Bong-ahm is Korea's the only tidal flat located in a trading port and part of an estuary stretching from the areas of Bong-ahm Bridge of Masan Bay to the junction of Changwon and Namcheon Streams.
Until the 1960s, Masan Bay was a pristine vacationing place and even had trains reserved exclusively for tourists coming from Seoul. That, however, changed with the establishment of industrial and housing complexes that were carried out by reclaiming tidal flat areas in Masan and Changwon in the 1960s. The self-cleansing ability of Masan Bay was lost, and the ecosystem of Bong-ahm Tidal Flat was seriously damaged.
In 1999, a businessman announced his to reclaim Bong-ahm Tidal Flat for a factory and this caused Masan Regional Maritime Affairs & Port Office and environmental organizations to suggest the construction of an ecology center for the wise use and conservation of it. The center opened its door in 2001 with the help of students, citizens, civic organizations, the media, corporations and governments of Masan and Changwon.
Such effort and attention resulted in a gradual decrease in the amount of pollutants released into Masan Bay and recovered the bay's self-cleansing ability. Now Bong-ahm Tidal Flat is inhabited by reed beds and sundry halophytes, and these plants are home to lugworms, crabs, fishes and birds. Each season also brings a variety of migratory birds to the tidal flat.
The Bong-ahm Tidal Flat Ecology Center is significant in that it is a product of the cooperation among many groups of people who united under the common goal of reviving the coastal wetland deteriorated from industrialization. The center not only serves as a place where local residents can experience nature in the city but also educates the youth about marine ecology.