On 13th May, 2021, the EAAFP welcomed the Taehwa River in Ulsan Metropolitan City of Republic of Korea as EAAFP 150th Flyway Network Site (FNS) and as 17th FNS in RO Korea. A ceremony was held to celebrate the successful designation of the important site to migratory birds after years of efforts to restore the riverine and coastal natural habitats.
The new FNS situated in Ulsan City, consists of Ulsan Bay, Ulsan North Coast, Oehwang River, Hoeya Lake and Seonam Lake. The city was designated as a Special Industrial District in 1962 and since then it was rapidly industrialized and urbanized. The riverine ecosystem had been seriously degraded due to severe water pollution, and reduced downstream water discharge. Since the 2000s, the Ulsan City Government implemented a series of engineering actions to improve water quality, river cleaning and secure water flow. More importantly, the government worked to restore the riverine ecosystem including removal of concrete revetment and restore natural habitats, installing eco-friendly structures such as fish ladders.
Ecological monitoring proved the success of the restoration effort, for wildlife like migratory birds, mammals and fish (salmon) return to the river. Since 2018, over 20,000 migratory waterbirds have visited the site annually. The site supports a significant number (over 1% of the global population) of Common Pochard (VU), Harlequin Duck, Smew, Great Cormorant, Mew Gull. A few globally threatened species were recorded: Oriental Stork (EN), Chinese Egret (VU), Common Pochard (VU), Saunders’s Gull (VU) at the site. Taehwa River caters a large egretry of egrets and herons during the breeding season. In addition to the ecological value, Taehwa River now also provides recreational services for the citizens.
Chief Executive, Mr. Doug Watkins, and staff members of the EAAFP Secretariat visited Ulsan Metropolitan City on 13th May, and attended the ceremony for announcing Taehwa River as the new FNS on behalf of the EAAFP The certificate of Flyway Network Site was handed over to Mr. Chul-ho Song, Mayor of Ulsan Metropolitan City.
Ulsan migratory waterbird video (Department of Environmental Ecology) – Korean
For more information of the site and Flyway Network Sites in Republic of Korea, visit [here].