun power plant, about 32 km2 of vegetated land was submerged to make Hálslón reservoir. Land reclamation has been ongoing since 2003 mostly by applying artificial fertilizer on sparsely vegetated and unvegetated land affected by the power plant, thereby stimulating natural vegetation. The advisory board of the fund organizes land reclamation procedures, planning and assessments but contractors have worked on spreading fertilizer and seed as applicable. Annual reports of Land improvement fund of Norður-Hérað from 2003 - 2019 can be found under the "Further reading" tab (only in Icelandic).

Land improvement fund of Fljótsdalshreppur

Land improvement fund of Fljótsdalshreppur was established by Fljótsdalshreppur municipality and funded by Landsvirkjun with the main objective of contributing to revegetation and land improvement to compensate for impairment of vegetation due to construction and operation of Kárahnjúkavirkjun power plant. Annual reports of Land improvement fund of Fljótsdalshreppur from 2007 - 2019 can be found under the "Further reading" tab (only in Icelandic).

Updated: February 28, 2020
Source: Landsvirkjun (2020)

Metrics, Targets and Monitoring Protocol

What is measured?

Area (ha) of reclaimed land at Fljótsdalshérað and Fljótsdalshreppur (Project effect: direct).

Monitoring Protocol

The Soil Conservation of Iceland will measure, monitor the areas and enter information into their database every five years.

Targets
  • Fljótsdalshérað: Reclaim 32 km2 of land
  • Fljotsdalshreppur: Target needs to be developed in cooperation with municipality
Possible countermeasures

Land improvement funds of Norður-Hérað and Fljótsdalshreppur initiate revegetation by Jökla river and in Fljótsdalur valley.

Changes of indicator

Originally the metrics were "Area(ha) of reclaimed land at Norður-Hérað and Fljótsdalur, recorded every five years". In 2004, Fellahreppur, Norður-Hérað and Austur-Hérað municipalities merged to form Fljótsdalshérað municipality. Resultantly the metric was changed to "Area (ha) of reclaimed land at Fljótsdalshérað and Fljótsdalshreppur recorded every five years".


This indicator was originally number 26.3. It was then named Vegetation change caused by land reclamation and can be found under that number in documents of the project from 2005 and 2006.

The indicator number has been changed twice.

Table 6. Changes to name and number of indicator
Year Nr. Indicator name
2020 2.6.4 Land restoration
2007 2.30 Land restoration

Baseline

Revegetation will be attempted in areas that are currently characterized by gravel plain with small vegetated spots in an otherwise barren land. Sides of the mountains also have little vegetation, and the little vegetation that is there is decreasing because of erosion. The primary areas where revegetation will take place are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Land reclamation areas in Jökuldalur valley.
Figure 2. Land reclamation areas in Jökuldalur valley.

Rationale for Indicator Selection

The Kárahnjúkar power project will inevitably impair vegetated land due to the vegetated land submerged to make Hálslón and Kelduárlón reservoirs. An agreement has been reached between Landsvirkjun and local authorities of Norður-Hérað (now Fljótsdalshérað municipality) and Fljótsdalshreppur municipality that Landsvirkjun will finance the revegetation and land improvement projects but the municipalities will be in charge of implementation.

A special committee with representatives from the municipality, the Soil Conservation Service, and Landsvirkjun will choose revegetation areas and monitor the work. The objectives of those mitigation measures are the following:

  1. Decrease soil erosion and strengthen vegetation in the impact area of the Kárahnjúkavirkjun project.
  2. Reconstruct ecosystems in eroded land.
  3. Create grazing areas for birds, reindeer, and sheep to make up for the areas that will be lost because of the power project.

The municipality Fljótsdalshreppur is solely responsible for implementation and sends a report to Landsvirkjun about allocation of funds.

From phase I/II report on indicators and baseline from April 2005

Further reading

Ársskýrsla 2020

Ársskýrsla 2020

2021

Ársskýrsla stjórnar 2020

Annual reports of the board of Land improvement fund of Fljótsdalshreppur

See all reports (Icelandic only)

Annual reports of the board of Land improvement fund of Norður-Hérað

See all reports (Icelandic only)