BookPDF Available

The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

With its airport and a high density of stations and field huts, the Fildes Peninsula forms the logistical centre of King George Island (South Shetland Islands) and the logistical hub for the northern Antarctic Peninsula area as a whole. Due to the severe overlapping of various interests, such as research, the conservation of flora and fauna, the protection of places of geological and historical value, station operations, transport logistics and tourism, there was an urgent need for research. An assessment of the risk for the area was carried out between 2003 and 2006, along with the development of management plans for its designation as a Specially Managed Area. In support of the political discussions initiated, data relating to the current environmental situation was once again collected between 2008 and 2012. An analysis was made of the current state of the protected areas and the values to be protected, the numbers of breeding birds and seals, the changes to the stations (particularly building activities), the use of field huts, the mapping of the waste situation and current waste management, sources of drinking water and risks associated with it, wastewater treatment and occurrences of oil contamination. In addition, changes to air traffic, shipping traffic and surface transport, along with the effects of scientific and tourist activities, were outlined in order to serve as a basis for an updated risk analysis. The required action with respect to management and prognoses for the future was extrapolated from the conclusions of this risk assessment. Due to the increased threat posed to the area, the preference is still for it to be designated a Fildes Peninsula Region ASMA.
Content may be subject to copyright.
| TEXTE | 03/2013
THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL
SITUATION AND PROPOSALS FOR
THE MANAGEMENT OF THE
FILDES PENINSULA REGION
The current environmental situation and
proposal
s for the management of the
Fildes Peninsula Region
by
Dr. Hans-Ulrich Peter
Christina Braun
Susann Janowski
Anja Nordt
Anke Nordt
Michel Stelter
AG Polar- & Ornitho-Ökologie
Institut für Ökologie,
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Head of Institute
Prof. Dr. Stefan Halle
On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency (Germany)
UMWELTBUNDESAMT
| TEXTE | 03/2013
ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH OF THE
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT,
NATURE CONSERVATION AND NUCLEAR SAFETY
Project No. (FKZ) 3708 91 102
Report No. (UBA-FB) 001662/E
This publication is only available online. It can be downloaded from
http://www.uba.de/uba-info-medien-e/4424.html along with a
German version.
The contents of this publication do not necessarily
reflect the official opinions.
ISSN 1862-4804
Study performed by: Institut für Ökologie, AG Polar- & Ornithokologie
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Dornburger Str. 159
D-07743 Jena
Study completed in: August 2012
Publisher: Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt)
Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau
Germany
Phone: +49-340-2103-0
Fax: +49-340-2103 2285
Email: info@umweltbundesamt.de
Internet: http://www.umweltbundesamt.de
http://fuer-mensch-und-umwelt.de/
Edited by: Section I 3.5
Protection of the Antarctic
Fritz Hertel
Dessau-Roßlau, February 2013
i
Report Cover Sheet
1. Report No. UBAFB 001662/E
2.
3.
5. Author(s), Family Name(s), First Name(s)
8. Report Date
Dr. Peter, Hans-Ulrich,
Dipl.-Biol. Braun, Christina,
August 2012
Dipl.-Biol. Janowski, Susann,
Dipl.-Biol. Nordt, Anja,
Dipl.-Landscape-Ecologist Nordt, Anke,
B.Sc. Stelter, Michel
9. Publication Date
6. Performing Organisation (Name, Address)
Institute of Ecology, Polar and Bird Ecology Group
10. UFOPLAN - No.
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
3708 91 102
Dornburger Strasse 159
11. No. of Pages
D-07743 Jena
127 pp. + 46 pp. in 5 appendices
12. No. of References
226
13. No. of Tables, Diagrams
7. Sponsoring Agency (Name, Address)
6 + 1 in appendices
Umweltbundesamt
14. No. of Figures
FG I 3.5 Schutz der Antarktis
89 + 6 in appendices
Wörlitzer Platz 1, 06844 Dessau-Roßlau
logistical centre of King George Island (South Shetland Islands) and the logis
northern Antarctic Peninsula area as a whole. Due to the severe o
geological and historical value, station operations, transport logistics and tourism, there was an
urgent need for research. An assessment o
environmental situation was once again collected between 2008 and 201 2.
of breeding birds and seals, the changes to the stations (particularly building activities), the use
of field huts, the mapping of the waste situa
contamination. In addition, changes to air traffic, shipping traffic and surface transport, along
with the effects of sci
an updated risk analysis. The required action with respect to management and prognoses for
the future was extrapolated from the conclusions of this risk assessment. Due to the i
Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, Fildes Peninsula, human activities, King George Island,
18.
19.
20.
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
ii
Table of contents
Report Cover Sheet .......................................................................................................... i
Table of contents .................................................................................................................... ii
List of figures ......................................................................................................................... vi
List of tables .......................................................................................................................... xi
List of abbreviations ............................................................................................................. xii
Place names used ............................................................................................................... xiv
1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 1
2 Current state of the protected areas and of the values to be protected ........................... 4
2.1 General ................................................................................................................... 4
2.2 Historic sites and monuments ................................................................................. 4
2.3 ASPA No. 125 Fildes Peninsula .............................................................................. 5
2.4 ASPA No. 150 Ardley Island .................................................................................... 6
3 Current Environmental Situation (Results and Discussion) ............................................. 8
3.1 Fauna and Flora ...................................................................................................... 8
3.1.1 Birds ...................................................................................................................... 8
3.1.1.1 Penguins (Pygoscelis spp.) ....................................................................... 9
3.1.1.2 Southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) ........................................10
3.1.1.3 Cape petrel (Daption capense) .................................................................13
3.1.1.4 Storm petrels (Oceanites oceanicus and Fregetta tropica) .......................14
3.1.1.5 Light-mantled sooty albatross (Phoebetria palpebrata) .............................15
3.1.1.6 Snowy sheathbill (Chionis alba) ...............................................................15
3.1.1.7 Skuas (Catharacta spp.) ...........................................................................16
3.1.1.8 Kelp gull (Larus dominicanus) ..................................................................23
3.1.1.9 Antarctic tern (Sterna vittata) ....................................................................24
3.1.1.10 Potential breeding birds, migrants and accidental visitors ........................25
3.1.2 Seals .....................................................................................................................27
3.1.3 Vegetation and damage to vegetation ...................................................................31
3.1.4 Introduced, non-native species .............................................................................33
3.2 Changes at Fildes Peninsula research stations ......................................................35
3.2.1 Station use and development of station populations .............................................35
3.2.1.1 Stations and development of station populations ......................................35
3.2.1.2 Construction activities in the study period and future plans ......................36
3.2.1.3 Field huts and their use ............................................................................47
3.2.1.4 Surface
area used by station buildings .....................................................52
3.2.1.5 Other installations ....................................................................................53
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
iii
3.2.2 Documenting the waste situation in the Fildes Region ..........................................54
3.2.2.1 General ....................................................................................................54
3.2.2.2 Old waste dumps .....................................................................................54
3.2.2.3 Waste distribution .....................................................................................56
3.2.2.4 Discharge of organic material ...................................................................57
3.2.2.5 Current deficiencies in waste management ..............................................59
3.2.3 Sources of drinking water and threats to those sources ........................................65
3.2.4 Wastewater treatment ...........................................................................................66
3.2.5 Oil contamination ..................................................................................................71
3.2.5.1 Oil contamination within station grounds ..................................................71
3.2.5.2 Oil contamination outside stations ............................................................74
3.2.6 Noise and gaseous emissions ...............................................................................77
3.3 Traffic .....................................................................................................................78
3.3.1 Air traffic................................................................................................................78
3.3.1.1 Flight statistics and comparison with the previous project ........................79
3.3.1.2 Tourist flights ............................................................................................79
3.3.1.3 Introduction of a TLS landing support system ...........................................80
3.3.1.4 Flight movements over Ardley Island and over the Fildes Strait ...............81
3.3.1.5 Published flight statistics ..........................................................................83
3.3.2 Ship traffic .............................................................................................................84
