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New grant to Wetlands International

Migratory birds, Yellow Sea coast. Photo by Jan van de Kam. Courtesy of Wetlands International.

Posted: 12 December 2018

Migratory waterbirds require a chain of healthy wetlands along their “flyway” – the migratory route they follow between areas where they breed and feed, and where they overwinter. Loss and degradation of wetlands represents the highest risk, which is amplified in parts of flyways where stopover wetlands are rare. As both people and nature depend on wetlands, these “bottlenecks” are a conservation priority.

This is our second grant to Wetlands International. Our first partnership supported conservation of key sites along the migratory flyway between the Russian Arctic and West Africa. The project restored wetlands in the Djoudj National Park, Senegal, and the Diawling National Park in Mauritania; supported the training of site managers on both ends of the flyway; and paved the way for the designation of an additional 500,000 ha of protected wetlands.

Our new grant of €1,500,000 to will focus on costal habitats in the Chinese Yellow Sea. The area is one of world’s greatest intertidal habitats, and is of critical importance for the survival of migratory waterbirds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway. The intertidal habitats and adjoining coastal areas along the Yellow Sea are under high pressure from coastal development, and many wetland habitats have already been lost. As a result, waterbird populations, especially waders, have experienced rapid declines in the flyway, which for some species threatens their survival.

With our support, Wetlands International will work with local authorities and communities to reduce threats to migratory waterbirds on the coast of the Yellow Sea in China. It will restore degraded habitats and improve controls on illegal practices, to ensure safer and higher quality feeding and roosting areas along this major flyway bottleneck.

Wetlands International’s press release (originally posted here):

A new grant from the Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, will enable Wetlands International to work with local governments and other stakeholders along the coast of the Yellow Sea in China. The intertidal and associated wetlands in this area are a critically important part of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway for migratory waterbirds, especially waders.

Now these wetlands, especially the mudflats in this region have been under a lot of pressure due to a variety of factors including pollution, industrial and urban development and fishing activities. Lack of awareness of the importance of these areas is also one of the underlying factors. However, attention to this issue is now increasing, and Arcadia recognising the importance of this is supporting Wetlands International to restore coastal wetlands; by strengthening the management capacity of local authorities and other stakeholders.

In the new, so called ‘Flyway Bottleneck Yellow Sea’ project, we will mobilise local authorities and stakeholders to safeguard migratory waterbird populations in the Chinese Yellow Sea region of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway. We will also implement solutions for practical habitat management and restoration at key sites; as well as promote the potential for replication at other sites, strengthen protected area management and support partnerships to leverage lasting outcomes for the region’s biodiversity.

This new grant from Arcadia , a long-standing supporter of Wetlands International, will enable us to make a transformational difference through saving threatened waterbird species and their habitats in the Yellow Sea, an area with enormous development pressure.

In its first project that was supported by Arcadia, Wetlands International worked on the importance of wetlands for migratory waterbirds in West Africa and in Northern Russia, connected by the African Eurasian Flyway. The ‘From Arctic to Africa’ project demonstrated the flyway approach as one of Wetlands International’s signature approaches. Focusing on areas in these flyways that are of disproportional importance and are at risk of being ‘Flyway Bottlenecks’ is also the basis of the new work in the Yellow Sea.