Geum Estuary Project


The Geum Estuary Project is a collaborative project led by BirdLife International and BirdLife Australia. This multi-faceted project aspires to demonstrate alternative and sustainable paths for developing coastal wetlands in the Repbulic of Korea. The project aims to support conservation initiatives within the Estuary for the protection of migratory shorebirds and their habitat, including habitat restoration, systematic monitoring and the possibility of the Estuary being listed as a World Heritage Site. The project also aims to explore and implement opportunities for the Estuary to become a world-class eco-tourism attraction. Central to each of the project’s objectives is the importance of sharing information, skills and expertise.

This project is contributing to objectives identified in the National Migratory Shorebird Conservation Action Plan (MS CAP ) and the Australian Government’s Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds.


An internationally significant wetland


The Geum Estuary is the most important site for migratory shorebirds in the Republic of Korea regularly supporting internationally significant popualtions of 20 species of shorebird.

Located in the Seocheon County on Korea's west coast, the Estuary hosts tens of thousands of migratory and resident shorebirds each year. The Estuary is an integral part of the East Asian-Australian Flyway (EAAF), where migratory shorebirds find rest and respite each year during their 10,000km journey from one end of the world to the other, and back again.

The Estuary includes RAMSAR listed wetlands, an EAAF Flyway Netork site and two Key Biodiversity Areas. These classifications indicate the international significance of areas for the conservation of animals and ecosystems. Along with internationally important wetlands, Seocheon County has a distinctive local cuisine, in particular excellent seafood and the best rice wine in Korea, and a rural village lifestyle. Together, these attractions perfectly position the Geum Estuary as an ideal location for world-class eco-tourism.


 Birds of the Geum Estuary


The Geum Estuary hosts tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds each year. Many of these species are internationally significant, such as the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

This migratory bird with its distinctive bill is rapidly diminishing in numbers across its range, mostly due to habitat loss. Although fewer than 100 pairs are thought to remain in the wild, Geum Estuary endures as a critical site on the species migratory route. With large scale land reclamation developments devestating neighboring habitats, protecting the Estuary is a significant step towards safeguarding the future of the Spoonbill Sandpiper.

In addition to the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, sthe conservation of Geum Estuary will be integral to many Australian migrants including the Critically Endangered Far Eastern Curlew. The Geum Estuary is a vital staging site for the species, regualry supporting populations of over 3,000 individauls (9% of the flyway population) on both northern and southern migrations.


Major Partners

The Geum Estuary Project is collaborative venture comprised of local and international NGOs, Government bodies and other stakeholders.


BirdLife International (Asia)

BirdLife International is the world leader in bird conservation as well as the world’s largest nature conservation partnership, comprising of 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide. Rigorous science informed by practical feedback from projects on the ground in important sites and habitats enables BirdLife to implement successful conservation programmes for birds and all nature. Their actions provide both practical and sustainable solutions significantly benefiting nature and people. (See more)


Woodside Energy

Woodside Energy is Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company with a global presence, recognised for their world-class capabilities. Woodside recognises that long-term meaningful relationships with communities are fundamental to their operations and they are always working to build mutually beneficial relationships. Woodside’s work is characterised by strong safety and environmental performance. Environmental collaboration and transparency is central to their operations and they have worked with some of the world’s leading environmental organisations to better understand the global environments where they have interests. (See more)


Eastern Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (Secretariat)

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) is a network of partners within the EAAF. The EAAFP aims to protect migratory waterbirds, their habitat and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them. Partners include National Governments, Inter-Governmental Organisations, International Non-governmental Organisations, and International Private Enterprise, which agree to endorse the text and support the objectives and actions under this Partnership. (See more)


BirdLife Australia

BirdLife Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation devoted to the future of Australia’s native birdlife. Their work over decades has shown that conservation efforts are most effective when activities are focused at a regional scale to particular species or by concentrating on specific sites of interest. Much of BirdLife’s work is carried out by their network of Local Branches and Special Interest Groups. (See more)




Australian Wader Study Group (AWSG)

Australian Waders Study Group (AWSG) is one of BirdLife Australia's largest special interests groups. AWSG pioneered studies on shorebirds in Australia and continues to contribute to conservation and research throughout the EAAF. (See more)


Seocheon County Government

Seocheon County Government is the custodians of the Geum Estuary. The County are committed to protecting the conservation value of the Estuary and have pursued enlightened policies based around nature-based, and sustainable development. In November 2015, Seocheon County Government, along with BirdLife International signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the conservation of the Estuary.

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