3.3.3 Land traffic ............................................................................................................87
3.4 Further human activities .........................................................................................90
3.4.1 Scientific activities in the Fildes Region and their effects .......................................90
3.4.2 Tourist activities ....................................................................................................93
3.4.2.1 Spectrum of tourist activities.....................................................................93
3.4.2.2 Fildes marathon .......................................................................................94
3.4.2.3 Leisure activities of station staff and scientists .........................................97
3.4.2.4 Effects on the Fildes Region ................................................................... 100
3.4.3 Infraction of ASPA rules ...................................................................................... 101
4 Risk analysis ............................................................................................................... 105
4.1 Station operations ................................................................................................ 105
4.2 Traffic ................................................................................................................... 105
4.3 Research .............................................................................................................. 106
4.4 Visitors ................................................................................................................. 107
4.5 Cumulative effects ................................................................................................ 107
4.6 Summary of current and future threats ................................................................. 107
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
iv
5 Conclusions and need for action ................................................................................. 112
6 Management ............................................................................................................... 115
6.1 Developments since the founding of an IWG ........................................................ 115
6.2 Special management proposals within the scope of a possible ASMA ................. 115
6.2.1 Stations and scientists ........................................................................................ 115
6.2.2 Drinking water ..................................................................................................... 116
6.2.3 Waste, oil and wastewater management ............................................................. 118
6.2.4 Introduction of non-native species ....................................................................... 119
6.2.5 Tourism ............................................................................................................... 119
6.2.6 Monitoring ........................................................................................................... 120
7 Unanswered questions and research needs ................................................................ 121
8 Summary ..................................................................................................................... 122
9 Literature ..................................................................................................................... 125
Appendix 1 ............................................................................................................................. I
Tab. 7: Results of the monthly seal count on the Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island,
shown by season (- = no count).
Appendix 2 ............................................................................................................................ II
A Suggestion for a poster with information about suitable behaviour in the Antarctic in
English.
B Suggestion for a poster with information about suitable behaviour in the Antarctic in
Spanish.
C Suggestion for a poster with information about suitable behaviour in the Antarctic in
Russian.
D Suggestion for a poster with information about suitable behaviour in the Antarctic in
Chinese.
Appendix 3 ........................................................................................................................... VI
Third Progress Report on the Discussion of the International Working Group about
Possibilities for Environmental Management of Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island
Appendix 4 .................................................................................................................... XXXIII
Fourth Progress Report on the Discussion of the International Working Group about
Possibilities for Environmental Management of Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island
Appendix 5 ........................................................................................................................ XLII
Progress Report on the Research Project “Current Environmental Situation and
Management Proposals for the Fildes Region (Antarctic)”
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
v
List of figures
Fig. 1: Locations of the four HSMs and other historical finds on the Fildes Peninsula
(amended according to (1) Chile, 2007a, (2) Stehberg et al., 2008 , (3) Stehberg,
2008 and Uruguay, 2011a, * own data. Coordinates of sites were partly corrected
compared to the original data ..................................................................................... 5
Fig. 2: Locations of the protected areas ASPA No. 125 and No. 150 in the Fildes Region. .... 6
Fig. 3: Breeding pair numbers for gentoo, Adélie and chinstrap penguins on Ardley Island
over the last 40 years. ................................................................................................ 9
Fig. 4: Breeding success of the southern giant petrel in the various zones of the Fildes
Region and the number of breeding pairs since 2002/03, and for 1984/85 in
comparison (* = incomplete data). .............................................................................11
Fig. 5: Breeding pair numbers (occupied nests) of the southern giant petrel, comparing
1984/85 and 2004/05 to 2008/09-2011/12. ................................................................12
Fig. 6 a - d: Location and size of cape petrel breeding colonies in the seasons 2008/09 to
2011/12. ....................................................................................................................13
Fig. 7: Current distribution of the breeding areas of Wilson’s storm petrel and black-bellied
storm petrel in the Fildes Region (2003-2006 and 2008-2012). .................................14
Fig. 8: Known breeding places and sightings of light-mantled sooty albatross and snowy
sheathbill in the seasons 2008/09 to 2011/12............................................................15
Fig. 9: Breeding pair numbers of skuas nesting on the Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island.
There are no data for the seasons without indications. Skua pairs of which the
species of one partner is not known, and which can therefore not be included in any
of the other categories, are classified as “undetermined”. .........................................16
Fig. 10 a - d: Distribution of skua nests on the Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island in the
seasons 2008/09 to 2011/12. ....................................................................................17
Fig. 11 a - c: Colonies and single nests of kelp gulls in the seasons 2008/09 to 2010/11. ....18
Fig. 12 a - c: Antarctic tern nesting places in the study area in the seasons 2008/09 to
2010/11. ....................................................................................................................19
Fig. 13: Flock of Arctic terns (photo: M. Stelter, 17.12.2011). ...............................................21
Fig. 14 a - d: Observations of potential breeding birds (*), migrants and visitors, and finds of
dead birds in these categories in the Fildes Region in the seasons 2008/09 to
2011/12. ....................................................................................................................22
Fig. 15: Results of the monthly seal counts on the Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island. No
data are available for the counting periods marked with *..........................................23
Fig. 16 a - d: Southern elephant seal haul-outs with at least ten individuals on the Fildes
Peninsula in the Antarctic summers of 2008/09 to 2011/12. ......................................24
Fig. 17: Seal pupping places and numbers of juveniles in specific bays of the Fildes Region
coast from 2008 to 2012. ..........................................................................................25
Fig. 18: Young southern elephant seal with throat wound, probably caused by a fishing line
(photo:.......................................................................................................................26
Fig. 19 a & b: The only known specimen of Colobanthus quitensis on the Fildes Peninsula,
living (a) and dead (b) (photo: A. Nordt, 29.12.2009; T. Gütter, 12.12. 2010). ...........26
Fig. 20 a - d: Distribution and density of Deschampsia antarctica in the Fildes Region from
1984/85 to 2007/08. ..................................................................................................27
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
vi
Fig. 21: Destruction of vegetation caused by the erection of a new monument by the road to
Great Wall. The sharply-defined border with the moss bed can be seen clearly (photo:
C. Braun, 17.12.2008). ..............................................................................................28
Fig. 22: Introduced grass not far from the Russian station Bellingshausen (photo: A. Nordt,
December 2008). ......................................................................................................29
Fig. 23: Overview of the stations and field huts in the Fildes Region. ...................................31
Fig. 24 The E-Base set up in February 2007 (photo: C. Braun, 26.12.2009). ........................33
Fig. 25 a & b: Comparative views of the extended Chilean naval station in the seasons
2004/05 (a) and 2009/10 (b) (photos: C. Braun). .......................................................34
Fig. 26: Domed construction as temporary replacement for Frei Station’s gymnasium, which
was destroyed by fire (photo: C. Braun, 03.01.2010). ................................................35
Fig. 27: Site of the new TLS landing support system and quarrying site. ..............................36
Fig. 28 a & b: Comparative views of the extended Great Wall Station in the seasons 2005/06
(a) and 2008/09 (b) (photos: C. Braun)......................................................................39
Fig. 29: New fuel tanks belonging to Great Wall Station, set up in the 2009/10 season (white,
in foreground) and old tanks to be replaced (red, in background; photo: A. Nordt,
06.02.2010). ..............................................................................................................39
Fig. 30: New fuel pipelines connecting the fuel storage tanks with the station (photo: A.
