Three Gorges Dam. The Yangtze River flows across China and empties into the East China Sea near the historic city of Shanghai. © Kevin Arnold

Stories in China

Hydropower and Restoration Along China's Great Rivers

Protecting rivers also means working to restore them.

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in China and beyond.

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The Nature Conservancy’s work in China is important. More than 1 billion people rely on China’s lands and waters for their food, fuel, flood protection and livelihoods. The combination of a large population, rapid urbanization and rising economic growth is testing the ability of these rivers and their ecosystems to meet the needs of both people and nature.

This is why TNC is working in China to increase the sustainability of hydropower practices and to protect important water sources for rural and urban populations.

The Yangtze River is the third-longest river on this planet and is home to 378 fish species and more than 400 million people. The key to restoring the health of the Yangtze River is balancing the needs of humans and the ecosystem.

To achieve this balance, TNC is working with partners to:

  • Develop adaptive environmental flow management schemes on the Three Gorges Dam and Lower Jinsha Cascade;
  • Produce a conservation action plan for the Upper Yangtze Rare and Native Fish Reserve;
  • Identify priority conservation areas and restore key habitats and rare and native fish populations in the Yangtze River Basin; and
  • Strengthen the Yangtze-Mississippi Eco-partnership to improve watershed management capacity.

To advance our river work, TNC China established the Center for Sustainable Hydropower in Beijing to forge more balanced solutions between energy development and the conservation of healthy, productive rivers.

The Center provides a platform for scientists and conservationists to engage directly with decision-makers—including government agencies, major companies and financial institutions—to influence how and where dams are built. Of primary importance is engaging the Chinese hydropower sector, which accounts for more than half of all new global dam construction.

A gift to The Nature Conservancy will help us continue our work on sustainable development that helps us all and the creatures with whom we share this planet.