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Delta Dumping Destroying Ducks

Verdalselva Delta; a RAMSAR site in Norway is under threat from industrial development?

The Trondheimsfjord is situated in west central Norway and acts as a natural boundary between North and South Norway. The ?rin delta area is where the river Verdalselva flows into the Trondheimsfjord. The delta comprises extensive mudflats and sand-banks which are exposed at low tide. In autumn 2002 part of the river delta received international status under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The complete delta system as a bio-diverse entity is of conservation importance and any negative influences or activities within the area will degrade the value of the site.Birdlife

?rin is the most important location for migrating Pink-footed goose Anser brachyrhynchus from the Svaldbard (Spitzbergen) population with up to 8000 - 9000 individuals resting at ?rin at the same time. The total population is some 40,000 birds. It is also the most important spring location in Norway for the Scandinavian population of Common Scoter Melanitta nigra with 1230 birds present simultaneously. The Common Scoter is on the Red List of Norwegian Birds. ?rin is also a very important migration and wintering location for many other shorebirds and ducks such as Common Eider Somateria mollissima, Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis, Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca, Surf Scoter Melanitta perspecillata and Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula. ?rin is the most impotant wintering location for Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus in Norway, and is also an important migration location for Oystercatchers wintering in England. It is one of the most important winter locations for Mallard Anas platyrhynchos in Norway. Several hundred Common Eider feeding at ?rin in spring breed in Bottenviken in Sweden. A total of 210 different bird species have been observed at ?rin.The Threat to the Bio-diversity of the Delta

?rin Industrial Park, Aker Kvaerner Verdal and Verdal Harbour are on the south side of the delta. This area was reclaimed from the sea in the 1960s and 1970s, and was formerly part of the shoreline between Rinnleiret and ?rin. In 1988 a large storage site in a mountain was excavated in the Verdal district. Vast quantities of stone needed to be disposed of, and it was suggested that this could be used for the expansion of the industrial park. The local authorities agreed to extend the industrial park to the north. A large part of the river delta was therefore re-categorised as industrial land, and the stone from the storage site was used to build a breakwater around the whole area.The area has remained enclosed by the breakwater since 1988. But the local authorities then evolved a plan to fill in the area. In order to achieve this, they intend to pump over 2 million cubic metres of material from outside the breakwater. Before such an operation is carried out, Norwegian law requires an environmental impact assessment study. Several biological and geological surveys have been carried out in the area since summer 2001. The local council in Verdal had hoped to avoid the need for an environmental impact assessment of the area inside the breakwater, and had begun to gradually fill in the area. The Norwegian Ornithological Society (NOF) complained about this on several occasions. Following recommendations from the Department of the Environment (MD) in spring 2002, the local council stopped all work within the breakwater. The council were advised to make a new regulation plan for the area, with more attention being paid to the environmental value of the river delta. The new plan was due to be drafted and developed by the council in February/March 2003.The Current Postion

Little had happened until recently. Although it is uncertain exactly what the area will be used for, and indeed if there is any real requirement for additional industrial land, there are signs that the local council still want to reclaim land within the breakwater, albeit marginally less than in their original plans. The Norwegian Ornithological Society have amassed a vast amount of information from the ?rin area in particular and the river delta in general since the 1980s. In various reports, including those from The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management (DN), ?rin is mentioned as being of international importance. An appeal for renewed international support has been received from the Norwegian Ornithological Society by Proact, who marshalled support for the first wave of protest in early 2003. Halvor S?rhuus, for the Norwegian Ornithological Society (NOF) says:Many thanks for your help so far with the Verdalselva river delta, ?rin. It`s time to take a new look at the problem as the local authorities have agreed to a modified plan which will allow the transformation of 400 daa of the river delta to an industrial area. This includes some of the most important feeding area for diving ducks in transit at ?rin. (The first plan was to fill up approx. 570 daa.)The most ridiculous thing is that no one has any idea what will be built on the area.

Our hope now is that The Minister of the Environment B?rge Brende will stop this plan. I think only international pressure will make him do this. My hope is that you can formulate a letter to send to Mr. Brende as soon as possible. Mr. Brende has been a strong ambassador in many national and international environmental questions. But in the ?rin case he has not yet made a statement. This plan is in conflict with the Ramsar convention, Rio convention and the Bonn convention, to all of which Norway is a signatory. Please let me know if you can help us again in saving ?rin.
Proact has prepared a text appealing to Environment Minister Brende to intervene. It is available at http://www.proact-campaigns.net/localcampaigns/id35.html Please take time to go to the Proact site and send the draft text says David Conlin, from Proact International and on behalf of the Norwegian Ornithological society (NOF), or even better use your own words - to register your personal protest and concern. A direct mail link is also provided on the site.

4th July 2014