Nordt, 27.02.2010). ...................................................................................................40
Fig. 31: Overview of areas affected by Chinese quarrying activities north of Great Wall
Station.......................................................................................................................40
Fig. 32: Area formerly thickly covered with moss, destroyed by quarrying; Great Wall Station
is in the background (photo: C. Braun, 25.12.2008). .................................................41
Fig. 33: Beach ridge that has been removed, in the eastern area of the Südpassage (photo:
A. Nordt, 25.12.2008); in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons, this quarried area was
substantially extended and deepened. ......................................................................42
Fig. 34: Number of summer visitors to the Priroda field hut, with the number of visits made
(records up to 17.02.2012). .......................................................................................43
Fig. 35: Outing by station members to the Priroda field hut in the 2008/09 season (photo:
C. Braun, 18.01.2009). ..............................................................................................43
Fig. 36: Refugio Collins (photo: A. Nordt, 28.12.2010). .........................................................44
Fig. 37: Chinese container in the south of the Fildes Peninsula (photo: C. Braun,
16.01.2010). ..............................................................................................................45
Fig. 38 a & b: Water damage inside the Chinese container (photos: C. Braun, 23.12. 2009 (a)
and 16.01.2010 (b))...................................................................................................45
Fig. 39 a & b: (a) Renovated and (b) largely unused huts at the large fuel tank farm
Neftebasa (photos: A. Nordt, 15.02.2011; C. Braun, 20.01.2010). .............................46
Fig. 40 a & b: Progressive decay of the hut at Kitezh Lake, (a) in December 2008 and (b) in
December 2009 (photos: A. Nordt, C. Braun). ...........................................................46
Fig. 41 a & b: Decaying huts, (a) hut in the Biologenbucht (07.12.2008), (b) container on the
beach south of Great Wall (photos: C. Braun, 23.12.2009). ......................................47
Fig. 42: Comparison of land surface use by buildings belonging to the different operators in
the Fildes Region. .....................................................................................................48
Fig. 43: Distribution of aerials, lighting facilities, navigational aids, etc. in the Fildes Region. 48
Fig. 44: Update of all waste dumps mapped on the Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island. ......50
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
vii
Fig. 45: Shares of the surface area covered by waste dumps, by station..............................50
Fig. 46: Waste distribution in the Fildes Peninsula Region in the seasons 2008/09 to
2011/12; data on areas with large amounts of waste are from Peter et al. (2008). ....51
Fig. 47 a & b: (a) Regurgitated skua food consisting exclusively of chillies (photo: A. Nordt,
24.02.2009) and (b) organic waste in the beach area, both found near Great Wall
station (photo: C. Braun, 16.01.2010). ......................................................................53
Fig. 48 a & b: Comparison of the state of the Chilean waste dump north of the runway in the
seasons 2003/04 (a) and 2011/12 (b) (photos: C. Braun, M. Stelter). ........................56
Fig. 49: Waste distribution in the southern Fildes Region, by station responsible. Only items
recorded after 2006 are presented. ...........................................................................57
Fig. 50: Chinese waste storage site in the 2008/09 season; Great Wall Station can be
distinguished in the background (photo: A. Nordt, 13.02.2009). ................................58
Fig. 51: Surface of the ground covered in pieces of wood and plastic after the start of waste
removal (photo: A. Nordt, 06.03.2009). .....................................................................58
Fig. 52 a & b: Traces of waste incineration in the open: (a) insulation material and paint cans,
15.01.2009 and (b) a fire extinguisher, 03.01.2009 (photo: C. Braun). ......................59
Fig. 53 a & b: Decaying huts at the edge of the Chinese station (photo: M. Stelter,
23.01.2012). ..............................................................................................................59
Fig. 54: Strong algae growth in the Kiteshbach, which carries the partly untreated wastewater
from Bellingshausen Station to Maxwell Bay (photo: S. Janowski, January 2011). ....62
Fig. 55: Mouth of the stream that carries wastewater in the Valle Grande, with clearly
recognisable local algae growth (photo: A. Nordt, 01.03.2009). ................................63
Fig. 56 a & b: Situation at the wastewater treatment facility behind the airport tower: (a)
damaged sewage container (photo: A. Nordt, January 2011); (b) noticeably vigorous
growth of algae (e.g. Prasiola crispa) and moss in the immediate vicinity of the
sewage system (photo: S. Janowski, January 2011). ................................................64
Fig. 57 a & b: Wastewater situation at Great Wall station: (a) clearly-visible biofilm at the
wastewater discharge point (photo: C. Braun, 25.12.2009); (b) strong algae growth in
a watercourse crossing the station grounds (photo: C. Braun, 15.01.2009). ..............64
Fig. 59 a & b: (a) Absorbent oil barriers in the mouth of Kiteshbach; on the right the oil film is
recognisable behind the oil barriers (photo: C. Braun, 31.12.2009), (b) snow
contaminated with diesel fuel is pushed into the sea on 21.12.2009 (photo: A. Nordt).
.................................................................................................................................67
Fig. 58: The diesel film in Ardley Cove is visible as a reflective area on the surface and
stretches a long way in the direction of Ardley Island (photo: C. Braun, 21.12.2009). 67
Fig. 60: (a) Oil barrier after contaminated snow has melted (photo: A. Nordt, 23.12.2010), (b)
visible oil contamination of the shore of Kitesh stream (photo: A. Nordt, 29.12.2010).
.................................................................................................................................68
Fig. 62 a & b: Oil contamination outside stations: (a) oil film on the Biologenbach on
29.01.2009 (photo: A. Nordt), (b) oil discharge into the Valle Grande caused by
pumping out the oil-contaminated airport lake (photo: A. Nordt, 09.02.2011). ...........69
Fig. 61: Oil and diesel contamination of soil and water on the Fildes Peninsula.
Contamination within station grounds is not represented. .........................................69
Fig. 63 a & b: (a) Oil-contaminated soil behind the Hostería (photo: A. Nordt, 02.01.2011), (b)
oil contaminated ground in the area of an old waste dump (photo: A. Nordt,
07.01.2010). ..............................................................................................................70
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
viii
Fig. 64: Oil film at the edge of Lago Uruguay lake following an accident involving a lorry
(photo: J. Esefeld, 28.01.2011). ................................................................................70
Fig. 65: Simplified representation of the varying frequencies of the occurrence of noise
disturbance in the Fildes Region, based on the distribution of the stations, the road
network, additional tyre tracks in the countryside, and the most heavily-used flight
routes. .......................................................................................................................71
Fig. 66: Number of days with flight activity in the Fildes Region, listed according to aircraft
type (Observation period: 10 Dec. - 26 Feb.; total figure cannot be obtained through
addition). ...................................................................................................................73
Fig. 67: Number of flight days with one or more active aircraft per day, as a percentage (N
total
= 370 flight days). ......................................................................................................74
Fig. 68: Number of flights observed over Ardley Island that were under the prescribed altitude
(610 m) or the horizontal distance of 460 m (in accordance with the management plan
of ASPA No. 150). .....................................................................................................75
Fig. 69 a & b: Routes of flights observed over Ardley Island, which were under the height
(610 m) or the horizontal distance of 460 m that are prescribed by the management
plan of ASPA No. 150: a Antarctic summer 2009/10, b - Antarctic summer 2011/12.
