Solid waste is one of the main and ever-growing environmental issues in the Jordan Valley, others being depletion of water sources, overgrazing of native vegetation, invasion of alien shrub species and unregulated hunting.
JBW is carrying out projects in one site to tackle the root causes for such local problems and present a model of best practices and for integrated management of ecosystems and natural resources in the Jordan Valley area.
Moreover, JBW organizes birding trips to spread awareness and to monitor birds and their habitats.
this context, Jordan BirdWatch
together with Ahl El-Balad
initiative carried out a clean-up event in Wadi Gharaba Special
Conservation Area, which is located in Ghor Rama north of the Dead
Sea on Saturday 7th
December 2019. Large amounts of waste were collected, including
mainly plastic water bottles and cans.
JBW members also
enjoyed watching a variety of birds in and around Wadi Gharaba in the
early morning including Herons and Egrets, two Black-winged Kites
Kingfishers (three species), Little Green Be-eaters, Bluethroat,
Robin, Stonechat, Indian Silverbills and Spanish Sparrows.
Jordan BirdWatch participated in the annual Environmental Day hosted on 2 April 2019 byThe Ahliyyah School for Girls and Bishop’s School for Boys.
This year’s theme was “Zero Waste in 2022”. The main objective was to involve students in taking actions towards achieving a better and greener world.
Jordan BirdWatch presented books and bird-watching tools, and had lively discussions with students about bird diversity in Jordan, and the negative impacts of solid waste pollution on birds and the eco-tourism sector in Jordan.
Wadi Gharaba, Jordan Valley, was announced as a “Special Conservation Area” by the Ministry of Environment upon the request of JORDAN BIRDWATCH and after obtaining the approval of various stakeholders.
An SCA includes management of important habitats and ecosystems to conserve biodiversity while allowing limited or traditional use by local communities.
The nearly 5 Km² area is adjacent to the River Jordan and 7 km north of the Dead Sea. It is around 35 km (half an hour drive) from Amman. It includes a narrow, shallow wadi with marsh-like conditions and Tamarisk thickets, suitable breeding habitat for Little Bittern, Blue-cheeked and Little Green Bee-eater, White-throated and Pied Kingfishers, Clamorous Reed and Cetti’s Warblers and Dead Sea Sparrow.
The management plan was prepared by JBW during 2018, and includes activities for preparing the site for visitors and minimizing threats, namely overgrazing, encroachment by an invasive shrub, hunting of birds and waste management.
Soon after the management plan was prepared, however, new plans to invest within and around the SCA have been announced. Nonetheless, JBW along with supporters is determined to protect the natural bird habitats along the wadi which flows into River Jordan. GIZ and SGF/UNDP are supporting JBW in carrying out two projects at the site in 2019-2020 (see projects for more information).
For information on how to reach the site and for organized birding trips please contact JBW.
National breeding surveys of rare, poorly known and geographically restricted species in Jordan are shedding light on current distribution and threats to bird habitats, such as windfarms in the southern highlands and unsustainable farming and overgrazing in Wadi Araba and the Jordan Valley.
Birding trips are also constantly adding information about various bird species.
JBW updates the national bird list and its members publish significant records, such as the colonization of Black-winged Kite in Sandgrouse (vol. 39, 2017).
Jordan BirdWatch, becomes member in the National Wildlife Protection Committee as from 2017.
JBW, represented by Dr. Fares Khoury, became member of the national committee which recommends and modifies the hunting regulations and other matters related to wildlife hunting, persecution and introduction of game species.
The committee members, appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, include academics, representatives of various conservation and hunting associations, as well as the ministry of agriculture and the environmental police (Rangers).
Hunting (legal and illegal) is regrettably becoming a widespread sport in spite of an alarming decrease in many wildlife species. Law implementation is still undeveloped and current regulations are not yet based on real data. JBW is generally requesting a comprehensive plan which ensures regulated and sustainable hunting.
Publication and launching of the Bird Watcher’s Guide to Madaba, 15th March 2017
A Birdwatcher’s Guide to Madaba was published by Jordan BirdWatch. This guide describes 15 sites in the extended Madaba region which comprises a variety of bird habitats and scenic landscapes overlooking the Dead Sea.
The guide includes a map, site coordinates, accommodation details, habitat descriptions, systematic checklists as well as explaining why the Madaba region is a definite place for a birder to visit and spend a few days in.
The author is the ornithologist and co-founder of JBW, Dr. Fares Khoury. Printing of the book and a launching event on 15th March 2017 in Madaba city were supported by GIZ (German Agency for Technical Support) and carried out in cooperation with Madaba Tourism Development & Heritage Preservation Association.