Jerome Keating pass this around:


From: Mark Wilkie
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2006 8:10 PM
Subject: The Saemangeum Reclamation Project

Hi Jerry,

A request for help in saving some of Taiwan’s Avian treasures.Below is a letter I sent to Chris at Wild at Heart.In a nutshell,Saemangeum in South Korea is the most important summering area for a number of migratory waterbirds on the East Asian Flyway.It seems that this vitally important wetland is about to be reclaimed for “rice farming”, factories and a golf course.The final ruling of the Supreme Court of Korea is expected on the 16th and we need to make some noise before that.

Many of the Saemangeum waterbirds winter in Taiwan.These birds, many of them endangered, will be placed under tremendous pressure as their summer breeding ground is destroyed.

A request for you and Monika (and others) to sign the letter below and e-mail them to Birds Korea.



Hi Chris,

I’m responding to your March meeting post from Jerry Keating’s list.I’m involved in birding and conservation work.I received an appeal for help from Birds Korea yesterday .I was asked to forward this appeal to groups in Taiwan as it does directly affect some of Taiwan’s wintering waterbirds.

I’m sure you are aware of the Saemangeum project in South Korea.The final ruling on the Saemangeum Reclamation Project is due on March 16th.Birds Korea and a number of other organisations are calling for a final effort in opposing the reclamation of the Saemangeum Wetlands.Obviously of great concern, is Taiwan’s wintering population of Black-faced Spoonbill and Saunders?s Gull, which will be put under tremendous pressure as their summer breeding ground is destroyed.

Birds Korea has requested concerned parties to send letters of protest to the Supreme Court of Korea against the continuation of the Saemangeum Reclamation Project.If you are willing, please would you voice your disapproval of the Saemangeum Reclamation Project by sending a letter.These are our birds too.

Below I have included a standard letter for you to view and use or you can compose your own letter.Letters can be e-mailed to Birds Korea at .
(Feel free to forward this e-mail to any other organisations or persons who may be interested.)


Mark Wilkie
Yunlin Wild Bird Society.
Moderator, Birdforum.nett,
Birdlife S.A.,
OBC Photographer,
ABC Photographer.

Saemangeum project

Dear Honorable Lee Yong-Hun,
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Korea

I am writing most respectfully to urge the cancellation of the Saemangeum project. If the seawall is completed, and the Saemangeum estuarine system converted to freshwater and ?land?, South Korea will lose the single most important known site for migratory shorebirds both nationally and in the Yellow Sea. Loss of this estuarine system will cause significant damage both to the national interest, and to South Korea?s international image. It will undermine national conservation laws and government initiatives, cause declines in certain species of migratory waterbirds, and cause enormous damage to fisheries along the West Coast and throughout a significant part of the Yellow Sea. While we understand that the Korean government has already spent a lot of money on this project, the long-term environmental and economic costs that will result from completing the project are beyond measure.

Though the stated goal of creating land for rice farming is already disputed given free trade and farming trends in South Korea and other developed countries, the environmental destruction that the project will cause is, in the opinion of numerous national and international experts (based on significant research and historical precedents), both definite and widespread. The loss of 40 100 ha of brackish sea and tidal-flats will cause enormous damage to water quality and fisheries, which in turn will be felt most acutely by local fishers and by the hundreds of thousands of birds that are supported by the natural estuarine system. The Saemangeum reclamation will destroy essential and optimal habitat for globally threatened migratory species such as the Endangered Spotted Greenshank (with a world population of less than 1000 individuals), Spoon-billed Sandpiper (probably less than 2 000 individuals globally), Black-faced Spoonbill (with a world population of around 1681 individuals) and Saunders?s Gull. Thus, the Saemangeum Project will not only harm the environment and biodiversity of South Korea, but that of a much wider region, negatively impacting on a chain of countries from New Zealand and Australia in the south to Russia and the US to the north and east. These countries, recognizing the many values of wetlands, are not only working to protect their wetlands, they are restoring them. These efforts, however, will not help numerous species of migratory waterbirds if the Saemangeum project is completed. Indeed, while the Saemangeum tidal flats are part of South Korea?s national territory, migratory waterbirds belong to many nations, and most importantly, to future generations.

South Korea has taken many steps in recent years to try to reverse environmental destruction caused by very rapid industrialization. By becoming a signatory to the Convention of Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention, and especially by hosting the next Ramsar Conference (in 2008), the South Korean government has shown a strong desire to be recognized internationally for its efforts to conserve wetlands and biodiversity, as an essential part of sustainable development and national natural resource management. The South Korean government should thus meet its national and international obligations to maintain populations of waterbirds and internationally important wetlands, as called for by the Articles of the Ramsar Convention. Canceling the project will allow greater acceptance of wetland conservation under national laws, and will enable the 2008 Ramsar Conference to be a celebration of Korea?s environmental heritage and the South Korean government?s enlightened environmental leadership