.................................................................................................................................76
Fig. 70: Flight movements at Tte. Marsh airport between 1997 and 2011, divided according
to the nationality of the operator (source: DGAC). .....................................................77
Fig. 71: Number of ship arrivals in Maxwell Bay by ship type and share of ship days (days
with at least one ship recorded, observation period in each season = 79 days), (*) one
additional cargo ship, (**) two additional fishing vessels. ...........................................78
Fig. 72: Frequency of ship days with one or more ships in Maxwell Bay, as a percentage
(N
total
= 408 days). .....................................................................................................79
Fig. 73: Sinking yacht "Mar Sem Fim" (photo: R. Eliseev) ....................................................80
Fig. 74: Mapped vehicle tracks on the Fildes Peninsula and on Ardley Island 2008/09-
2010/11. ....................................................................................................................81
Fig. 75 a & b: (a) Parallel quad bike tracks leading to a vegetation experiment, (b) damaged
vegetation on this route (photos: C. Braun, 22.12.2008). ..........................................82
Fig. 76: Tyre tracks on the eastern slope of Fossil Hill, caused by four-wheel-drive vehicles
(left of the photograph) and a larger vehicle (centre) (photo: C. Braun, 03.01.2010). 82
Fig. 77 a & b: Destroyed experimental equipment: (a) “open top chamber” with broken
Plexiglas wall (02.01.2010), (b) fallen marker posts and frayed marking tape from a
vegetation experiment (photos: A. Nordt, 12.01.2010). .............................................85
Fig. 78: Part of an experimental rig, which has been standing in the field since the early
1980s (photo: A. Nordt, 09.01.2011). ........................................................................85
Fig. 79: Clearly-visible marks from experimental equipment for measuring soil gas and
footprints in the moss, Ardley Island (photo: C. Braun, 12.01.2009). .........................86
Fig. 80: Route of the Antarctic Marathon by “Marathon Tours & Travel” on the Fildes
Peninsula in 2009 and 2011. .....................................................................................88
Fig. 81 a & b: (a) Starting point at the Uruguayan station Artigas, with red rubbish bags
containing the runners’ personal property items. In the background are the two tents
with the toilets. (b) Detour from the main road to the Collins Glacier, with limited
vegetation cover (photos: A. Nordt, 10.03.2009). ......................................................89
Fig. 82: Station members as visitors in the penguin colony on Ardley Island (photo: C. Braun,
11.01.2009). ..............................................................................................................90
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
ix
Fig. 83: Typical example of a station member posing for a photo (photo: C. Braun,
25.12.2009). ..............................................................................................................90
Fig. 84: Snowkiting on the Collins Glacier; in the foreground the Fildes Peninsula can be
seen (front right: Lago Uruguay); in the centre is Ardley Island and in the background
Nelson Island (photo: C. Braun, 13.12.2008).............................................................91
Fig. 86: Chinese vehicle on Ardley Island (photo: S. Lisovski, 24.01.2009). .........................94
Fig. 85: Chinese vehicles crossing the Ardley Isthmus (photo: M. Kopp, 24.01.2009). .........94
Fig. 87: Detailed representation of the source of drinking water for the Uruguayan station
Artigas, incl. a potential 50 m protection zone proposed by us. ............................... 108
Fig. 88: Detailed representation of the sources of drinking water for the stations
Bellingshausen, Frei, Escudero, the Chilean navel base and the airport, incl. a
potential 50 m protection zone proposed by us. ...................................................... 109
Fig. 89: Detailed representation of the source of drinking water for the Chinese station Great
Wall, incl. a potential 50 m protection zone proposed by us. ................................... 109
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
x
List of tables
Tab. 1: General overview of bird species recorded in the Fildes Region to date (amended
according to Peter et al., 2008). ................................................................................. 8
Tab. 2: Breeding success (fledglings for each brood started) of the penguins on Ardley Island
compared to the average over a long period (see Peter et al., 2008, Chapter 4.5.1.).
.................................................................................................................................10
Tab. 3: Sightings of Arctic terns in the study area in the seasons 2008/09 to 2011/12. .........21
Tab. 4: Stations of the Fildes Peninsula (source: http://www.comnap.aq/facilities, accessed:
10.06.2009, site no longer active). ............................................................................30
Tab. 5: Updated scale of the risk potential of current human activities in the Fildes Region,
amended according to Peter et al. (2008) (in bold = amended assessment for 2008-
2012). .......................................................................................................................99
Tab. 6: Updated estimate of the current and future environmental risk (Jezek & Tipton-
Everett, 1995), amended according to Peter et al. (2008). In bold = amended
assessment for 2008-2012. Increases in environmental risks in the future are shown
in red. ...................................................................................................................... 101
Tab. 7: Results of the monthly seal count on the Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island, shown
by season (- = no count). ............................................................................................ I
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
xi
List of abbreviations
APASI
Antarctic Peninsula Advanced Science Information System
APECS
Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
ASMA
Antarctic Specially Managed Area
ASOC
Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition
ASPA
Antarctic Specially Protected Area
ATCM
Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting
ATS
Antarctic Treaty Secretariat
AWI
The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven
AUG
Gesetz zur Ausführung des Umweltschutzprotokolls vom 4. Oktober 1991 zum
Antarktis-Vertrag (Umweltschutzprotokoll-Ausführungsgesetz)
= German Law for implementing the EP into German jurisdiction
BP
Breeding pairs
CAA
Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration
Capuerto
Estación Marítima Antártica, before: Capitanía de Puerto de Bahía Fildes de la
Marina de Chile
CCAMLR
Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
CEE
Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation
CEP
Committee for Environmental Protection
CHINARE
Chinese National Arctic/Antarctic Research Expedition
COMNAP
Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes
DGAC
Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil
EIA
Environmental Impact Assessment
EP
Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty
FAB
Força Aérea Brasileira
FACH
Fuerza Aérea de Chile
FAU
Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya
GIS
Geographic Information System
GLONASS
Globalnaja Nawigazionnaja Sputnikowaja Sistema
(Russian Global Navigation Satellite System)
GPS
Global Positioning System
HSM
Historic Sites and Monuments
IAATO
International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators
IAU
Instituto Antártico Uruguayo
IEE
Initial Environmental Evaluation
IMO
International Maritime Organization
INACH
Instituto Antártico Chileno
IPY
International Polar Year
IUCN
International Union for Conservation of Nature
IWG
International Working Group about Possibilities for Environmental Management
of Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island
KGI
King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
KGIS
SCAR King George Island GIS Project
KOPRI
Korea Polar Research Institute
MARPOL
International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships
PANC
Patrulla Antártica Naval Combinada
PBDE
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
RAE
Russian Antarcic Expedition
SAR
Search and Rescue
SCAR
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
SPA
Specially Protected Area
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
xii
SSSI
Site of Special Scientific Interest
TLS
Transponder Landing System
UBA
Federal Environment Agency, Dessau, Germany (Umweltbundesamt, Dessau -
Roßlau)
WAP
Western Antarctic Peninsula
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
xiii
Place names used
In order to avoid ambiguity of use, the following report uses the place names listed in the
SCAR Antarctic Composite Gazetteer SCARCGA (http://data.aad.gov.au/aadc/gaz/scar/
). If
a place was not listed in the Gazetteer it was given an original name. Descriptions of places
were also taken from SCARCGA, where available (in italics). Positional information for the
locations named is taken from the SCAR KGIS project (
www.kgis.scar.org/mapviewer, site
no longer active).
