EAAFP Incheon-Gyeonggi Task Force says: “joint monitoring is needed to manage tidal flats”

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Written by Youngmin Joo from NEWS1

The Incheon and Gyeonggi Task Force (IG TF) of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) said on 2015 Jan 7th that collaboration was essential in order to systematically monitor and manage Incheon coastal tidal flats through a conservation action plan for migratory waterbirds and habitats.

EAAFP pointed out that an integrated system was necessary: “Incheon-Gyeonggi coastal wetlands from Songdo, Yeongjong, southern Ganghwa in Incheon to Sorae, Siheung, Oido in Gyeonggi are connected and form one ecosystem. However, this extensive area will continue to deteriorate unless local governments allocate sufficient professional manpower and budget for adequate monitoring.”

EAAFP consists of 34 partners; 17 national governments, six inter-governmental organisations, 10 international non-governmental environmental organizations and one private enterprise. The purpose of the partnership is to conduct research and conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats in countries within the flyway.

According to EAAFP, 80% of Black-faced Spoonbill’s world population (Natural Monument) breeds near Incheon coastal tidal flats. Saunders’s Gull (endangered species level 2), Chinese Egret (endangered species level 1), and shorebirds also use these sites in Incheon during breeding or migration.

However, continuing reclamation and development have caused degradation of mudflats in the last decades. According to EAAFP, Songdo tidal flats, designated as Ramsar wetland, have been degraded to level 5 (poor).

Environmental degradation of Southern Ganghwa tidal flats is also of concern as the tidal power plant plan is being pushed again. Similarly, Yeongjong mudflats have been converted into a dumping site for dredging.

EAAFP strongly insists that municipal governments, such as those of Incheon Metropolitan City and Gyeonggi-do Province, should work together to conserve intertidal mudflats. EAAFP held the workshop ‘An Action Plan for Conserving Migratory Waterbirds and Their Habitats’ during which then officially delivered this message to relevant authorities.

One of EAAFP officials mentioned that concerned parties from IG TF, experts and NGOs have to form a multistakeholder group to ensure a complete cycle of policy making, evaluation and modification is accompanied by regular monitoring.

Original article: http://news1.kr/articles/?2034747 (in Korean)