Fukuoka City Mayor Mr. Hirotaro Yamasaki and Members of Fukuoka City Council

August 9, 2005

Fukuoka City, Japan has carried out many reclamation projects with the aim of developing the city's infrastructure such as port and harbor facilities. One of the most recent projects is Island City Project (construction of a 401.3-hectare man-made island in the eastern part of Hakata Bay), which commenced in 1994 and is still underway.

The reclamation work for the man-made island has had a significant impact on the contiguous environmentally sensitive areas. The hardest hit is an 80-hectare tidal flat called Wajiro, which is well-known in East Asia as a critical stopover and wintering site for tens of thousands of migratory waterbirds. Species supported by the wetland include the BLACK-FACED SPOONBILL, or Platalea minor (a globally endangered species, with a world population in 2005 of only 1,400 individuals) and COMMON SHELDUCK, or Tadorna tadorna - a very scarce species in Japan, being dependent on tidal flats. The population of shorebirds in the eastern part of the bay has almost halved since the project started.

As the reclamation work is done by throwing dredged sand into the dyke, there appeared a temporary wetland of approximately 70 hectares in size, and it has become an important resting and feeding place for many waterbirds at high tide. Ironically, more shorebirds are now observed in the temporary wetland on the man-made island than in the natural tidal flat of Wajiro, whose ecological service has been degraded due to the impact of the reclamation work. In addition, an unpaved dry surface on the man-made island has now become an important breeding site for LITTLE TERN, or Sterna albifrons and KENTISH PLOVER, or Charadrius alexandrinus: both declining wetland species requiring extensive and open undisturbed areas for nesting.

The city plans to construct an 8.3-hectare wild bird park on one edge of the man-made island facing Wajiro tidal flat to compensate for the loss of waterbird habitat. The proposed 8.3-hectare site would include buffer zone, parking lot and visitor facilities, leaving only half the site for an engineered pond.

The temporary wetland will eventually be filled as the reclamation work advances and there is much doubt as to whether the tiny engineered pond can offer enough ecological service to support the existing population of waterbirds.

For there to be a successful wild bird park, the plan must be revised to reflect the current state of the wetlands in and around the man-made island.

*If you would like to exercise your influence, please also send your opinion statement to:

Mr. Hirotaro Yamasaki
Fukuoka City Hall
1-8-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
810-8620 Japan

We, the undersigned request Fukuoka City Mayor Mr. Hirotaro Yamasaki and Members of Fukuoka City Council to do the following:

1. Allocate more area for the wild bird park. 8.3 hectares is not enough to support the existing population of waterbirds which are now spread across the 70-hectare temporary wetland. In order to compensate for the loss of habitat and meet the ecological requirements of the key species of wild waterbirds, at least 40 hectares is needed.

2. Secure temporary habitat for waterbirds during the construction period. Their temporary habitat must be secured on the man-made island until such time as the construction work of the wild bird park has been completed.

3. Protect the existing wetland.
It is absolutely a waste "Mottainai!" to completely fill the temporary wetland teemed with diverse organisms and dig a tiny pond afterwards. Wise use of the temporary wetland is considered more beneficial from both environmental and financial viewpoints.

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The A Bigger Wild Bird Park to Compensate for the Loss of Waterbird Habitat petition to Fukuoka City Mayor Mr. Hirotaro Yamasaki and Members of Fukuoka City Council was written by Satoru Matsumoto and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.

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japan japanese politics