Yellow river delta protection drive stepped up

By Sun Shangwu,Li Jing and Zhao Ruixue| (China Daily)| Updated : 2023-05-09

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Water replenishment and conservation efforts paying off

As a chilly spring breeze lightly brushed his tanned face, Wang Lidong walked around the Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve in Dongying, Shandong province.

He checked water conservation projects and also the water level in the wetlands — part of a day's work for Wang, who has been involved with protecting the reserve for three decades.

"The environment at the reserve has significantly improved over the years. It is now home to many birds, so all the hard work has been worthwhile," said Wang, an engineer working on the wetland restoration project at the reserve, which is situated on a large expanse of wetlands in the Yellow River Delta.

The river, China's second longest, zigzags its way through a plateau blanketed with fine soil. It carries millions of metric tons of soil east every year, some of it reaching the estuary, where the waterway flows into the Bohai Sea in Dongying, forming the wetlands.

President Xi Jinping has visited the nine provinces and autonomous regions along the river, and during his trips, he emphasized the importance of ecological conservation and the concept that "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets".

In October 2021, Xi inspected the Yellow River estuary, including the reserve in Dongying. He checked the waterway's tributaries, the wetlands' environment and learned about ecological protection and high-quality development in the Yellow River Basin.

"The Yellow River is our mother river, and conservation is the precondition. We must make unremitting efforts to protect it," Xi said during an inspection visit to the estuary.

The estuary wetlands, typical of those found elsewhere in the world, include lakes, swamps and tidal flats.

In following Xi's concept of ecological civilization, Wang said the work carried out in Dongying has focused mainly on protecting and restoring the wetlands, and acts as a model for the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature.

In recent years, the city has invested 1.36 billion yuan ($196.7 million) to support 17 wetland protection and restoration projects in the delta, including water supplements, cordgrass treatment, and offshore biodiversity conservation, which has helped strengthen the city's wetland ecosystem.

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