Qiantang Wetland Park set to open in May

Wu Huixin
The Zhejiang Province government has given its approval for the creation of the Qiantang River Greater Bay Area Wetland Park, with the first phase due to open in May.
Wu Huixin
Qiantang Wetland Park set to open in May

White egrets, ruffs, wild ducks, and other birds have been photographed flying over the wetlands of Hangzhou's Qiantang Greater Bay Area Wetland Park.

The Zhejiang Province government approved the establishment of the Qiantang River Greater Bay Area Wetland Park this month, with the first phase due to open in May.

Of utmost importance in the environment, wetlands play critical roles in water filtration, flood control, and shoreline stability. They are also considered to be biologically diverse as they support a wide range of plant and animal species.

The wetland covers around 30 percent of the bay area in Hangzhou, or 4,387 hectares. It has been a key point of the East Asia-Australasia migratory corridor for many years. This location has seen over 140 birds, including black storks, swans, Oriental white storks, black-faced spoonbills and larger white-fronted geese.

The park's main goal is to protect the ecological system. Ecologists frequently use rare species that are sensitive to the environment to assess the state of the environment. Local governments are now working to improve the water quality in shoals and marshes to increase biodiversity and attract more scarce species.

Migratory birds use the mudflats of the Qiantang River as a temporary wintering camp throughout the winter. They usually rest for a few days before taking off again, refreshed. The bay region in comparatively mild Hangzhou is an important transit station on its way south.

In early December, the birds pass through or rest in Hangzhou. Because of the early snowfall in northern China, it can happen earlier at times. Most migratory birds divide their journey into segments and rest every 100 kilometers.

With its wetlands, weeds, shrimp and fish, the bay area is an ideal habitat for birds. Several rare species that have appeared in recent years attest to its improvements, particularly in the water environment.

Local governments want to build service centers, bird-watching pavilions, waterfront promenades and docks in the park. After completion, the park will be the ideal place to see Qiantang tidal bores and birds at the same time. The park will have educational spots to spread ecological knowledge and raise people's awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.

Qiantang Wetland Park set to open in May

Tens of thousands of migrating birds settle in the mudflats of the Qiantang River during the winter, or to fly south.

The new park is four times the size of the Xixi Wetland National Park. They both function as Hangzhou's lung and a bird sanctuary. Local governments have also constructed wetland parks in the Dajiangdong area, the Grand Canal, the Fuchun River, Xiang Lake and Sanbai Pond over the last five years.

Locals refer to the Xiang Lake as the "sister" of the West Lake. It is close to the Neolithic Relic Site of Kuahu Bridge. The Saibai Pond is the largest lake in Yuhang District. It links to the Grand Canal and is known for its abundant fishing resources.

Zhejiang Province's wetlands cover 10.9 percent of the total geographical area. So far, Zhejiang has two wetlands on the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands list and three national-level wetlands.

Mangroves in Zhejiang emerged in the 1950s. Longgang County now boasts 30 hectares of mangroves, making it one of the country's northernmost mangroves.

The trees' average height has already reached 4.5 meters. The Longgang Mangroves Wetland was added to the list of nationally protected reserves in November.

Mangroves are known as "coastal warriors" because they defend coastline stability, operate as a carbon sink and boost biodiversity. This mangrove wetland is an ideal habitat for migratory birds such as Eurasian spoonbills, ruffs and red-breasted geese.

To protect the maritime ecology, the Longgang government has established a protected area to breed fish. Fish stocks have steadily rebounded after two decades of protection.

The wetlands near the Grand Canal, which flows across northernmost Zhejiang Province, feed the marshes along the way.

These dense marshes are famous for their freshwater fish. The landscape is distinguished by the thickly dotted mounds, where the local farmers grow mulberry trees and reeds. Now it is idyllic, with serene water and pastoral rural life.

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