ADB provides loan for wetland restoration in China

Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a $37m loan to the People's Republic of China (PRC) to restore and preserve two national nature reserves that are part of its coastal wetlands.

ADB's funding, from ordinary capital resources, has a 25-year term and makes up 48% of the total project cost of almost $76.4m. The remaining $39.5m will be provided the Chinese Government.

As part of the work, thousands of hectares of degraded wetlands and two coastal forest farms will be rehabilitated.

The project also involves converting fishponds back to wetlands, controlling the spread of invasive species, building waste management facilities, as well as introducing sustainable forest management practices.

The restoration process includes clearing natural water canals and land contours to allow river flows to return to dried up areas of wetland.

Work will start next year and is expected to be complete by June 2017.

The PRC has carried out a host of ecosystem protection projects in recent years, with support from ADB, including Baiyangdian Lake in Hebei province, Jiaozhou Bay coastal wetlands in Qingdao municipality, as well as the Sanjiang plain wetlands in Heilongjiang province.

Zhang Qingfeng, ADB East Asia Department's lead water resources specialist, said Jiangsu province has the third largest area of coastal wetlands by province in the country and they provide a refuge for many rare or endangered species, including the red crown crane and milu deer.

"Without urgent action to reverse environmental degradation caused by land reclamation, pollution, and other harmful practices, the wetlands in Yancheng will continue to deteriorate and may disappear altogether," Qingfeng said.