Opening of the Hangzhou Bay Wetland Centre

After 3 years of hard work, the Hangzhou Bay Wetland Centre in Cixi City, China was finally opened on June 18 amidst a colourful display balloons. The General Secretary of Cixi City, Chen Sing, and Deputy Minister, Xu Min Fu, officiated the opening along with distinguished guests from various organizations – WWF Hong Kong, Wetlands International China, Global Environment Centre and Wildfowl & Wetland Trust (WWT). Over 100 people attended the Opening Ceremony and were treated to a first-hand look at the new Wetlands Centre and short tour by boat of the sprawling area. The Opening Ceremony was also held in conjunction with the 1st Hangzhou Bay Wetland Summit organized by the Cixi Government and Wetlands International China – the delegates, of which, attended the Opening Ceremony.

Construction on the 43.5km2 Wetland Centre situated along Hangzhou Bay only began 1 year ago and received funding from GEF and World Bank with additional investment from the Cixi Government. The Centre’s building itself will not be open until sometime next year but the great thing about it is that they have incorporated sustainable features in the building. The Centre uses a wide range of renewable energies such as solar, bio-energy, wind energy and geothermal energy to generate electricity, has a rainwater collection system for use in toilets and irrigation, used aerated autoclave cement (AAC) bricks, which is a great insulating material, for the building’s exterior and has a biogas demonstration site.


There is a limit of 2000 visitors per day to the Centre to ensure that its environment can be managed sustainably. Inside the Centre there is an Environmental Education Centre, Rainwater Garden, Botanical Garden, Constructed Wetland, natural agricultural demonstration area and bird protection area. This area is considered a must-stop along the Australasia fly-way for migrating birds and the Centre will be providing a safe haven for the birds to rest. Some 165 species of birds have been sighted in this area since the beginning of construction. The 75ha constructed wetland was developed to act as a filter for pollution entering the bay from the Sanba River and related drainage networks.

Perhaps most importantly, the Centre also houses a Milu (Pere David’s) Deer protection zone. The Milu Deer is a critically endangered species that can only now be found in captivity and is considered extinct in the wild, although a small group has been released to the wild in Yancheng.The Centre has a contract with the Beijing Milu Ecological Research Centre to provide a protected area for 20 (11 female and 9 male) of these deers within the Centre’s grounds.

GEC has been one of the consultants on the construction of the wetlands and will continue working with the other stakeholders to operationalize and manage the wetlands to ensure that the habitats for birds are conserved. Please visit the GEF Wetland Project Website to read more about the entire project.

Check out the Opening Ceremony Photos!