Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province is the largest freshwater lake in China and the most crucial wintering habitat for many waterbirds, including almost the entire global population of the critically endangered Siberian Crane (Leucogeranus leucogeranus). The Poyang wetlands face diverse threats including the impact of dams on the tributary rivers, sand dredging, declining water quality, encroachment around shallow edges, and more frequent droughts and floods.
From April 2014 to June 2015, the Paulson Institute worked with the International Crane Foundation, the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve and partners to pilot management practices that would benefit both local communities and the lake’s vital natural heritage. As a result, the nature reserve established an automatic water level monitoring system and control plan for parts of the lake. The International Crane Foundation has since secured funding from the Disney Company to initiate a ten-year long-term project on conservation of Siberian Cranes and their habitats.
The Poyang Lake Water Resource Management project focused on water management for the nine sub-lakes within Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve, located in the northwest corner of the Lake and containing the most valuable waterbird habitat, especially for cranes. This project developed and piloted a water management and monitoring plan that will serve as a model for other parts of the Lake and the lake basin as a whole.