Partnership: Mississippi River - Yangtze River

Our cooperation with China is to foster cross-basin and cross-culture sharing of lessons learned and best practices on the effective conservation of large river systems, specifically the Yangtze and Mississippi.


The Nature Conservancy's Great Rivers Partnership and Yangtze River Basin Fisheries Resources Management Commission
Implementation Plan: 

Known as the Mississippi-Yangtze EcoPartnership, this partnership will focus activities on experience sharing, technique exchange and demonstration projects. An action plan has been developed on six cooperation aspects, including fisheries monitoring, habitats conservation, sustainable fisheries policy, integrated river basin management, environmental flows and invasive species. On-site demonstrations are anticipated as well, specifically at the Upper, the Middle and Lower Yangtze, and a joint effort on Asian carps in the Mississippi Basin. Meanwhile a Joint EcoPartnership team and office have been established for effective implementation.With the joint effort of additional partners such as the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Caterpillar, Inc., the Mississippi-Yangtze EcoPartnership will promote eight  objectives:

  1. Strengthened capacity building on science conservation and effective management on fisheries and habitats
  2. Strengthened network on fisheries monitoring along the Yangtze
  3. Improved habitat protection by method sharing of ecosystems regional analysis (ERA) and conservation action planning (CAP)
  4. Operational environmental flows for the Xiangjiaba and Three Gorges Dams
  5. Promotion of policy on sustainable fisheries management
  6. Promotion of river management practice, specifically lessons learned on integrated river basin management
  7. Shared techniques on invasive species like Asian Carp along the Mississippi drawing on management practice of the Yangtze
  8. On-site demonstration for practice and learning

MISSISSIPPI RIVER - YANGTZE RIVER EcoPartnership – 2015 Updates

  • The leadership of the Yangtze Fisheries Commission (YFC) wants this to be a true mutually beneficial partnership. So lately there’s been a lot of emphasis and action on the China-help-U.S. with Asian Carp initiative. A team from Illinois state gov’t, Southern Illinois University and a private fisherman come to China in September 2014. That generated enormous interest in the press, the Chinese internet, at leadership level at Ministry of Agriculture, and among Chinese and U.S. businesses.
  • Mutual collaboration on levels of Science, Catch, and Commercialization, is key. On Science, it is expected to nest long-term exchange within meetings & activities of the American Fisheries Society, where there is already significant contact between scientists and researchers from both countries. On Catch, SIU and Illinois State have created a modest proposal for exploring how the Chinese “Unified Catch Method” might be applicable along the Mississippi. On Commercialization, there are now a bunch of investors, trading companies, and local U.S. business development committees moving to test economics of the market for increasing exports of carp and carp products from the U.S. to China. There’s interest by the respective embassies in Beijing and DC as well.
  • In October, TNC & YFC led delegation from China to Illinois for further explorations. Inter alia, they were hosted by the Carp Council chaired by the White House “Carp Czar.” The next couple of months will see the two most credible Chinese companies sending their own delegations to the U.S. and preparing a funding proposal for consideration by a TNC donor interested in the carp problem, as well as for the U.S. team working on the Mississippi and sustainability issues. That could help institutionalize and regularize the Science/Catch/Commercialization support effort long-term.
  • Considering benefits of the EcoP in and for China, the YFC is now an administrative body with fisheries responsibilities for all rivers from the Yellow on south. That effectively broadens the effectiveness of sharing to rivers & fisheries to most of China’s rivers. Another new thrust is to align fisheries research & collaborations with TNC’s strategic emphasis on environmental flows.
  • For U.S. (and for China) the EcoPartnership plays out in a broader context, e.g. TNC China Program Science & Fresh Water Teams are now formally engaged with the Ministry of Water Resources and the FAO putting together “New Green Line” project proposal to the GEF. NGL, an initiative of the Ministry, would mainstream e-flows and biodiversity conservation in the work of MWR. The EcoPartnership continues to deepen and broaden China and global partnership with the China Three Gorges Dam Corporation. They are in close touch with the Embassy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to highlight all of the above, and the EcoPartnership in particular, when Amb. Baucus and Asst. Secretary of the Army Jo Ellen Darcy visited the Three Gorges Dam.