Chinese UK partnership builds future for global coastal conservation

Monday, September 4, 2017

A group of senior officials from Shanghai, China will be embarking on a 4 day trip to the UK today to sign a joint Wetland Affiliation Agreement between the RSPB at Wallasea Island and the Shanghai Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve. 

The RSPB’s Wallasea Island team has been assisting with the development of new wetland habitats in Shanghai as part of its international programme for the globally threatened spoon-billed sandpiper.

Their trip sees them visit the RSPB’s groundbreaking Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project located to the north east of the market town of Rochford in Essex as well as Hanson-RSPB wetland project in Cambridgeshire, where innovative conservation work has inspired such international interest.

The Shanghai Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve, managed by the Chinese municipality of Shanghai, is an internationally important Yellow Sea coastal wetland designated under the Ramsar Convention. 

Delegates from the Nature Reserve will visit Wallasea Island for the first time to see the habitat restoration first-hand.

RSPB Projects Development Manager Jeff Kew said: “The two coastal nature reserves (Shanghai Chongming Dongtan and RSPB Wallasea Island) face the same challenges even though they are over 5000 miles apart.”

“This visit is about building international cooperation for the conservation of migratory birds through sharing knowledge and experience.”

The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project demonstrates how coastal change on vulnerable low lying coasts can be planned and managed and Chongming Dongtan demonstrates how the control of invasive spartina (a non-native plant, introduced from America) can be used as an opportunity to create new wetland habitats.” 

The Leader of Rochford District Council, Cllr Terry Cutmore said: “I am very proud of what Rochford District Council and the RSPB have achieved at Wallasea Island.”

“The project has been such a success and it is a credit to the partnership that it is now being used as a blueprint by other countries to help accomplish the same successes”.