Extent of this site: north to Chingkunsheng; south to the Tsengwen River; east to Yancheng, County Road 176, and Provincial Highway 17; and west to a line between Wangtsiliaoshan and Dingtouoshan. Habitats at this site can be classified as estuarine wetlands, lagoons, fishponds, grassy marshes, and salt fields. On the north edge along the sea are the sand flats of Chingshangangshan, Wangtsiliaoshan, Dingtouoshan, and Hsinfulunshan together making up an area of about 1,600 ha of the Chiku lagoon; these are remnants of the Taichiang Inner Sea.
Because the water quality here is excellent, the cultivation of fish and the fisheries are abundant. Research indicates that the productivity based on the volume and the fisheries’ catch of Chiku lagoon is very high- some 45 times that of the offshore ocean and coral reef ecosystems. On the southern side on the mud flats of the Tsengwen River Estuary, the benthos and plankton are abundant. Each winter, this area attracts vast quantities of migrants which roost here. Of the 800 or so Black-faced Spoonbills in the world, an average of 2/3 of them winter on the tidal flats of the Tsengwen River Estuary. In addition, the wind protection forest of the sand flats of Wangtsiliaoshan is a rookery with about 1,000 egrets.
IBA A1 criterion species: this IBA site is a globally important wintering site for the Black-faced Spoonbill:
Time 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997/Jan. 1998/Jan. 1999/Jan. 1999/Dec. 2000/Jan. 2001/Jan.
No. of BFS 189 204 286 276 283 327 363 530 472 367
• At this site 220 species of birds have been recorded, among which are the following protected species: Chinese Egret, Oriental White Stork, Black Stork, Black-faced Spoonbill, White Spoonbill, Oriental Ibis, Tundra Swan, Red-breasted Merganser, Baikal Teal, Besra Sparrow Hawk, Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle, Grey Frog Hawk, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Common Kestrel, Spotted Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt, Eastern Collared Pratincole, Little Tern, Short-eared Owl, Black-billed Magpie and Brown Shrike.
Non-bird biodiversity: • On both sides of the Chiku River Estuary are large stands of mangroves with the dominant species being the Black Mangrove Avicennia marina.
• There are 30 species of crabs and nearly 200 species of molluscs.
• In the lagoon area, oyster cultivation is the dominant economic activity. In addition, Chiku is an important site for high-quality fish and fry breeding in Taiwan.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
• In 1994, the Tuntex and Yieh Loong Groups proposed the development plan of the Binnan Industrial Zone. Problems with this plan associated with the Chiku Wetlands, the Black-faced Spoonbill and water resources have caused it to be continued over the administrations of three Directors of the EPA, extending for over 6 years. Finally on 17 December 1999, the second stage of the Binnan Industrial Development plan was passed conditionally by the EPA. On 29 November 2000 during the Binnan EIA meeting No. 66, eight supplementary corrections were recommended and discussed. The EIA committee indicated that the explanations for the location of the northern tidal outlet of the lagoon and the use purposes were not clear, and so the final version was not certified. The developers must present supplementary information at another meeting.
• Erosion on the north bank of the Tsengwen rivemouth is quite obvious, and Hsinfulun sand flats retreat 100 m each year. The sand flats at Dingtouoe have retreated 25 m, and the area of the lagoon is decreasing year by year.
• On weekends, crowds of birdwatchers bring large volumes of trash, and cause traffic jams, and general disturbance.
• Between May and September 2000, the Tainan County Government spent NT$30 million (about US$1 million) to start a large-scale construction on the edge of the important habitat for the Black-faced Spoonbill, including expanding the two-lane road to four lanes, and paving a parking lot.
• Construction of the West Coast Highway is affecting this area.
• The Tainan County Government plans to build the Chimei Chronic Disease Treatment Center in the eastern fishpond area.
• There is currently a plan being formed for the development of an international airport at Chiku.
• There is a plan of constructing the Hsibei incinerator.
• The Marksmen Society engages in illegal hunting of waterbirds.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
• In February 1992. Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society formally appealed to the Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Provincial Department of Agriculture and Forestry to designate the tidally influenced lands of Tsengwen River Estuary a nature preserve.
• The 1994 Planning examples of environmentally sensitive areas at the coast of Taiwan listed the following ecologically sensitive sites: Chiku’s Wangtsiliao lagoon, Tainan County’s Chiku salt fields, and Tainan County’s Tsengwen River Estuary Black-faced Spoonbill Reserve.
• In 1995, the COA requested the Provincial Government to push the Tainan County Government to designate a wild bird refuge at the Tsengwen River Estuary based on the Wildlife Conservation Law.
• In December 1999, the Tainan County Government again sent the plan for the Tsengwen River Estuary reserve to the COA. The Tainan County Government proposed that the Black-faced Spoonbill reserve principally included the estuary, the tidally inundated lands at the north shore, Hsinfulunshan (300 ha), and Dingtouoeshan (160 ha), for a total of 1,210 ha. In reality, this scope would not even include a fourth of the area used by the spoonbills. In particular, 450 ha (county land) of important feeding areas in the eastern fishponds would not be included in the reserve. On 2 March 2000, at the conservation consultation meeting, this proposal was rejected.
• Under pressure from conservation organizations, Tainan County Magistrate Chen, Tangshan finally made a concession although he just agreed to take 30 ha of the feeding areas at the eastern fishponds and include them in the reserve, and again submitted the project to the COA. On 15 June 2000, the COA Conservation Consultation Committee Meeting again rejected the amended edition of the plan put forth by the Tainan County Government for the spoonbill reserve.
• In September 2000, conservation organizations appealed to modify the construction of the parking lot by the county government at Tsengwen River Estuary for the International Black-faced Spoonbill Park.