Name
Description
(in italics if from SCARCGA)
SCARCGA
Ref. No.
Admiralty Bay
Irregular bay, 5 mi wide at its entrance between Demay
Point and Martins Head, indenting the S coast of King
George Island for 10 mi in the South Shetland Islands. The
name appears on a map of 1822 by Capt. George Powell, a
British sealer, and is now established in international usage.
86
Ardley Cove
A cove that lies N of Ardley Island (q.v.) in Maxwell Bay,
Kin
g George Island. It was named "Caleta Ardley" by an
Argentine expedition (c. 1957) in association with Ardley
Island.
477
Ardley Island
Island on W side of Maxwell Bay, King George Island.
Charted by Discovery Investigations in 1935; named Ardley
Peninsu
la after Lieut. Richard Arthur Blyth Ardley, RNR
(1906-42), of Discovery II (GBR chart 1935 & gaz. 1955).
Shown to be an island by FIDASE air photography, 1956;
renamed Ardley Island (GBR gaz. 1960).
Island 1 mi long, lying in Maxwell Bay close off the SW
end
of King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands.
Charted as a peninsula in 1935 by DI personnel of the
Discovery II and named for Lt. R.A.B. Ardley, RNR, officer
on the ship in 1929-31 and 1931-
33. Air photos have since
shown that the feature is an island.
478
Ardley Isthmus
Connection between Fildes Peninsula and Ardley Island,
passable at low tide.
Baliza Uruguaya
Lighted beacon tower.
15227
Biologenbucht
A bay on the west coast south of Gemel Peaks.
1345
Braillard Point
Point forming the NE end of Ardley Island, off the SW end
of King George Island in the South Shetland Islands.
Charted and named by DI personnel on the in 1931-
33 and
1933-35.
1746
Collins Glacier
Part of the King George Island ice cap bordering the Fildes
Peninsula on the north.
Collins Harbor
Bay indenting the S coast of King George Island
immediately E of Fildes Peninsula, in the South Shetland
Islands. The name appears on a chart by Scottish geologist
David Ferguson, who roughly charted the bay in 1913-14,
but may reflect an earlier naming.
2847
Dar Point
Northernmost point of Ardley Island.
Dart Island
The largest of several small islands lying in the W entrance
to Fildes Strait in the South Shetland Islands. This island
and the two islands to the E and S of it were first surveyed
and named collectively 70 Islets by DI personnel on the
Discovery II in 1934-
35, because at least two of them were
3337
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
xiv
Name
Description
(in italics if from SCARCGA)
SCARCGA
Ref. No.
reported to be 70 ft high. The name was rejected by the
UK-APC in 1961 and a new name substituted for the largest
island in the group. Dart Island is named for the British
sealing vessel Dart from London, which visi
ted the South
Shetland Islands in about 1823.
Davies Heights
An elevated area, roughly elliptical in form and 1 mi long,
rising to 150 m in north-
central Fildes Peninsula, King
George Island. The feature has steep sides and an
undulating top which rise 60 m above the surrounding plain.
Named by the UK-
APC for Robert E.S. Davies, BAS
geologist who worked in this area, 1975-76.
3374
Diomedea Island
Small island lying in Ardley Cove, Fildes Peninsula, King
George Island. The SovAE called the feature Ostrov
Albatros or Albatross Island in 1968, but the English form
duplicates a name in the Bay of Isles. To avoid confusion,
the UK-APC recommended a new name in 1979; Diomedea
is the generic name for several species of albatross.
3659
Drake Coast
West coast of Fildes Peninsula adjacent to Drake Passage.
Drake Passage
The stretch of sea between Tierra del Fuego and the
Antarctic Penins
ula bordering the Fildes Peninsula on the
west.
3862
Drinking water
lake
Lake in the western area of the Bellingshausen research
station that is fed from Kitezh Lake.
Exotic Point
Point on the SW side of Fildes Peninsula, King George
Island, forming the S entrance point to Geographers Cove.
The approved name is a translation of the Russian "Mys
Ekzoticheskiy" applied by SovAE geologists in 1968. The
name presumably refers to the different nature of the rocks
from those adjoining the point.
4409
Faro Point
Rocky point on northeast beach of Ardley Island, 500 m
west of Braillard Point.
Fildes (Peninsula)
Peninsula 4.5 mi long, forming the SW extremity of King
George Island, in the South Shetland Islands. Named from
association with nearby Fildes Strait by the UK-
APC in
1960.
4587
Fildes Peninsula
Region
= Fildes Region
The area including the Fildes Peninsula and the associated
islands; Ardley, Diomedia, Geologists, Two Summit, and all
islands of the Fildes Strait and on t he west coast of the
Fildes Peninsula.
Fildes Strait
Strait which extends in a general E-W direction between
King George Island and Nelson Island, in the South
Shetland Islands. This strait has been known to sealers in
the area since about 1822, but at that time it appeared
on
the charts as Field s Strait. Probably named for Robert
Fildes, a British sealer of that period.
4589
Flat Top Peninsula
Small, flat-topped peninsula 1 mi N of the SW extremity of
King George Island, South Shetland Islands. The peninsula
was named on
a chart based upon a survey by DI
personnel of the Discovery II during 1935.
4692
Fossil Hill
Low hill, E-W orientation approx. 1.5 km W of Ardley Island
isthmus, Byers Peninsula, King George Island, South
17014
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
xv
Name
Description
(in italics if from SCARCGA)
SCARCGA
Ref. No.
Shetland Islands. The name was in common use in
geological literature (Brazilian, Chilean and Chinese) from
the 1980's. (APC, 2001).
Geographers Cove
A cove between Flat Top Peninsula and Exotic Point on the
SW side of Fildes Peninsula, King George Island. The
approved name is a translation of th
e Russian "Bukhta
Geografov" (geographers bay), applied in 1968 following
SovAE surveys from nearby Bellingshausen Station.
5238
Geologists Island
An island, 0.25 mi long, lying S of Ardley Island in the
entrance of Hydrographers Cove, Fildes Peninsula, King
George Island. The approved name is a translation of the
Russian Ostrov Geologov (geologists island), applied in
1968 following SovAE surveys from Bellingshausen Station.
5243
Gradzinski Cove
A cove between Flat Top Peninsula and Exotic Point on the
SW side of Fildes Peninsula, King George Island. The
approved name is a translation of the Russian "Bukhta
Geografov" (geographers bay), applied in 1968 following
SovAE surveys from nearby Bellingshausen Station.
