Please join the petition to conserve the River Estuary in South Korea
Dear members of WWN, all our hardworking wetland conservationists and nature lovers,,
The Nakdong River Estuary is one of the most representative wetlands in South Korea. The estuary is so important that it was designated as a Natural Monument as early as in 1966, when the value of wetland conservation was not so well recognized by the general public. Now, the estuary is protected by five different laws, such as the Wetlands Conservation Act by the Korean government. It is also one of network sites of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.
The Nakdong River Estuary is an important habitat for many internationally endangered bird species. Spoon-billed Sandpipers, Nordmann's Greenshanks, Chinese Egrets, Black-faced Spoonbills, Saunders' Gulls, and Steller's Sea Eagles are found here regularly. Especially, about three to four thousand Whooper Swans (about 75% of the total wintering population found in country) spend winter here.
It used to be one of the most important breeding sites for Little Terns in East Asia, with an average of 3,000 to 4,000 birds visiting annually. However, due to the continued development and disturbance in the Nakdong River Estuary, the breeding population of Little Terns has completely disappeared since 2010.
Even in this situation, the Busan Municipal Government has been planning to build more than the existing 10 bridges across the Nakdong River Estuary. According to the plans, the Daejeo Bridge, the Eomgung Bridge and the Jangnak Bridge will penetrate the core area of wintering sites of Whooper Swans. The area is so important not only for the Whooper Swans, but also for the whole ecosystem of the estuary.
Knowing the urgency of this issue, we, the Korea Wetland NGO Network (KWNN), has made efforts to protect the Estuary by organizing the Korea Civil Society Network for Nakdong River Estuary Conservation (KCNN) with 65 nationwide NGOs. Due to the efforts of the conservation NGOs to protect the estuary, the Ministry of Environment (Nakdong River Basin Environmental Office) rejected the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Daejeo Bridge construction in June 2020. And the Environmental Office, the Busan Municipal Government and conservation NGOs have agreed to a joint survey on the planned sites, especially on wintering Whooper Swan population and other endangered bird species from December 2020 to March 2021.
After the joint survey, the survey team submitted results of the survey and an opinion letter to the Environmental Office which stated that (1) there have been increased disturbance for the birds during the winter, (2) the planned site for the Daejeo Bridge has proved to be an important site for wintering Whooper Swans, and (3) the construction of the bridge will impact the wintering of the birds. Based on this letter and survey data of the joint survey team, the Environmental Office will make the final decision, probably in June, to approve the construction of the planned bridge or not.
Despite the belief that the South Korean government and its Environmental Office will make a wise decision on the matter, we still encourage them to move forward to the right direction. Therefore, we are asking you to join the petition below to urge the South Korean government to make a right decision to conserve the important wetland.
Please help protect this valuable wetland and send us your endorsement to Mr. Ma, Yong-un of Korea Wetland NGO Network at firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of June 2021.
Any kind of your support would be much appreciated.
14th June 2021
Chairperson of Steering Committee, Korea Wetland NGO Network