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Wetland Park on Drawing Board
China's first wetland park will be built at Dongtan Beach on Chongming Island to create an ecological paradise for local residents.

Five companies - the Netherlands' Alterra, Fleming and Sasaki from the United States, Japan's System Planning and Belgium's Groep Planning - have completed the conceptual master plan for the park.

The project, known as the Dongtan International Wetland Park, will occupy 24 square kilometers and will take 10 years to complete, according to James Qiu, general manager of the Wetland Park Preparatory Office.

Qiu told China Daily yesterday that the total cost was estimated at about 5 billion yuan (US$600 million) and "the project needs foreign funds."

He said he hopes the park will be built along the same lines as some parks in other parts of the world, saying sizable foreign companies are welcome to get involved.

On Monday, the US consulate-general in Shanghai sponsored a seminar to discuss the wetland park with US BioCHEM and the Shanghai Chongming Dongtan Investment and Development Co.

The island's beach, one of China's 21 designated wetlands, has been listed as one of the world's top 40 wetlands of international importance.

The future park, 40 kilometers from downtown Shanghai, will become important as an eco-education, research and tourism base, Qiu said.

It is set to include zones for rare and endangered species, water fowls, eco-functional demonstrations, a laboratory and workshop, and a resort.

The 32,600 hectare Dongtan wetland is located at the east end of the island, China's third largest, and has become a home or resting place for migrant birds travelling between Siberia and Australia.

Every year, about 3 million birds made up of more than 100 species use the wetland.

"It is a very important stopover point as Dongtan can provide enough food for the migrating birds," said Lu Jianjian, a professor at the State Key Laboratory of Estuary and Coasts, which is affiliated with the East China Normal University.

"If they stay longer, the wetland will probably attract more birds next year."

(China Daily May 23, 2003)

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