Take Action Now! Saemangeum, the once glorious estuary on the west coast of South Korea, is dying. Open the sea-gates now. Restore Saemangeum!
In April, 2006, dumper trucks poured their final loads of rubble and rock into the last remaining gap in a 33-km long dyke, and closed off 40,000 hectares of this vast estuary from the sea. With almost no tide, the shellfish beds - that had until that day supported the world's largest concentration of Great Knot - started to die. By April 2007, most of Saemangeum's tidal-flats had either been flooded, or turned into desert - huge expanses of drying mud, littered with dead shells, plastic, and even fishing boats - all part of a massive "reclamation" project, with still no clear end-use.
As South Korean lawmakers debate Saemangeum's future, we need to send them a clear message, 40,000 times, one email for every hectare of wetland being destroyed:
Let them know that:
- Saemangeum is still internationally important for shorebirds, still supporting species like the rapidly-declining Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
- South Korea is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, and will even host the next Ramsar Conference of the Parties in 2008. It is time for South Korea to honor the obligations of this Convention.
- We need urgently to open the sluice-gates in the Saemangeum seawall, to restore more of the tidal-flow, and bring life back to some of the estuary.
- The neighboring Geum Estuary is still threatened with "reclamation" (a euphemism for the damming and destruction of intertidal wetland). This site too is extremely important internationally, and needs to be protected by national law and designated a Ramsar site.
Join us: Act Now. Click here or on the "Take Action Now!" box and add your voice today.