5567
Halfthree Point
Point forming the SE end of Fildes Peninsula, King George
Island, in the South Shetland Islands. Charted and named
by DI personnel on the Discovery II in 1935.
5890
Jasper Point
The NE entrance point to Norma Cove, Fildes Peninsula,
King George Island. The point is bounded by
cliffs of black
and buff rocks, in which occur veins of red and green
jasper. So named by UK-APC following geological work by
BAS, 1975-76.
7083
King George
Island
Island 43 mi long and 16 mi wide at its broadest part, lying
E of Nelson Island in the Sou
th Shetland Islands. Named
about 1820 for the then reigning sovereign of England.
7527
Kiteshbach/
Station Creek
A creek that flows SE from Lake Kitezh into Ardley Cove,
Fildes Peninsula, King George Island. The name derives
from the proximity of the
SovAE Bellingshausen Station,
erected 1968, which is located just E of the creek. The
approved name, Station Creek, is a translation of the
Russian "Ruch'ye Statsionnyy."
7586/
13954
Kitezh Lake
A lake 0.3 mi long near the centre of Fildes Peninsula, King
George Island. The largest of many lakes on the peninsula,
it has been used as a reservoir by the SovAE
Bellingshausen Station and the Chilean Rodolfo Marsh
Station. The name is adapted from the Russian "Ozero
Kitezh" used in a 1973 geographical report by L.S.
Govorukha and I.M. Simonov. Named after Kitezh, an
ancient Russian city of legendary fame.
7587
Lago Uruguay
Place from where the drinking water for the Artigas Station
is taken.
15226
Laguna Las
Estrellas
Lake 300 m east of the buildings of Villa Las Estrellas.
Maxwell Bay
Bay 10 mi long, lying between King George Island and
Nelson Island, in the South Shetland Islands. The main
entrance to the bay is at the SE side and is wide open;
Fildes Strait on the NW side is encumbered by rocks and is
9188
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
xvi
Name
Description
(in italics if from SCARCGA)
SCARCGA
Ref. No.
only navigable by boats. The name Maxwells Straits was
given to this bay and to Fildes Strait by British sealing
captain James Weddell in 1822-
24, for Lt. Francis Maxwell
who served with Weddell in 1813-14. The name was altered
and limited to the feature here described by the UK-
APC in
1960.
Meseta la Cruz
A hill south east of the Chilean station.
Nebles Point
Point forming the W side of the entrance to Collins Harbor
in the SW part of King George Island, South Shetland
Islands. On his chart of 1825, James Weddell, Master, RN,
applied the name Nebles Harbour to Collins Harbor, or
possibly to an anchorage close N of Ardley Island; the detail
of this part of his map cannot be interpreted with certainty.
Nebles Point was given by the UK-APC in 1960 in ord
er to
preserve Weddell’s naming in the area. The point lies
between the two possible positions of his name.
10121
Neftebasa
Coastal area in Rocky Cove where a number of fuel tanks
stand (SCARCGA 12273).
Nelson Island
Island 12 mi long and 7 mi wide, lying SW of King George
Island in the South Shetland Islands. The name dates back
to at least 1821 and is now established in international
usage.
10143
Nordwestplattform
Lowland to the north and east of Davies Heights
10362
Potter Peninsula
Low ice-free peninsula between Potter Cove and Stranger
Point in SW King George Island, South Shetland Islands.
Named "Península Potter" in association with the cove by
Chilean geologists Roberto Araya and Francisco Hervé,
1966, following field work at Potter Cove. The
English form
of the name has been approved.
11525
Punta Torres
Rocky outcrop on the northwest Drake Coast
Skuabucht
Bay on t he north west coast between Punta Winkel and
Punta Escobar.
13455
South Shetland
Islands
A group of more than twenty islands and islets lying
northward of Antarctic Peninsula and extending about 280
mi from Smith Island and Snow Island in the WSW to
Elephant Island and Clarence Island in the ENE The islands
were sighted by Capt. William Smith of the brig Williams in
February 1819 while cruising close to the northern edge of
the islands. The name "New South Britain" was used
briefly, but was soon changed to South Shetland Islands.
The name is now established international usage.
13740
Südberge
Upland south of the Südpassage.
14200
Südpassage
Lowland area between hills that leads from the east to the
west coasts in the southern Fildes Peninsula.
14203
Suffield Point
The SW entrance point of Norma Cove, Fildes Peninsula,
King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands.
14207
Two Summit
Island
Small island marked by two prominent summits, lying at the
E entrance to Fildes Strait in the South Shetland Islands. It
was named Two Hummock Island by DI personnel following
their survey in 1935, but this name has been rejected
15138
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
xvii
Name
Description
(in italics if from SCARCGA)
SCARCGA
Ref. No.
because of probable confusion with Two Hummock Island
in the N entrance to Gerlache Strait. Two Summit Island,
equally descriptive of the feature, was recommended by the
UK-APC in 1954.
Valle Grande
Valley leading to Biologenbucht, also named Grande Valley
(SCARCGA 18229).
Valle Klotz
A valley in the north-west of Fildes Peninsula draining from
the Collins Glacier to Drake Passage, also named Klotz
Valley (SCARCGA 18230).
Windbach
Stream trough the Südpassage
16129
Withem Island
Island lying off the NW side of Nelson Island in the South
Shetland Islands. Named by the UK-
APC in 1961 after
Nicholas Withem Master of the American sealing vessel
Governor Brooks from Salem, MA, who visited the South
Shetland Islands in 1820-
21. Originally proposed and
approved
as "Withen Island," the name was amended in
1990 to agree with the correct spelling of the personal
name.
16169
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
1
1 Introduction
The Fildes Peninsula and neighbouring Ardley Island are part of the largest ice-free areas in
the maritime Antarctic region. This region is characterised by its comparatively high
biodiversity. At the same time, this area is home to the highest density of scientific stations
used all year round in the whole of the Antarctic. Diverse activities in the fields of research
and logistics, but also tourism, are putting a considerable strain on the area and are leading
to a conflict of interests between the various user groups and the nature conservation and
environmental protection measures according to international law (cf. Protocol on
Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty). Previous management measures (e.g.
ASPA designations) have only partly addressed the complexity of human activities in the
Fildes Region. This has resulted in there being a g reat need for research into the Fildes
Peninsula area. Within the context of the German environmental research project, “Risk
Assessment for the Fildes Peninsula and A rdley Island, and dev elopment of management
plans for their designation as Specially Protected or Specially Managed Areas”
(FKZ 203 13 124), and with the involvement of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation,
the Federal Foreign Office, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (and
other parties), an initial contribution was made to a possible designation of the Fildes Region
(the Fildes Peninsula along with the surrounding small islands and r ocks, including Ardley
Island) as an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA). For this purpose a scientific GPS-
and GIS-based study was carried out of the biotic and abiotic parameters of this area in order
to create a database, and human activities and environmental effects in the Fildes Region
were quantified (Peter et al., 2008). This included the following studies:
Over three field seasons (2003/04 to 2005/06), the terrestrial environmental situation and
that of areas near to the coast were analysed. By mapping waste outside the stations and
examining current and old waste disposal sites, further spreading of what were sometimes
large amounts of waste was verified. In addition, the accumulation of marine debris on the
beaches constitutes a further hazard to Antarctic seals and birds.
