09.09.21 - During the construction of the Limmern pumped storage plant (canton of Glarus), Axpo was responsible for one of Switzerland’s largest building sites, between Tierfehd and Muttenalp. But today there is barely a trace of it to be seen. It’s all thanks to a specialist recultivation project conducted over a number of years, which has now been recognised by the Swiss Association for Engineering Biology.
The Swiss Association for Engineering Biology awarded its ‘Greener Prize 2021’ to the recultivation project around the Limmern pumped storage plant ‘for the outstanding work before the actual greening and the flawless execution of the work, for the positive cooperation with the authorities and environmental associations, and for raising awareness among the construction companies’.
Around 600 people and countless pieces of heavy machinery were deployed in the construction of the Limmern pumped storage plant between 2009 and 2016, along with two construction cableways. It was already apparent in the planning stage that the construction site and the cableways would place a strain on the environmentally valuable terrain. The builders coordinated the technical possibilities and the definitive recultivation concept with the environmental working group assigned to the project and with the authorities. The stated objective was to ensure that any interventions in the landscape and habitats would be invisible in the medium term.
Even during the construction phase, specialists commissioned by Axpo were carrying out greening experiments. They collected and propagated seed and plant material in the construction site area at various altitudes. To assess the various greening methods, the resulting plants were planted in a test garden in the Muttsee area. A total of 2,000 seedlings were planted and observed in 25 trial areas.
For the final recultivation, additional local seed material was collected and propagated to ensure that enough seeds and plants would be available when the demolition work began. And now large parts of the construction area have already returned to nature. Where there was once a construction site and construction cableway, most of the original vegetation has returned.
You can find detailed information about the project in Ingenieurbiologie magazine.