As part of the project “From Arctic to Africa” for the protection and conservation of migratory birds and their habitat along the East Atlantic flyway, a strategic conservation plan in the Senegal River Delta, in West Africa, is being developed. This plan is to define and breed an operational framework for the protection of migratory waterbirds and the restoration of key habitats of major importance for biodiversity.
Decisive progress in this regard have been made during the last consultation and conceptualization workshop of the plan held in Saint Louis, Senegal, from 12th to 14th August 2014. Participants of this brainstorming are managers of parks and reserves in the intervention area targeted by the Action Plan, representatives of parks management, representatives of institutions and regional public services, national and international NGOs, community associations, management structures, local authorities, academics, etc. from Senegal and Mauritania.
A total of eight (08) conservation targets as well as four (04) waterbird species and four (04) habitat type were selected:
- For the waterfowls characteristics of the area, the target is:
- Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
- The Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
- The Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)
- The Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina)
In terms of features habitats of the area, the target is:
- Coastal areas
- Areas of floodplains
- Rice field areas.
- Estuarine areas.
Key field actions that can be undertaken in the short term, pending the finalization and validation of the draft plan, have been identified. The outlines and the selection of these priority actions are primarily focused around protection of waterfowl, habitat restoration and expansion of areas with a legally protected status.
That is why the Strategic Plan will include the restoration of habitat and species, monitoring of waterbirds at the site of Aftout Es Saheli (Mauritania), whose islands are important breeding sites for Lesser Flamingos in west Africa.
Furthermore restoration of habitats and biodiversity monitoring are included in the draft plan and will intervene at the Nature Reserve of Tocc-tocc (in Senegal) which is in turn, a major site for Teal mumps.
As previously done in the National Park of Djoudj in Senegal, work plans for clearing of waterways and dredging of channels in the park of Diawling in Mauritania will help a better flow of water and reclaiming water lands colonized by aquatic invasive plant species.
In addition, essential recommendations to make the next strategic conservation plan on the Senegal River delta operational, came out of this workshop. We can so remember:
- The need to work in continuity taking into account the existing elements from the development and implementation of the final management plan for the RBT.
- Preparation, with the various stakeholders, and the implementation of the priority activities in the short-term on the identified sites of Tocc-tocc, Diawling and Aftout Es Saheli.
- Finalization by WIA and consultants of the process by specifying the additional information needed to refine the elements and the established descriptive model of the situation.
- The Prioritization of the various suggestions and strategies that have been made and the documentation of the most suitable and efficient responses to identified threats
- Completion of drafting the strategic plan document along axes and orientations
It should be noted that this workshop was enhanced by the presence of eminent personalities including Professor Ahmed El Moctar Salem of the University of Nouakchott, Mr. Pape Mawade Wade representing the Regional Director of Wetlands International Africa, Col Ibrahima Kane coordination of RBT, Abdallahi Magrega representing the Director of Diawling National Park and Col Soulèye Ndiaye, Director of National Parks of Senegal.