Specialist: Actions taken to protect biodiversity in China's Baihetan Dam area
Dai Kaiyi

Proactive measures such as building a botanic garden and a fish breeding station have been taken to protect the biodiversity in China's southwestern Baihetan Dam area, according to experts and residents.

As part of the world's largest new energy corridor, Baihetan Dam began generating power on June 28. Among the top concerns about the dam are the biodiversity in the local region.


But many local residents said that worry can be dismissed.

Ever since construction started on the Baihetan Dam, vocal villagers like Lv Jicheng have been signing up to help trim the vegetation and water the flowers. He says the efforts have transformed what used to be barren mountains into an area of abundant plant life.

"The environment here has improved over the past years." Said Lv, "Not long ago, I saw some beautiful birds that have come over. I had never seen them before, so they must be coming from other areas."

Lv added that the local birds and fish were also well protected throughout the entire process of dam building, as authorities banned hunting birds and fishing from the very beginning.

According to other local villagers, as the reservoir behind the Baihetan Dam started filling up, the increasing humidity spurred the growth of greenery on nearby mountains.

Lv Jicheng. /CGTN

Lv Jicheng. /CGTN

Chen Yang, deputy director of the Technology Administration Office of Baihetan Engineering & Construction Department said a lot of work has been done to protect the environment, especially the biodiversity in the area.

"We built a botanic garden, where we've transplanted trees more than 100 years old from the area that'll be submerged by the dam reservoir and some other local plants as well," said Chen, "it currently hosts 55 types of plants and the total number of them is about 20,000."

Chen says they've also built a fish breeding station, and artificial fish nests for local aquatic species, and established a fish collection system that transfers fish from the lower side of the dam to the upper side, ensuring the normal flow of fish migration traffic both upstream and downstream.

Vegetation in Baihetan Dam area. /CGTN

Vegetation in Baihetan Dam area. /CGTN

Those works will continue down the road. Chen said he and his colleagues will continue scientific research work on ecological restoration, including soil improvement on high and steep slopes that will be important for the dry-hot valley regions and the entire Jinsha River Basin.

The completion of the dam comes just a few months ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming — just about 260 kilometers away from the dam. 

(Cover: Arial shot of Baihetan Dam. /CGTN)

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