Successful Five-Year Plan for Wetlands Protection
February 2, 2020 was the 24th World Wetlands Day. This year’s theme was “Wetlands and Biodiversity: Life Thrives in Wetlands.” The Municipal Bureau of Natural Resources and Planning declared that between 2015 and 2016, Jinhua played a leading role in the province in the compiling and reviewing of the 2015-2020 Wetlands Protection Plan for its counties and districts. Jinhua then proposed that by the end of 2020, the city will introduce more than 100 major wetlands scattered around the local territory and build more than five provincial wetland parks.
Since 2015, Jinhua has added nine provincial wetland parks. By the end of 2019, a total of 12 provincial wetland parks were created, ranking first throughout Zhejiang, and 123 major wetlands of county level and above were opened. The goals of the five-year plan were achieved in advance, making Jinhua a leader in wetlands protection throughout the province.
A famous spot in the Pan’an Qixian Lake Provincial Wetland Park is known as Inebriating Beauty of the Qixian Lake, where Qixian (Chinese 七仙 Qīxiǎn) means Seven Immortals, and gave the name to the park.
The park is located in the Gaolao Mountain provincial tourist area of Panfeng Town, Pan’an County. With an area of 4.17 km2, a peak of 1148 m, and 88% of the surface covered in forest, this is a rare example of alpine wetlands. A park’s staff member explained, “Wetlands do not only have ornamental and tourist value, they also have many ecological functions. Known as the ‘kidney of Earth,’ wetlands are sources of fresh water. Together with forests and oceans, wetlands are one of the world’s three major ecosystems.”
Staff of the Municipal Bureau of Natural Resources and Planning illustrated that wetlands can be roughly divided into two categories: one is natural wetlands, such as swamps, wet meadows, lakes, rivers, and tidal flats; the other is man-made wetlands, such as reservoirs, ponds, and artificial wetlands parks. Accounting for about 2.88% of the provincial total, Jinhua’s wetland resources are not abundant. However, the number of existing wetland parks of provincial level and above accounts for 17.91% of the provincial total. Nearly one-fifth of the municipal wetland resources have been converted into provincial wetland parks.
At present, the number of provincial-level wetlands parks ranks first throughout Zhejiang, including a state-level wetlands park, Puyang River National Wetlands Park. There are also the Dongbai Mountain Provincial Wetlands Park in Dongyang, Qixian Lake Provincial Wetlands Park in Pan’an, and the Shuxi Provincial Wetlands Park in Wuyi.
The local wetlands not only are distinctive by their quantity, but also for their unique characteristics. Yongkang’s Yangxi Wetlands and Pan’an’s Qixian Lake are in the top ten most distinctive wetlands in Zhejiang. In addition, seven local wetlands, including the Xinfan Wetlands in the Wucheng District, Nanxiwan Wetlands in Yongkang, and Shuxi Wetlands in Wuyi, have been included in protection list of Zhejiang’s wetlands.
Another sign of the municipal work on wetlands protection is that in 2019, the Provincial Wetlands Legislation Seminar was held in Jinhua.
With the development of the tourism industry, wetlands with an attractive ecological environment and rich biodiversity have become popular places for leisure activities.
Within the Dongyang River Provincial Wetlands Park, the park area along the Weishan Town’s section of the Baixi Creek includes a riverside cycling greenway. Thanks to its pleasant natural environment, this greenway located in the wetland park was also labeled a most beautiful greenway in Zhejiang in 2019.
Puyang River National Wetlands Park is located in the upper reaches of the Puyang River, Pujiang. It is currently the only wetlands park of national level in Jinhua. It is a composite wetland with multiple resources, including rivers, floodplains, swamps, and water reservoirs. The park blends together wetland features, typical flora and fauna, farming culture, and rural architecture. At the same time, it integrates greenways, recreational activities, leisure and sports, as well as scientific functions. The park has become Pujiang’s brand-new waterfront scenic belt.
In winter, the Shizhu Provincial Wetlands Park in Yongkang occasionally records flocks of migratory birds. The park is full of green vegetation, and the air is exceptionally fresh. Chen Xiaoyang, director of the Forestry Protection Section of the Yongkang Bureau of Natural Resources and Planning, said that the park has been designed around the river, and the construction of greenways on both sides of the river has been basically completed. Being located only ten minutes away from the center, the park will surely become Yongkang’s “back yard.”
Chen Xiaoyang explained that the construction of the wetland park is the result of the combined effort of local policies, including the Five-Water Management, the Water Management Project of Small and Medium Rivers in Nanxi, the Lixi Water System Connectivity Pilot Project, and the Greenway Construction Project. This has resulted in creating a beautiful wetland ecosystem, bringing about a system of infrastructure for leisure tourism and improving the living environment of the local residents.
“In the future, wildlife in wetland parks will be better able to survive, and the waters will also be a backup source of water for Yongkang,” Mr. Chen said.
At the end of 2019, the provincial Forestry Bureau agreed to establish in Yongkang the Yangxiyuan Provincial Wetlands Park, becoming Jinhua’s 12th provincial wetlands park. (By Ni Yuanshan, translated by Marco Lovisetto, edited by Mariam Ayad)