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Natural wetlands study and Education Centre development, Ningbo/Cixi

This project aims to reduce degradation of marine ecosystems by scaling up investment in reducing land-based pollution, designating wetlands and proposing coastal management options.

Action Description:



East Asia’s rapid economic and population growth has been accompanied by significant environmental degradation; with high pollution levels impacting on coastal ecosystems, estuaries and rivers. The coastline of Ningbo (close to the East China Sea) is said to be the worst polluted sea in China – sources are non-point source pollution from urban and agricultural run-off. Water pollution is compounded by a lack of investments in water supply and pollution control in the Ningbo municipality. The GEF and the World Bank established a Partnership Investment Fund for Pollution Reduction in Large Marine Ecosystems of East Asia to help address the issue of land-based pollution. The GEF Ningbo Water and Environment Project (NWEP) is the first project to be supported by the Fund and is linked to a US$290.9 million World Bank loan project. Within the Cixi Wastewater component of the NWEP, a GEF allocation of US$5 million and co-funding of US$12.12 million from the Cixi City Government, Cixi Municipal Sewerage Company and the Ningbo Municipal Government. The Ningbo and Cixi governments have designated an area (43.5 km2) to the west of the Hangzhou Bay Bridge for the establishment of a Wetland Center. The bridge (36km long) connects Cixi to Shanghai across Hangzhou Bay and is scheduled to be completed in 2008. The Project area is comprised of reclaimed non-tidal land (4.3 km2), tidal marshland (1.4 km2), low lying island 2 km off the coast, (1.8 km2) and the tidal mudflats adjacent to these three plots (36 km2).

This Project (C2 Contract – Management Assistance) is to provide assistance to the Cixi East Asia Hangzhou Bay Wetland Management Co Ltd for ecological and business planning for the Center before its scheduled opening and to manage the Center in the first two years of its operation, including staff training. The Project is closely related to the C1 Contract to design and construct the Wetland Center including the design and construction of a Visitor Center for wetland education and research, and the enhancement and restoration of the Wetland Center’s natural wetland area (including the use of constructed wetlands). The Project Objectives outlined in the Request for Proposal will be achieved through five tasks.

·         Task 1. Development of an Ecological Management Plan for the Wetland Center,

·         Task 2. Development of a Business Plan,

·         Task 3. Provide Guidance in Ecological Restoration Design and Operation,

·         Task 4. Support for the Operations of the Wetland Center,

·         Task 5. Preparation of a Training Program.


The proposed consultant is a consortium of Chinese and international non-profit organizations and research institutions with many years of collective experience in the development and management of wetland conservation, research, education and tourism projects.  The members are Wetlands International China (WIC), Global Environment Centre (GEC)and East China Normal University (ECNU) with associate partner WWT Consulting of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT). 

Project Objectives

The four project objectives identified in the Request for Proposals (RFP C2) are as follows:

(1)    To provide ecological and technical advice for the detailed landscape and architectural design of the Wetland Center, wetland restoration and enhancement to ensure that they realize the full potential for pollution reduction of inland waters; maximize the opportunities for wetland conservation, research, and environmental education and demonstrate its value at an international level.

(2)    To develop long-term management plans and implement appropriate management practices that enable the enhanced natural wetlands evolve to a high quality habitat for both common and rare international migratory birds and for the continuous re-population of Cixi’s over-exploited coastal fish and shellfish resources. The aim is to increase the annual amount and species of birds with a certain proportion – a 25% increase in bird sightings and number of species over baseline in 2007 by 2010.

(3)    To develop a business plan and appropriate financing mechanisms for the sustainable operations of the Environmental Center and associated Enhanced Natural Wetlands possibly emphasizing migratory birds in the long-term.

(4)    To establish operational management systems and mechanisms to monitor the Environmental Center and Enhanced Natural Wetlands in the longer term.


Main outputs in 2007:

Task 3:        Guidance in Ecological Restoration Design and Operation

(i)       The detailed ecological restoration design for the Wetland Center will be carried out by an independent Ecological Engineering Consultant during the implementation of this GEF project.

(ii)      The Consortium actively participated and provided technical guidance in the detailed ecological design processes. This include advice on the ecological/ sustainable design of the Wetland Center buildings and ecological enhancement of the natural wetlands, land use, designing and reconstruction of the wetlands, on the hydrological regime, the creation of diverse habitats, improving local vegetation to attract wild animals, development of bird watching infrastructure, construction of paths, roads and screening within wetlands area.


Action Partners:

Donors: World Bank, Global Environment Facility