Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2000 as a result of increasing problems with the invasive species Salvinia molesta, which was closing all open water bodies in the property and thus threatening the water bird populations. The Action Plan, developed in the context of the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger focuses on three areas: 1) preservation and restoration of the ecological characteristics of the property, 2) development of ecotourism facilities and products, 3) integration of the property within the socio-economic and environmental landscape.
Furthermore, the building of the Dama dam had permanently stopped the salt water from entering the property and changed the hydrology. This further facilitated the spread of invasive species and reduced food availability to the birdlife. The changes to hydrology lead to salinization of soils due to lack of flushing, reduced amplitude in water levels, shrinking of bird colonies of certain species and disappearance of others. The property was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2006, as the Salvinia problem was brought under control through biological control and following the initiation of a hydrological management system. The State Party also developed a three-year action plan (2006-2008), which focuses on a) preservation and restoration of the ecological characteristics of the property, b) development of ecotourism facilities and products and c) integration of the property within the socio-economic and environmental landscape. The property currently remains on the Montreux Record of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands due to the impact of other invasive species and the effect on bird populations.
On 27 February 2009, a brief report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party. The report provides only limited information on progress in the implementation of the 2006- 2008 Action plan. The following points are noted:
a) Preserve and restore the ecological characteristic of the property
Through the support from Programme de Gestion Integrée des Ressources marines et Côtieres (GIRMAC), the invasive plants Tamarix senegalensis and Typha australis have been cleared from Tantale pond and Khar backwater. The support from the GEF (Global Environment Facility) has allowed clearing of the following marshes: Crocodile, Lamantin, Tieguel, Khoyoye and Petit Djoudj. These activities have lead to an increase of open waters, free of vegetation, in ponds and backwaters. The State Party reports increases in fish, improved water circulation, and improved water quality. Grand Lac has seen an increase in water volume which has benefited teals, pintails, lesser and greater flamingo.
The Government of the Netherlands also supported the restoration of white pelican nesting areas and the construction of one nesting area. These activities have resulted in an increase in the nesting population of white pelicans and a reduction in mortality rate.
b) Develop a visitor welcome centre and new eco-tourism products
The Government of the Netherlands and the GEF have supported the construction of watch towers in Tantale, Petit Djoudj and Grand Lac, and the improvement of the trail between the command post and the observation post at Flamant. This has improved vehicular circulation, increased the number of visitors at the watchtowers and reduced disturbance and erosion. Signage has also been improved within the property.
c) Improve the integration of the property in its environment
The invasive aquatic species project, Projet de Gestion Intégrée des Végétaux Aquatiques Envahissants (GIVAQUE) has supported the establishment of five village committees to help combat invasive plants. These committees have been given the responsibility to clear ponds and have access to two boats and GPS. The State Party has also conducted awareness-raising sessions in the villages.
Research coordinated through the biological station has included sampling and modelling in the Gorom and Crocodile canal. The State Party did not provide the research results or copies of the research papers or references.
In addition, GEF has supported the development of income-generating activities through the development of a network of butane gas to combat harvesting of fuel wood. A micro-credit system has been established to support local craft industry. The culture of fodder crops has been established to combat foraging by cattle within the property. GEF has also supported environmental education in the schools neighbouring the property.
The State Party reports that with the support of several projects, equipment has been bought for the property, including boats, a vehicle, and a variety of monitoring equipments. The State Party also reports the recruitment of additional staff for the property since December 2007.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recognize the ongoing work of the State Party and its partners to restore the functioning of the wetlands to support birdlife and to improve the overall management of the property. However, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN regret that the report does not provide a detailed evaluation on progress in the implementation of the 2006-2008 Action plan.
In order to assess the status of the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property and the impact of the Action plan, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the State Party also report to the World Heritage Committee on the trends in resident and migratory bird populations and the hydrology of the property.