Kuwaiti birding site threatened

From Birdwatch:

Kuwaiti birding site threatened

[Sunday 16 August 2009]

One of the best birding sites in Kuwait is under imminent threat of destruction from the building of a new residential area. Local birders and conservationists are trying to raise awareness and everyone can help.

Jahra East Outfall is one of the best birding sites in Kuwait – the only coastal site that has a salt marsh and subkha surrounded by Tamarisk trees and the salt-tolerant Nitraria retusa. It is an important breeding site for many birds including the endangered Basra Reed Warbler and is a haven for autumn and spring migratory birds.

The government of Kuwait has signed a contract to fill the subkha with sand in order to prepare it for building a new residential area named ‘Jaber Al-Ahmad City’. Some photographs of the proposed residential area can be found at the following link: http//alsirhan.com/Blog

Local birders believe that a residential area in the close proximity of what should be a protected site will accelerate sea pollution and destroy the fragile shallow sea water which is a nursery for crustaceans and fish. The proposed restaurants and a recreational seafront could potentially wipe out the salt water marsh and reeds.

The Sulaibikhat Bay where Jahra East Outfall is situated receives a large passing, wintering and summering waders, gull and terns. Birds recorded between Sulaibikhat Bay, Jahra East Outfall and Doha, include; 2,000 Greater Flamingo, `several thousand’ Greater Sand Plover, 1,000 Lesser Sand Plover, 700 Curlew Sandpiper, 500 Broad-billed Sandpiper, 1,000 Terek Sandpiper, 1,000 Red-necked Phalarope, 542 Great Black-headed Gull, 20,000 Slender-billed Gull, 1,000 Caspian Gull, 1,200 Gull-billed Tern and 1,200 Greater Crested Tern as well as many thousands of commoner waders and gulls.

You can help to raise awareness about protecting Jahra East Outfall by writing a letter to the Minister of Housing urging him to consider the relocation the residential area, or at the very least include the protection of Jahra East Outfall by fencing it off so that it remains protected.

The full name of the Minister is:
Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,
Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of State for Development Affairs, and Minister of State for Housing Affairs

His email is: registration@housing.gov.kw

Please make the subject as: “Jaber Al-Ahmad City”

Copy the letter to the Director General of Environment Protection Authority, almudhhi@kuniv.edu.kw and to the Director General of Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, kisrdg@hotmail. com

Proposed letter:

For the attention of Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,
Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of State for Development Affairs, and Minister of State for Housing Affairs

Dear Sir,
Jahra East Outfall, located near the town of Jahra, is a site of international significance for birds. It is also surrounded by a very interesting area of sabkha, in which the shrub Nitraria retusa (Arabic: ghardug) is an important constituent. This species is mainly restricted in eastern Arabia to Kuwait and possibly the immediately adjacent parts of Saudi Arabia.

We have just learnt that this important low-lying coastal area is under imminent threat of destruction through the building of a new residential area, Jaber Al-Ahmad City.

Apart from the potential loss of an Important Bird Area (as designated by BirdLife International) , we would kindly request you to consider the wisdom of building a residential area on sabkha (salt-marsh) with its very high concentrations of chlorides and sulphates, given the well-documented problems of corrosion of concrete structures that are likely to manifest themselves. Against the background of gradually rising sea-levels, such problems of corrosion are likely to increase markedly on infrastructure located immediately near the coast.

We realize that the lack of housing is going to become a serious problem for Kuwait in the near future, given the rising population. However, we seriously urge you to relocate this development to a less sensitive area.

Best regards,

Include your name and full address

December 2010. The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has tagged another Greater Flamingo named “Yasmeena” as part of its ongoing work to track and monitor birds at the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. The total number of flamingos tagged by EAD is now, 15 of which 9 are still being tracked: here.

1 thought on “Kuwaiti birding site threatened

  1. Pingback: Mudskipper fish of Kuwait | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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