Tame wilderness – wetlands in the city: Gyeongpo wetland, Gangneung

Wetlands in and near cities always have to balance between the understandable desire of citizens to enjoy nature close to their home and the necessities for protection. The outcome is often a compromise between both. In South Korea, also the desire to tame nature seems to play a role in designs for wetlands. A recent visit of Gyeongpo lagoon, named the “Gyeongpo Prickly Waterlily (Kasiyon) Protected Area”, is a case for this trend. Gyeongpo lake in Gangneung has been the scene of major remodeling in the last years, partly due to the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which are co-hosted by Gangneung. There were a few hundred birds seen, among them most numerous Eurasian Coots, Mallards, Eurasian Teals, Great Crested Grebes, Little Grebes, some Greater Scaups, Tufted Ducks, Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, Common Mergansers, Grey Herons, Great Cormorants and Great Egrets. The formerly “wilder” part of the wetland with swampy areas and reeds has now been completely surrounded by nice wooden walkways including bridges and on one side a small ferry to pull. Hides made from reed allow bird watchers to look from the (quite busy) street side. A small observation center hands out maps and other visitor information. Certainly a place where people stressed from life and ongoing construction in Gangneung can well recover – from the point of view of conservation, however, this orderly wetland seems to have lost much of its value…

1 - Overview

Overview over the “Gyeongpo Prickly Waterlily Wetland Protected Area” © Bernhard Seliger

2 - Explanations

Information on the Prickly waterlily (Kasiyon), which gave the wetland its name © Bernhard Seliger

3 - Ferry“Tamed wilderness” – the ferry across the water © Bernhard Seliger

4 - Wetland CenterWetland center © Bernhard Seliger

5 - Information on valuable species Information on valuable species © Bernhard Seliger

6 - Lagoon lakeView over the main lake © Bernhard Seliger

7 - Great Crested Grebe

     Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus  © Bernhard Seliger

8 - Little GrebeLittle Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis © Bernhard Seliger

9 - Bullheaded ShrikeBullheaded Shrike Lanius bucephalus © Bernhard Seliger

10 - TealEurasian Teal Anas crecca © Bernhard Seliger

11 - Birds plastic houses

Birds (Grey Herons Ardea cinerea Great Egrets Ardea alba and Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo roosting), a plastic bird (on the roof of the pavilion) and houses… © Bernhard Seliger


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