U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among the dignitaries that attended the signing of a new EcoPartnership agreement today between The Nature Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership and China’s Yangtze River Basin Fisheries Resource Management Commission. The signing took place as part of this week’s China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.
The agreement builds on four years of collaboration between the partners to improve the health and management of great rivers in both countries – including the Yangtze and Mississippi rivers. Lessons learned from the partnership will be exported to other countries to help improve the management of other great rivers around the world.
“The Great Rivers Partnership is bringing together governments, businesses, communities, scientists and conservationists to find solutions to one of the greatest challenges facing society today – water security,” said Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Working with key partners like the Chinese government and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey, we are developing strategies to help countries around the world to keep their economies, communities and natural resources strong and productive.”
EcoPartnerships promote a wide range of collaborative activities in the public and private sectors and encourage U.S. and Chinese governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to share best practices, foster innovation and further sustainable economic development. Learn more.
Karin Krchnak, who is the director of partnerships for the Great Rivers Partnership and who signed the agreement during the Beijing event, said that within the next three years, the partners’ work will result in significant advancements in the areas of ecosystem protection, adaptive management, fisheries monitoring, resource surveys, fisheries policies, sustainable agriculture, and invasive species management.
The Nature Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership, or GRP, has facilitated science exchanges between the U.S. and China that has helped increase knowledge of fisheries on the Yangtze, which in turn is helping control invasive Asian carp on the Mississippi River. The GRP has also partnered with the Chinese government, major hydropower companies and other nonprofit organizations to develop sustainable alternatives to the design and operation of planned dams to protect native fisheries, which provide a critical food source in China. And GRP efforts to create a conservation blueprint for the upper Yangtze River paved the way for a new system of protected areas throughout China.
The Great Rivers Partnership was launched in 2005 with an initial gift from the Caterpillar Foundation. Since then, other corporations like Monsanto, Cargill, Ingram Barge, Pioneer, IBM, Wells Fargo, Alliant Energy and YSI have joined Caterpillar in supporting the GRP’s effort to find innovative ways to conserve and restore great rivers while also considering the economic needs of people and nations.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.