Information regarding waste management, fuel requirements and wastewater treatment was
gathered through questioning station members and s cientists in the field. In spite of the
efforts made to avoid any oil contamination in the stations, numerous cases of contamination
of the ground surface and of some lakes were recorded.
In addition, building work carried out during this first period of research (the building of a
church and the expansion of the airport) and its effects on the environment were
documented, and s upplemented with data relating to the use of space by the individual
station grounds. This was done us ing detailed information relating to the field huts and
containers in the area.
Sources of gas and noi se emissions, as well as the frequency and purpose of traffic
movements, were also determined. It was shown that traffic movements were not limited to
the 13.4 km road network between the stations, but that they had extended to areas beyond
the roads, primarily in the past, and had c aused considerable damage to vegetation. Travel
by station staff in the winter was primarily motorised due to snow cover, thereby representing
a potential source of disturbance to seals at their pupping beaches and haul-outs along the
coast.
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
2
Air traffic, particularly helicopter flights for logistical purposes, increased steadily during the
period of research. The minimum distances from animal colonies recommended by the
Antarctic Treaty Parties were regularly and c learly transgressed, particularly where nesting
southern giant petrel and penguins in the Fildes Strait and Ardley Island area were
concerned.
Due to the increase in logistical and tourist activities in the Fildes Region, the number of
ships arriving at Maxwell Bay approximately doubled between 2003 and 2006. Supply ships
and cruise ships were the most prevalent.
Population figures were compiled for all breeding bird species in the area along with
distribution maps. Irrespective of sharp annual fluctuations, a severe decline in populations of
chinstrap and Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica, P. adeliae) was recorded. The
populations of southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus), known to be very sensitive to
disturbance, have recuperated over the last few years on islands far away from stations.
However, breeding success is clearly below the levels determined in the 1980s. Regularly
updated population figures for Antarctic seals coming ashore to moult are also available.
A vegetation survey of an area covering 5.4 km
2
identified sensitive areas which were
already damaged by tracks made by feet or wheels. The continual proliferation of Antarctic
hair grass (Deschampsia antarctica) due to climate warming was documented, along with the
first appearance of non-native species introduced to the region, such as various grasses.
In addition to the occurrence of fossils in ASPA No. 125 already known about, two further
areas rich in fossils were mapped. This led to a change in the shape and size of the area of
this ASPA when it was revised (ATS, 2009d).
Furthermore, fossil beach ridges potentially of scientific interest can be found along the coast
of the research area. However, due to their suitability as a source of building materials, these
are still under acute threat of destruction.
The spatial and temporal overlapping of scientific field work, station operations and leisure
behaviour, as well as the transportation of people and f reight, were regularly observed.
These factors represent a risk to flora and fauna through their cumulative effects.
The decision on whether an area is designated as an ASMA is made by the Antarctic Treaty
Parties at their annual meeting (ATCM). The international working group (IWG) specially set
up for the Fildes Region within the CEP, under German-Chilean leadership, is charged with
developing a management system for the various user groups (research, logistics, tourism,
for example) in the Fildes Region. Both the ASMA designation process and the introduction
of alternative management measures proved to be protracted.
This situation therefore requires the availability of current data, so a s econd project was
assigned to the University of Jena by the German Federal Environment Agency. The aim of
the follow-up project proposed and carried out in the summers of 2008/2009 to 2011/2012
was therefore the continuation of research into the environmental state of the region in order
to keep the scientific basis for the designation of the area up to date and thus usable during
the discussion process at an international level (ATCM). Since the end of the forerunner
project, new forms of traffic, documented changes in the leisure behaviour of station
members and widespread current construction activities are clear indicators of the need for
further research. During the project period there was a fairly large spillage of diesel fuel, the
visable effects of which were included in the research. Also integrated in the research was
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
3
the intensification of the use of beach ridges for building material, which are very valuable as
climate archives, along with the severe effects of increased visitor activities by station
members on the population development and breeding success of the southern giant petrel.
Two publications resulted from the two studies in 2003-2006 and 2008 -2012:Braun et al.,
2012; Braun et al., accepted.
The project required close cooperation with scientists from other countries, as well as with all
the nations represented on the Fildes Peninsula, all of whom were informed of the plans as
early as possible and were requested to cooperate. This was particularly relevant in terms of
investigating current data on infrastructure, traffic, research, etc. We extend our thanks to the
managers and m embers of the stations who provided us with information regarding these
points.
There has been close cooperation with the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute
and with the Russian Antarctic Expedition since the 1980s, mainly at a logistical level.
Special thanks in this respect to the directors of these organisations in St. Petersburg,
V. V. Lukin and V. L. Martyanov, as well as to the station managers at the Russian research
station Bellingshausen, where we were guests during the summer months.
Furthermore, there was close cooperation with Russian scientists (including Mikhail Andreev,
Russian Academy of Sciences, Komarov Institute, and Evgeny Abakumov, Departement of
Soil Science and Soil Ecology, both University of St. Petersburg), as well as with colleagues
from Korea (Jeong-Hoon Kim, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon).
Within Germany, mention must be made of the excellent cooperation with the Federal
Environment Agency (Fritz Hertel and Heike Herata).
Additionally, the AWI of Bremerhaven supported us as always with polar clothing and with
aspects of the logistical organisation.
Finally, our thanks go to our colleagues Matthias Kopp, Simeon Lisovski, Jan Esefeld, Anne
Fröhlich and Tobias Gütter for their support in the fieldwork and in providing data.
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
4
2 Current state of the protected areas and of the values to be
protected
2.1 General
The Fildes Region currently includes four designated historical monuments (Historic Sites
and Monuments (HSM)) and t wo protected areas (Antarctic Specially Protected Areas
(ASPA)).
Despite the designation and recognition of the HSMs and A SPAs of the Fildes Region at
international level, there are clear shortcomings in knowledge at the stations in the area of
the protected areas and of the guidelines relating to the management plans (ATS, 2009d, e).
Only three of the stations had current versions of the management plans for ASPA No. 125
and No. 150 at their disposal. The aim of having this information available through the
display of the plans at the stations is currently not being fulfilled.
2.2 Historic sites and monuments
A Polish plaque to the south of the Chilean and Russian stations is a reminder of the landing
of the first Polish Antarctic expeditions (HSM No. 50, Fig. 1). Another historical monument is
a monolith commemorating the opening of Great Wall station on 20 Fe bruary 1985 ( HSM
No. 52). A memorial to the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, erected in 1999 at Frei station,
was also awarded the status of an HSM in 2007 (HSM No. 82, 62°12’01’’ S, 58°57’42’’ W,
Chile, 2007c). A plaque was added t o the memorial in 2011 (ATS, 2011a; Chile, 2011).
Further details on t he three monuments can be f ound on t he “List of Historic Sites and
Monuments” (CEP, 2010). However, the list contains discrepancies regarding the
coordinates for HSM No. 50 and No. 52. The correct details are 62°12’08’’ S, 58°57’34’’ W
for HSM No. 50 and 62°13’03’ S, 58°57’42’’ W for HSM No. 52.
Following a proposal from China, an additional HSM was designated in 2011 (HSM, No. 86,
62°13′4″ S, 58°57′44″ W), placing the first Great Wall research station building under
protection (ATS, 2011b; China, 2011).
