When Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the man in line to become China’s president, visited the United States in February, he brought news for The Nature Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership.
Mr. Xi’s visit prompted an announcement that the U.S. and China have expanded the U.S.-China EcoPartnership program with the addition of two more collaborations — one of which involves the GRP.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the partnership program is aimed at developing new models of mutually beneficial and voluntary arrangements between a range of state, local and private sector organizations to promote energy security, economic growth and environmental sustainability in both countries.
Officially titled The Nature Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture’s Yangtze River Fishery Administration EcoPartnership, this new collaboration will work to advance river basin management and conservation of large river systems as well as develop new capacity for sustainable agriculture in the U.S. and China. Utilizing each partner’s unique strengths, the EcoPartnership will help develop new methods to monitor and manage large systems, such as the Mississippi and Yangtze rivers.
“Approval of this EcoPartnership has elevated the profile of our work substantially,” said Dr. Yao Yin, GRP lead on Asia strategy and research ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Dr. Yin has been leading the GRP’s science exchanges since 2005. Along with USGS colleague Brian Ickes, Dr. Yin has helped Chinese scientists develop a standard Yangtze River fish monitoring protocol based on the model of the Long Term Resource Monitoring component of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration - Environmental Management Program. The Program was authorized by U.S. Congress in 1986 and has been managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with several state and federal agencies, including USGS.
“This EcoPartnership," added Dr. Yin, "could be a great opportunity to advance science and management on all great rivers, starting with the Mississippi and the Yangtze.”
The United States and China signed the Framework for EcoPartnerships Under the U.S.-China Ten Year Framework for Cooperation on Energy and Environment (“EcoPartnerships Framework”) in Beijing in December 2008. The latest partnership additions, including the GRP announcement, bring the total number of EcoPartnerships to 15. A signing ceremony will take place in Beijing in May to enact these latest initiatives.
For more information on EcoPartnerships, visit: http://www.ecopartnerships.gov