Seine Estuary

July 2004

The area of intertidal mudflats available to overwintering shorebirds in the Seine estuary decreased throughout the 20th century due to land reclamation and to the development of the port at Le Havre. Further loss of intertidal feeding areas will result from an extension of the port at Le Havre, known as Port2000.


Would the loss of intertidal mudflats, and the increase in disturbance, resulting from Port2000 affect the numbers of shorebirds surviving the winter in good condition? If so, would a proposed area of mitigation, changing marshland back into mudflat, be sufficient to maintain present-day levels of mortality.


A model was developed incorporating the three main shorebird species found on the Seine (dunlin, oystercatcher and curlew) and five invertebrate prey species. Bird count data were provided by the Groupe Ornithologique Normand and invertebrate biomass data by the Cellule de Suivi du Littoral Haut Normand. The model accurately predicted the distribution of shorebirds around the estuary in winter. Simulations of the effect of Port2000 and the proposed mitigation area are ongoing.



Funding and Collaboration


Related Paper:

Durell, S. E. A. le V. dit, Stillman, R. A., Triplet, P., Aulert, C., Biot, D. O. dit, Bouchet, A., Duhamel, S., Mayot, S. & Goss-Custard, J. D. (2005) Modelling the efficacy of proposed mitigation areas for shorebirds: a case study on the Seine estuary, France. Biological Conservation, 123, 67-77.