"Chen Kelin: Don't let the Yangtze River become a "long channel"! Speech at the Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Project (Sluice Construction) Project Discussion Meeting (full text)"
2021/1/20 13:45:00 本站

On January 16, 2021, the "Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Project (Sluice Construction) Project" seminar, guided by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation and led by the Research Office, was held in Beijing. The meeting focused on the Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Project Discuss the scientific and rationality of the Sluice Construction , and whether the construction of the sluices concerned by all walks of life is consistent with the protection concept of the whole Yangtze River Basin, whether it can scientifically solve the problem of the early dry season of Poyang Lake under the premise of ensuring the ecological environment, and Whether it will pay attention to a series of issues such as the migration and habitat of important species in Poyang Lake such as finless porpoise and white crane.


At the meeting, the Director of International Wetlands and Researcher Chen Kelin from the Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences made the following speech.


[Speech by Researcher Chen Kelin at the "Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Project (Sluice Construction) Project Discussion Meeting"]


Thank you very much for the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation for inviting me to participate in today's Poyang Lake Water Conservancy Project seminar. I have just listened to the opinions of several expert teachers, and now I will share my opinions with you.


I first came into contact with Poyang Lake in the late 1980s and Poyang Lake was listed as an internationally important wetland in the early 1990s. I was in charge of the GEF international project. At that time, I conducted more in-depth investigations and studies on Poyang Lake. Over the years, I have paid much attention to Poyang Lake. At that time, when discussing whether the GEF Poyang Lake project could be launched, it involved the impact of the Three Gorges Dam on Poyang Lake after the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Experts had different opinions, and most people thought that it would not be greatly affected.


Judging from the situation of Poyang Lake, I feel that the main reason for Poyang Lake's water shortage, especially in the winter dry season, is not from the Yangtze River, because the Yangtze River is in its lower reaches, while the water of Poyang Lake mainly comes from the Ganjiang River, Xiu River, Xinjiang River, Raohe River and Fuhe River in the upper reaches of the lake, and finally the water is poured into the Yangtze River. Poyang Lake itself is a natural lake. In the process of geological and geomorphic formation, it is half a year dry and half a year water. This is natural, we do not need to do any restoration, it is a natural ecological area. It is precisely because of the natural ecological area that there is a lot of biodiversity, which attracts many waterbirds to overwinter every year. Because birds like to live in this natural and semi-natural state, there are lakes, diving, marshes, tidal flats, and farmland. Many birds are inseparable from people. Birds are people's friends. People and birds themselves are harmonious, which is nature.


What benefits does the Poyang Lake water conservancy project get? Just now, academician Wang Hao also mentioned that we need to increase 2 million mu of farmland and 10 million catties of grain. However, from an ecological point of view, it is a very large artificial project, which will bring many ecological problems.


First of all, in the dry season (September to March of the following year), after the Poyang Lake sluice controlled the water, the water injected into the Yangtze River decreased, and the lower reaches of the Yangtze River would be shorter of water. If Dongting Lake also needs to build a dam or gate, the Dongting Lake gate will control the water during the dry season, and the Yangtze River will no longer be a river. It has become a channel, and we will rename it "Long Canal."


I feel that if the water level is controlled in the dry season after the sluice is built in Poyang Lake, many tidal flats and grasslands will be submerged, which is exactly what the birds need in winter. The vast grassland, beaches and small lakes of Poyang Lake. If the water was stored, the small lakes would no longer exist, which is a fatal blow to the birds.


For the finless porpoises, it is best not to build anything, just let it swim freely. The biggest threat to the finless porpoises is shipping. If shipping increases, the threat to it will be greater. So, it is best not to build dam or sluice.


After the sluice is built, the hydrological conditions of the lake area have also changed, and the vegetation has changed. The xerophytes that should have grown in the first place will not grow after being flooded. If a sluice is built, the flow of water will slow down or stop, even for a few months, it is prone to water pollution, including eutrophication and so on. 


There are many reasons for the lack of water in Poyang Lake. Several upstream tributaries have built dams, which are indeed affected. However, we need to study how to adjust the water level of Poyang Lake.


If a sluice is built in Poyang Lake, it will bring ecological problems to the whole Northeast Asia region and the whole world and have a negative impact on the international community. Several years ago, IUCN and Wetlands International sent a letter to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels on the Poyang Lake hydro-control project, hoping that the Chinese government would seriously consider the construction of the sluice gates. So, we must consider international influence.


Finally, I think that under the current grand strategy for the protection of the Yangtze River and Yellow River, it’s not suitable to build such a project, which does not conform to President Xi’s thoughts of protecting the Yangtze River.


(Above: Director of International Wetlands, Researcher Chen Kelin, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)


By / Lianghui  Editor / Linda