Chilean Ministry of Environment and Manomet Center Sign Shorebird Agreement

Written by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

The Chilean Ministry of the Environment has signed an agreement with Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences to collaborate on shorebird and wetland conservation efforts on the critically important island of Chiloé. Under the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding, the Manomet Center and the Chilean government will work together to implement the National Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands of Chile as well as the Migratory Shorebird Conservation Plan for Chiloé.

Hudsonianwhimbrel_001_1000hu

(Hudsonian) Whimbrel is a wintering shorebird along the Chilean coastline. © György Szimuly

Chiloé Island, located off the coast of southern Chile, is home to a great number of migratory shorebirds that fly more than 9,300 miles from the northern hemisphere every year to winter within the island’s coastal wetlands. These wetlands support 99% of the Pacific Coast population or 27% of the global population of Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica) and 61% of the Pacific Coast population of Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). Both shorebird species breed in North America and are considered of high conservation concern. The entire system of wetlands in eastern Chiloé was designated as a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance in January 2011.

Wetlands are a strategic resource for Chile, providing a wide range of environmental goods and services that allow us to sustain biodiversity and contribute to the welfare of our communities,” said Ricardo Sanchez Irarrázabal, Chile’s Assistant Secretary for Environment. “This new partnership with the Manomet Center will allow us to leverage resources and facilitate access to information for making effective conservation decisions for the wetlands of Chiloe as vital ecosystems to sustain populations of migratory birds.

The Chilean Ministry of the Environment and Manomet Center are working with local governments to prepare effective regulations that will protect Chiloé’s wetlands and designate municipal reserves on the island.

The partners also are promoting awareness and pride among local communities towards their island’s unique shorebird and wetland resources, through projects such as “Chiloé: Birds and Cultural Heritage.” The Ministry’s Regional Secretariat for the Lakes Region, together with the Municipality of Castro, is leading and coordinating the “Chiloé Wetland Roundtable: Everyone’s Heritage.” This public-private forum is designed to strengthen local capacity to promote and implement conservation actions.

Diego Luna Quevedo, Manomet Center’s Southern Cone Program Coordinator, added that shorebird conservation could also provide an economic boost to the community. “Beyond the importance of biodiversity, conserving wetlands as critical habitat for migratory shorebirds in Chiloé adds value to the area overall that will attract, expand, or enhance opportunities for tourism,” said Quevedo. “The work of this partnership will benefit the overall quality of life of the communities on the island.

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

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