China, Yellow River Wing
Coordinator: Dongdong Shao (ddshao(at)bnu.edu.cn)
The Yellow River is the sixth longest river in the world and the second longest river in China (only after the Yangtze River), with a total length of 5464 km and a catchment area of 742.443 km2. Originating in the Tibetan Plateau, the Yellow River washes away large amount of silt after passing through the Loess Plateau and becomes the most sediment-laden river in the world. The Yellow River is the birthplace of the ancient Chinese civilization, and is thus called 'Mother River' by Chinese people. However, the Yellow River was also extremely prone to flooding and course changes in the past, and has caused many severe disasters historically.
As a result of frequent avulsion of the river course, the Yellow River Delta (YRD) has experienced dramatic changes in the past two thousand years. Since the mid-nineteenth century, however, the lower reaches of the river and the delta have been extensively engineered to control flooding and to protect coastal development. The present delta is located in the northeast of Shandong Province. It covers a total area of 18.000 km² with a population of 5.2 million people. Due to the large quantity of silt carried by the Yellow River, the delta extends into the sea at a rate of 2.2 km/year with a land accretion of 3240 ha per year. The YRD is also rich in natural resources, with the second largest oil field of China (the Shengli Oil Field) situated in the delta. Industrialization and urbanization of the delta started with the oil exploitation and intensifies in recent years. At the same time, the YRD contains important wetland ecosystem, which is the habitat for numerous species, including millions of migrating birds of which many are under protection.
a. Government agencies
The Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve was established in October 1992 by the State Council of China, which covers 153.000 ha land, including 58.000 ha of core zone, 13.000 ha of buffer zone and 82.000 ha of experimental zone. As a wetland-type reserve, it was established to protect the newly formed wetland ecosystem as well as rare and endangered birds. The reserve was divided into two parts: the south part located at the present estuary of the Yellow River with a total area of 104.500 ha, and the north part lies in the former estuary (before 1976) with a total area of 48.500 ha. In 2014, 95.949.9 ha of wetlands in the nature reserve have been designated as international Ramsar site.
The nature reserve is administered by the Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau, which is a government authority of Dongying Municipality set up in December 1992 under the supervision of Shandong Provincial Department and the Ministry of Forestry (now State Forestry Administration). According to the Shandong Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve Administrative Provisional Regulations and Shandong Yellow River Delta Nature Reserve Management Provisions and Standards, the reserve bureau is responsible for the co-ordination of wetland management. In recent years, the reserve bureau has strived to upgrade the infrastructure in the nature reserve and build its capacity in protection and management. A number of projects have been launched, including the ecological water supplement, freshwater wetland restoration, ‘digital nature reserve’, seawater invasion control, habitat creation and improvement for key species, etc, to effectively protect the biodiversity and improve the wetland ecosystem in the YRD.
Non-governmental organizations such as World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Wetland International have played active roles in public education and outreach of wetland ecosystem protection by organizing events and activities in the YRD and nature reserve. For example, a 'Touched by Nature: An Excursion of the Oriental Stork Habitat' event was organised by WWF on April 22-25, 2011, to enhance the public awareness of the Oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana) species as well as the achievement of the nature reserve in protecting it.
c. Universities and research institutes
Beijing Normal University (BNU), the coordinating agency of the YRD Wing, in collaboration with the reserve bureau and other institutions.
Main topics of the Yellow River Delta Wing:
- Mitigate the delta retreat and wetland degradation due to natural and anthropogenic factors
- Resolve the severe water scarcity and salinization in the delta
- Achieve balance between economic development and environment and ecosystem protection
Composition of Yellow River Delta Wing
Coordinating agency: Beijing Normal University
Participating organisations: Yellow River Delta National Natural Reserve Administration Bureau, National Bird Banding Center of China, Beijing Forestry University
Beijing Normal University
Beijing Normal University is a public research university located in Beijing with strong emphasis on basic disciplines of humanities and sciences. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China.
Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau
Yellow River Delta National Natural Reserve Administration Bureau is a government authority of Dongying Municipality which was set up in December 1992 under the supervision of Shandong Provincial Department and the Ministry of Forestry (now State Forestry Administration). The reserve bureau is responsible for the co-ordination of wetland management.
National Bird Banding Center of China
National Bird Banding Center of China was founded in 1981 to administer bird banding issues in China. It is under the supervision of Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, and National Bird Banding Office of the State Forestry Administration.
Beijing Forestry University
Beijing Forestry University is a multi-disciplinary university under the administration of the Ministry of Education. As one of the key national universities under the Ministry of Education, the university provides advanced education in the fields of forestry, biological sciences, biotechnology, ecology and environmental studies.
Dr. Dongdong Shao is an associate professor in the School of Environment at Beijing Normal University. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, in Environmental Engineering in 2010 and joined the faculty of Beijing Normal University in the same year. His research interests include environmental and eco- hydraulics, experimental fluid mechanics, hydrodynamic and water quality modeling of rivers, lakes and reservoirs, wetland hydrodynamic and ecological processes and coastal engineering. Currently, Dr. Shao is a co-opted member of the IAHR/IWA Joint Committee on Marine Outfall Systems.