New Law Protects and Celebrates Shorebirds in Rio Negro Province, Argentina

Written by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

This March at the Bahía San Antonio WHSRN Site of International Importance, partners were busy developing some of the activities for the site’s first “Shorebird Festival,” organized by the Inalafquen Foundation. All awaited the landing of a group of more than 2,000 Red Knots (Calidris canutus) in the intertidal habitat of this bay. Meanwhile, in the city of Viedma, the capital of Rio Negro Province, legislators listened to Provincial Deputy María Inés Maza introduce the text of a new law on behalf of these birds. The law, which declares the conservation of shorebirds and their wetland habitats to be in the “provincial interest,” was approvedduring the legislative session on March 17.

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Courtesy of Fundación Inalafquen

In general, the law prohibits the modification of wetlands that are critical for the conservation of migratory shorebirds, and created “Migratory Shorebird Week” which, from now on, will be celebrated annually during the second week of March under the auspices of the Rio Negro Legislature. Deputy Maria Inés Maza noted, “The Rio Negro Province plays a key role in the migration of Red Knots and other coastal shorebird species. It offers extensive marshes and tidal flats that provide birds with optimal conditions for resting and feeding after strenuous travel. This marks the significant value that these environments posses, and the global responsibility we have for their conservation and use.”

This valuable new province-wide recognition follows two previously approved declarations of similar character in 2010: one by the House of Representatives in the Santa Cruz Province and another by the National House of Representatives of Argentina. The latter declared the work being carried by WHSRN regarding the conservation of shorebirds and their habitats to be “of national interest” for the country (2010).

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Shorebirds at Bahía San Antonio WHSRN Site. Courtesy of Fundación Inalafquen

These legal accomplishments were developed and managed under the leadership of the WHSRN Argentine National Council as part of its 2010-2012 Action Plan. Council members have taken the lead on enacting provisions in each of their provinces that promote the protection of shorebirds and the habitats they need along their migration routes.

We applaud the team at Inalafquen Foundation for this great achievement in Rio Negro Province, and express our most sincere appreciation to the director, Mirta Carbajal, for her great leadership!

For more information, contact Diego Luna Quevedo (diego.luna@manomet.org), Southern Cone Program Coordinator, Shorebird Recovery Project, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

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