Jiading Wetlands: Articles and Updates

TECHNICAL REPORTS

Technical Report 4.14:
Impact Assessment of Road 1‐4 and Proposed Development on Jiading Wetlands Strategic Plan for Jiading Economic Development  (June 4, 2014) (link to PDF)

This technical report presents the research that was conducted by the University of California, Berkeley and SAVE International to evaluate the importance of Jiading Wetland for the survival of the Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) and other wild birds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, to determine the impacts of Road 1-4 on these birds if it went through the wetland, and to assess the adequacy of the EIA for Road 1-4.

ARTICLES (English translations)

Road construction in Qieding Wetland attracts concern from international Black-faced Spoonbill group
March 9
(link to original article)

The fact that the government of Gaoxiong (Kaohsiung) plans to build a road in Qieding (Jiading) Wetland has attracted concern from Spoonbill Action Voluntary Echo (SAVE) International. Yesterday, the founder of SAVE, Randy Hester of the United States, came to visit Qieding Wetland and was surprised by the decision to build a road there. He called it “inconceivable!” Randy Hester is a landscape architect as well as a professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States. In 1997, in order to save the Black-faced Spoonbill from extinction, he started SAVE International and travelled to East Asian areas like Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong to take care of issues related to habitats for the spoonbill. Seventeen years ago, he went to Qigu (Chiku) in Tainan to discuss and explore ways to protect habitats for the spoonbill with local fishermen. Their efforts have allowed Qigu Wetland to survive until today and function beautifully. Yesterday afternoon, accompanied with ecological protection groups such as the Gaoxiong Wild Bird Association, Randy Hester went to visit Qieding Wetland and discuss how to protect this particular wetland with groups and university professors in Taiwan who are interested in protecting the Black-faced Spoonbill. Randy Hester pointed out that there is an international Ramsar Convention, a convention on wetland protection and restoration. According to the Ramsar Convention, the most important criteria to decide a “wetland of international importance” is the population of a bird species. He thinks that Qieding Wetland is a wetland of international importance, given the sufficient wild space for BFS to forage and roost, and the fact that more than 10% [sic, 8%] of the total population of the Black-faced Spoonbill [2,726] is found here. He said that it would be inconceivable to build a road across a wetland of international importance. Randy Hester suggested that the Gaoxiong government officially recognize Qieding Wetland as a habitat for the Black-faced Spoonbill or to make it an international wetland park, to become an attraction point for tourists from all parts of Taiwan as well as every corner of the world. Professor Wang, from the Department of Life Science at National Normal University, said that Qieding Wetland is an important wintering area for the Black-faced Spoonbill. Besides, it meets all the requirements for a wetland of international importance. At this moment, keeping the integrity of the wetland is most important. Building a road on the wetland would have a negative effect on the spoonbill habitat because of the heavy traffic. Yicong Weng, vice professor from Kunshan Technology University, said that some wetlands in Taiwan used to have a large population of Black-faced Spoonbill, but the numbers are decreasing these years because of inappropriate management. If there were more areas dedicated for protecting the spoonbill, it would be very beneficial to Taiwan’s reputation on protecting habitat.

Road construction in Qieding Wetland: international specialists say “inconceivable”
March 10, Liberty Times
(link to original article)

The Gaoxiong (Kaohsiung) government is planning to build a road across Qieding (Jiading) wetland, and this could diminish the wetland ecology. This has been protested by bird specialists both national and international. Yesterday, the Gaoxiong Wild Bird Association invited academics to give a press conference at Qieding Wetland, emphasizing that Qieding Wetland has been identified as a precious natural resource of international importance. International specialists criticized that it is inconceivable to build a road here and that the government is too shortsighted. Since the new road would cut Qieding Wetland into two pieces, it may bring a catastrophe to the wetland ecology. In order to emphasize the issues of ecological protection, Gaoxiong Wild Bird Association invited bird-ecology specialists and planners from national and international associations to Qieding Wetland yesterday and held a press conference in the birdwatching pavilion. They hope that the specialists can advise the committee reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), giving reference from a professional point of view. Randy Hester, a professor from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at the University of California, Berkeley (United States), mentioned the Ramsar Convention on wetlands. The ecological system of Qieding Wetland is very rich and definitely meets the criteria for protection. He asked his interpreter to emphasize for him that the plan to build a road here by the Gaoxiong government was inconceivable. He said he planned to bring his students here next week for further study and to submit a report to the Gaoxiong government as a reference. Hester indicated that there were examples of conservationists against developments in every corner of the world. These examples tell us that protection is better for long-term benefit. It would be a better idea for the government to use the money saved from the road construction to save the “failed Xingda Harbor”, or to use the money to make Qieding wetland an international tourist attraction. According to the Wild Bird Association, there were over 212 Black-faced Spoonbills flying to Qieding Wetland [in 2014]. This number accounts for 12% of the population in Taiwan [1,659] and 8% of the world population [2,726].

EIA in Qieding Wetland is criticized for not having a bird specialist on team
March 10
(link to original article)

Kunhai Lin, General Director of the Gaoxiong (Kaohsiung) Wild Bird Association, spoke today, saying that Qieding (Jiading) Wetland is an important habitat for the Black-faced Spoonbill. The local committee reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) doesn’t even include a bird specialist, which should call attention from the local government. This afternoon, the Wild Bird Association invited foreign bird-ecology specialists to Qieding Wetland, with the hope that these specialists could advise the local government on the EIA process. Kunhai Lin indicated the above when being interviewed. Kunhai Lin also said that Qieding Wetland is 170 hectares in area, 82 hectares of which have been planned as a wetland park by the Gaoxiong government. The rest of the wetland is still under planning. Without even a single bird specialist on the EIA team, Lin said, how could the EIA possibly present a fair case for the Black-faced Spoonbill? Lin said that around 4 years ago, the Wild Bird Association found only 100 Black-faced Spoonbills in Qieding Wetland. The population has increased a lot in the years since. The most recent observation counted 212 Black-faced Spoonbills there, which makes Qieding Wetland meet the standard of a “wetland of international importance” under the Ramsar Convention, an international convention on wetlands. Last year, the International Wetland Union came here and gave high praise on the ecology of Qieding Wetland. Lin pointed out that during recent years, the population of Black-faced Spoonbills wintering here had increased a lot. Habitats in Tainan City have almost reached their full capacity, so the spoonbills moved southwards to Qieding Wetland. Qieding Wetland has perfect natural conditions, such as appropriate topography, which makes it easy for citizens to watch birds close up. People can watch birds clearly even without a telescope. This is a very good opportunity to develop ecotourism. Lin also said that the development of Road 1-4 has raised a lot of discussion, which will likely affect the final decision in a way that is good for spoonbill habitat and ecotourism. Lin wishes that with the help from academics and specialists, we will be able to figure out the impact of Road 1-4 on spoonbill habitat in Qieding wetland. He also hopes that all the information and advice should be provided to local residents in Qieding and to the Gaoxiong government, to help them make a better plan for the overall development for Qieding Wetland.

LETTERS

August 13, 2013: Letter from SAVE International to Mayor Chen of Kaohsiung City. (link to PDF)
May 20, 2014: Letter from the Japan Black-faced Spoonbill Network to Mayor Chen of Kaohsiung City. (link to PDF)

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