A New Wetland Park in Yancheng City of China Gives Hope to the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Yancheng, PR China – 12,746 hectares of area in Tiaozini, Dongtai of Yancheng City were set as one of China’s new city wetland park in 2019. Tiaozini is considered as the most important staging site for the globally critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper with only 661-718 individuals remaining in the wild according to a study in 2014 which sighted 144 individuals in Tiaozini and other areas of Dongtai.

Based on the plan, the park is surrounded by the Yancheng Wetland National Nature Reserve in the north, the Dongtai High Mud and Silt Beach Protection Area in the east, and the Tiaozini Reclamation Area in the east extension line.

Under the overall leadership of the Yancheng City Government, the Tiaozini City Wetland Park Project will be implemented by the Office of the Leading Group responsible for the Application of World Natural Heritage of the Yellow Sea Wetland in Yancheng, Yancheng Natural Resources and Planning Bureau, and the Dongtai Government.

Photo courtesy of Dongming Li

The Tiaozini Wetland Park will have three major functional divisions: conservation, restoration and reconstruction, and rational use.

The conservation division, which covers 4,964 hectares (38.95% of the total area) will focus on the protection of wetland birds and bird high-tidal habitats, and will carry out monitoring and scientific research. In line with this, the following activities will be prohibited in the area:

  • Reclamation and landfilling of wetlands;
  • Sand and soil digging, mining, pond digging and wasteland burning;
  • Introduction of alien species or releasing of animals;
  • Destroying wildlife habitats and fish migration pathways;
  • Hunting wild animals, picking up bird eggs or collecting wild plants;
  • Extinct fishing or catching other aquatic organisms;
  • Access or cutting off wetland water sources;
  • Dumping, stacking solid waste, discharging untreated sewage and toxic and hazardous units; and
  • Other activities that could damage wetlands and their ecological functions.

While restoration, reconstruction and cultivation activities can be carried out in about 2,780 hectares (21.81% of the total area) of Tiaozini Wetland Park.

To promote rational utilization of wetland resources and to build public awareness, the rational use zone will allow ecological exhibition, popular science education, and related wetland protection activities. Covering 5,002 hectares (39.24% of the total area), the government will make comprehensive use of existing basic service facilities such as bird-watching houses and well-protected houses to carry out popular science activities such as bird watching and bird protection. More facilities will also be constructed, including: a wetland mission house, a viewing corridor and a pilot wetland restoration project.

In general, legal protection of breeding, staging and wintering sites of migratory species is weak in all the flyways. Of the 19 recorded breeding, staging and wintering sites of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, only 6 are legal protected. With the efforts of Yancheng City Government, it is hoped that Tiaozini City Wetland Park will contribute to strengthening ecological awareness of the unique tidal flat of the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem and maintaining the critical habitats for Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other wader species along the East Asian and Australasian Flyway (EAAF).