What We Can Learn from Meishan Bay’s Transformation?

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Meishan Bay, once plagued by the dual threats of human activities and natural processes, faced challenges such as eutrophication, red tides, and the invasion of an alien species. However, a comprehensive restoration project launched in 2016 aimed to address these issues.

Ecological Restoration and Shoreline Improvement
The restoration project adopted a comprehensive management system called “1+N,” which included measures to improve the bay’s shoreline and enhance its ecological integrity. Over a span of three years, significant progress was made, with 2,252 meters of sandy shoreline restored. Additionally, 32.4 hectares of beach areas, 21.5 hectares of marine ecological buffer zones, and 20.8 hectares of wetlands were developed, contributing to the restoration of Meishan Bay’s natural habitats.

Addressing Pollution and Water Quality
To combat pollution, efforts were made to establish a “zero wastewater discharge zone.” Investments were made to investigate and rectify sewage pipelines, upgrade treatment systems for rural domestic sewage and agricultural water, and close down polluting livestock and poultry farms. Source control measures were implemented, including investigations of pollution sources entering the sea and the regulation of discharge outlets.

River remediation projects were undertaken to improve water quality, including dredging approximately 23 kilometers of river channels. These measures resulted in significant improvements in water quality indicators, meeting the standards for Class III seawater quality.

Integrated Development and Tourism Promotion:
Capitalizing on the bay’s abundant golden beaches and ecological shorelines, various water-related environments were successfully developed. Attractions such as sailing and yachting facilities were established, providing opportunities for leisure and recreation. Supporting facilities, including the China Port Museum, the Ningbo Institute of Marine Research innovation base, and the Ningbo International Raceway, were also created. The bay hosted major international and domestic events, fostering a new model of integrated development that combined ecology, sports, and tourism.

Enhancing Resilience and Fishing Industry
To protect the fishing industry from super typhoons, the Meishan Waterway Anti-Super Typhoon Fishing Shelter project was implemented. Seawalls capable of withstanding a 100-year storm surge were constructed on the north and south sides of Meishan Bay, serving as roads. The project also included the construction of a double-line Grade I ship lock and water gates for tidal exchange and flood discharge.

This initiative provided a stable water area of 9.63 square kilometers, significantly improving flood control, drainage capabilities, and emergency response in the region. It played a vital role in promoting the construction of a modern harbor city, ensuring safe fishing production, and facilitating sustainable fisheries development.

A Hub for Science, Education, and Innovation:
Meishan Bay became home to the Ningbo International Marine Ecological Science and Technology City, attracting several prestigious universities and research institutions. Institutions such as Ningbo University Meishan Campus, the MIT Ningbo (China) Supply Chain Innovation Institute, and the Peking University Ningbo Marine Drug Research Institute settled in the area, fostering a strong collaboration for the coordinated development of science, education, and the marine industry.

Recognition and Honors
Meishan Bay’s restoration and protection initiatives have received numerous national, provincial, and municipal honors. The Meishan Waterway Project’s northern embankment was awarded the prestigious Luban Prize, while both the northern and southern embankments received the China Water Conservancy Engineering Excellent Quality (Dayu Award) and the Zhejiang Province “Qianjiang Cup” Excellent Engineering Award.