The remains of a 19
th
-century shipwreck not far from Artigas station (Uruguay, 2004) are not
currently protected. The general regulation of putting artefacts predating 1958 and no t
previously discovered or registered under protection is not effective in this case as the
regulation is limited to a period of three years following discovery (ATS, 2001b). Current
investigations of the extent of the wreck include depth sounder, sonar and f ilm recordings
(Uruguay, 2010a). The date and provenance of the wreck are determined through laboratory
analyses of wood samples. In accordance with Resolution 3 (ATS, 2009a), Uruguay is
striving to have the wreck put under protection. It has also drawn attention to other objects
that may be historically relevant (Fig. 1).
Along the coast of the Fildes Peninsula, archaeologists indicated a variety of artefacts from
seal hunting and whaling times, along with some artefacts of a later date (Fig. 1; Pearson &
Stehberg, 2006; Chile, 2007a; Stehberg, 2008; Stehberg et al., 2008). Although the project
members did not systematically record historical places or artefacts, numerous other
artefacts are known, which could be pos sibly be of historical significance (Fig. 1; Braun &
Lüdecke, 2012).
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
5
All the historical artefacts mentioned have no protection status as yet, making them
vulnerable to inadvertent destruction due t o ignorance (Pearson, 2008; Stehberg, 2008;
Pearson et al., 2010; Roura, 2010; Pearson & Stehberg, 2011). The essential precondition
for the preservation of historical objects in the region is that all findings must be
comprehensively documented. Although Chile has made initial efforts in this direction, such
records are not yet available (Chile, 2007a; Pearson et al., 2010).
2.3 ASPA No. 125 Fildes Peninsula
The first act of putting the rich fossil occurrences of the Fildes Peninsula under protection
took place in 1966 as SPA No. 12 (ATS, 2009d). Despite names having been changed (SSSI
No. 5, ASPA No. 125) there was no change to the originally designated zones A (Fossil Hill)
and B (west of Suffield Point). However, there were later palaeontological investigations and
sites of fossil discoveries outside these zones (Poole et al., 2001; Peter et al., 2008;
Sec. 4.1.1.1.), making a review of the boundaries of the protected area necessary. At the
ATCM XXX in New Delhi, Chile accordingly submitted a proposal (Chile, 2007b). In the final
version of the management plan which came into effect in 2009, both original zones were
amended (to 125a and 125b) and six further zones were added: the edge of the Collins
Glacier (125c), Halfthree Point (125d), Suffield Point (125e), Jasper Point (125f, called Fossil
Point in the management plan), Gradzinski Cove (125g), and Skuabucht (125h, called Skuas
Cove in the management plan) (Fig. 2; ATS, 2009d). Three of these newly added zones
provide valuable insights into the evolution of the palaeoenvironment of the west Antarctic
during the Upper Cretaceous period. In expanding the protected area, in particular the quality
and the uniqueness of the fossils were taken into account, with greater value being placed on
information in situ. During revision little account was taken of Peter et al. (2008, Chapter
Fig. 1: Locations of the four
HSMs
and other historical finds
on
the Fildes Peninsula
(amended according to (
1)
Chile,
2007
, (2) Stehberg et al., 2008 ,
(3)
Stehberg, 2008 and
Uruguay,
2011
, * own data.
Coordinates of
sites w
ere partly corrected
compared to
the original data
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
6
6.3.2.5.) and i ts call for the inclusion of mineral occurrences, which are also subject to
intensified exploitation by souvenir hunters (Sec. 3.4.2.3 & 3.4.3). The beach ridges, which
are not only valuable for palaeoclimatic reasons, were similarly given little consideration. The
beach ridge system at the eastern exit of the Südpassage, which is particularly highly valued
for its scientific importance (Barsch et al., 1985; Peter et al., 2008 Chapter 4.4.2.), has now
been irretrievably destroyed, in part due to the removal of materials on a massive scale for
construction purposes (Sec. 3.2.1.2).
2.4 ASPA No. 150 Ardley Island
Ardley Island, off the coast of the Fildes Peninsula, is distinguished by a high diversity of
nesting seabirds and by extensive rich plant cover by maritime Antarctic standards. Based on
its scientific importance resulting from this, the island was first placed under protection as
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) No. 33 in 1991 (ATS, 1991). Of note in this protected
area was the enclosed visitor zone, stretching along the island’s northern beach originally
from Dar Point to 400 m east of Faro Point. Following two extensions of its protected status
(ATS, 2001a, 2005a), a revised management plan came into effect in 2009 (ATS, 2009e).
This involved the visitor zone being greatly reduced in size. It now extends over 500 m,
between Faro and B raillard Point. The visitor zone was also separated from the protected
area and t herefore no l onger forms a par t of it. Entering the visitor zone from the sea is
possible without any special permission under the limitations of the Visitor Site Guidelines
(Chile & Argentina, 2011), while an appropriate permit from the national authorities is
required for entering the ASPA and must be carried on entering the protected area.
Observations over past years have shown that these regulations have been v iolated on
numerous occasions (Sec. 3.3.3, 3.4.2.3 & 3.4.3). In addition, the management plan’s
Fig. 2: Locations of the protected
areas
ASPA No. 125 and No. 150
in
the Fildes Region.
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
7
overflight guidelines were amended in line with those of Resolution 2 (ATS, 2004) so that a
minimum vertical distance of 610 m and a m inimum horizontal distance of 460 m became
compulsory. However, transgressions of these minimum distances can still be regularly
observed, though in decreasing numbers (Sec. 3.3.1 & 3.4.3).
The current environmental situation and proposals for the management of the Fildes Peninsula Region
8
3 Current Environmental Situation (Results and Discussion)
3.1 Fauna and Flora
3.1.1 Birds
In the 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011 /12 seasons the numbers of breeding birds,
visitors and m igrants were determined in the Fildes Region, using the methodology
described in Peter et al. (2008, Chapter 3.4.1.; Tab. 1).
Tab. 1: General overview of bird species recorded in the Fildes Region to date (amended according to
Peter et al., 2008).
Familie Art Status
Spheniscidae
Adélie penguin - Pygoscelis adeliae
Chinstrap penguin - Pygoscelis antarctica
Gentoo penguin - Pygoscelis papua
Emperor penguin - Aptenodytes forsteri
King penguin - Aptenodytes patagonicus
Macaroni penguin - Eudyptes chrysolophus
Rockhopper penguin - Eudyptes chrysocome
Breeding bird
Breeding bird
Breeding bird
Visitor
Visitor (Moult)
Visitor (Moult)
Visitor (Moult)
Diomedeidae
Light-mantled sooty albatross - Phoebetria palpebrata
Wandering albatross - Diomedea exulans
Black-browed albatross - Diomedea melanophris
Breeding bird
Visitor
Visitor
Procellariidae
Cape petrel - Daption capense
Southern giant petrel - Macronectes giganteus
Southern fulmar - Fulmarus glacialoides
Soft-plumaged petrel - Pterodroma mollis
Kerguelen petrel - Pterodroma brevirostris
Blue petrel - Halobaena caerulea
Snow petrel - Pagodroma nivea
Antarctic prion - Pachyptyla desolata
Atlantic petrel - Pterodroma incerta
Antarctic petrel - Thalassoica antarctica
Breeding bird
Breeding bird
Visitor / Migrant
Visitor
Visitor
Visitor
Visitor / Migrant
Visitor
Visitor
Migrant