• © Conservación Marina

    Securing shorebird sites at Maullín, Chile

In Brief

Location:

Maullín, Los Lagos Region, southern Chile

Goal:

Improve the population status of at-risk migratory shorebirds by increasing protection of important shorebird sites.

Conservation Value:

To date, three wetlands for this project were designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) sites, totaling 1,370 hectares.  Two of these sites are now designated as Municipal Reserves, and the third should be soon. These sites support more than 1 percent of the biogeographic population of the Hudsonian Godwit.  These reserves are also important to high numbers of Whimbrels, Sanderlings, Yellowlegs, and other migratory shorebird species.  Over 100 species of migratory and resident species of shorebirds and waterbirds have been recorded.

Threats:

Maullín has several significant coastal wetlands that are not yet formally protected. The municipality was open to designating three coastal wetlands as bird reserves, but lacked capacity to do the needed groundwork and management plan. Enter ICFC partner Conservación Marina, who saw an opportunity to develop bird-oriented tourism and protect the sites for thousands of coastal birds.  Threats include unregulated recreational activities, uncontrolled sheep and cattle, and roaming or feral dogs.  Other potentical threats include coastal development projects, such as the siting of wind turbines.

Actions & Results:

Work is well underway in preparation for enacting three new wetland reserves totaling 970 hectares, and in developing birding related tourism and monitoring birds and threats.  Three large, public observation blinds for birders and photographers were completed at each site; a field guide to the birds of the region is finished, and final details of each site's management plan are near completion.

Project Field Partner:

Conservación Marina

Size of Area Involved:

The initial reserves total 970 hectares, but may be expanded in the near future.

Cost:

Commitment by ICFC for 2017-2018: $87,640
Cumulative spending, 2015-2016 $101,151

Support this project

photo:  Conservación Marina

In More Depth...

Project Partners and Personnel

Our partner is the Chilean conservation organization Conservación Marina with project leader Claudio Delgado. This project received matching funds from the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Background

The Maullín wetlands represent one of the largest coastal wetlands in continental Chile and are recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for their importance as a feeding and resting area for Nearctic shorebird species of concern, notably Hudsonian Godwit, and for other waterbirds. This project aims to stem the loss and degradation of habitat from unregulated recreational activities (and from the lesser problem of livestock trampling) through the creation of a municipal nature reserve system. The project will also assist the local community to develop birding tourism, which will enhance local support for and appreciation of the reserve network.

Actions
  • In October 2015 Conservación Marina and the Municipality of Maullín hosted a well-attended Ornithological Congress to begin the work to protect Maullín wetlands.
  • Three new wetland reserves totaling 970 hectares are in the works. A cooperation agreement with the municipality of Maullín is in preparation and agreements have been signed for two of the three reserves in less than a year.
  • In April 2016 the Maullín coastal wetlands were designated as regionally important sites by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.
  • The development of birding trails and educational materials for birding-based tourism are underway.
  • Working closely with the Maullín tourist office, and three, large bird observation blinds for the public have been constructed.
  • Monthly monitoring is now occuring for key bird species and the threats by cattle and dogs are being adressed with electric fence.

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