The River Mörrumsån Natura 2000 area extends from the mouth of the river, at the Bay of Pukavik in the Baltic Sea, to the northern parts of Blekinge County. The River Mörrumsån has been of great importance to people for a long time, and the oldest anthropological findings derive from the Stone Age. Salmon fishing in the river can be traced back to the year of 1231. The state controlled the salmon fishing in the river for a long time, but after an estate reform 1670-73, the fishing was restricted to a small stretch close to the village of Mörrum.
Along the river course, the adjacent land consists of a small-scale mosaic of overgrown fields and forests. Long parts of the river are lined with stretches of narrow riparian forests dominated by Alnus sp. (alder), Fraxinus excelsior (ash) and Betula pendula (birch), with small areas of meadows dominated by re-growing willow. Along the river banks, abundant stocks of the rare species of Osmunda regalis (royal fern) are growing. The River Mörrumsån is today one of Sweden’s most species-rich rivers, both in terms of fish and other aquatic fauna. More than half of the Swedish freshwater fish species are found in the river. Furthermore, the River Mörrumsån is one of the largest producers of wild salmon in the Baltic Sea area.
The River Mörrumsån has a valuable and diversified invertebrate fauna with species sensitive to acidification as well as clean water demanding species. There are several endangered mayfly and stonefly species. Thus, the river can serve as a refuge and source of future dispersion of many vulnerable species. Two of the most threatened species of freshwater mussels in Sweden, the Margaritifera margaritifera and Unio crassus are found in the River Mörrumsån. All seven native unionid mussel species have been found in River Mörrumsån.
The bird fauna is also species rich, with stable populations of Cinclus cinclus (river dipper) and Motacilla cinerea (gray wagtails), and a smaller population of the red-listed Alcedo atthis (kingfisher). Among mammals, there are a number of bat species along the river, for example the red-listed threatened Myotis mystacinus (whiskered bat). In recent years, traces of Lutra lutra (otters) have been observed along the river, and there have also been indications of Lynx lynx in the area.
The UC4LIFE-related restoration actions in River Mörrumsån, focusing on habitat improvements, will not only favour Unio crassus and other unoid mussels, but also several species of fish, invertebrates and birds along the river. The information centre “The Salmon House” in the city Mörrum, will be used to effectively disseminate information about project experiences and results to visitors.