Sustaining the Yangtze River

As China’s energy needs escalate, more and more dams are being planned for hydropower.

Non-sustainable development in China has deteriorated the health of the Yangtze River, threatening the health and safety of the people dependent on the river…

…and extraordinary species like the Yangtze river dolphin now thought extinct.

Even some of the most commonly consumed species in China, like the four Chinese carp species, have shown declines of up to 90 percent in some reaches of the Yangtze.

These four carp species have been a major food staple for people in China for nearly 2,000 years and supply the main source of protein for tens of millions of Chinese people.

As one of the world’s leading freshwater conservation organizations, The Nature Conservancy is working with the Chinese government and major hydropower companies to improve practices on the Yangtze River.

In an effort to restore populations of these economically important fish, we are working with partners on a project to tag,



and monitor these fish to better understand their behavior and the effectiveness of the fish release efforts.

As a part of this effort, the Conservancy is also working with the Three Gorges Dam to release excess water to mimic seasonal flood waters that trigger breeding in these carp species.

These efforts have made a positive impact on the health of the river and of depleted fish populations,

and has contributed to the goal of balancing the need for hydroelectric power with the need for other services a healthy river provides to people and nature.