Conservation and Management of Hengshui Lake

Critically Endangered Baer’s Pochard – breeding success at Hengshui Lake (May 2018)

Two of the seven major goals of the Hengshui Lake Conservation and Management Project, in which DFS Deutsche Forstservice GmbH is supporting HNZ-C, are the (i) Elaboration and approval of a Participatory Protected Area Management Plan, and the (ii) Improvement of wetland vegetation and habitat management.

In this regard, the critically-endangered diving duck Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri, ⻘青头潜鸭) gets special attention and support of the Project.

Background Info Baer’s Pochard[1]:

 Baer’s Pochard is a poorly known migratory diving duck that was formerly widespread in eastern Asia. Since the 1980s it has suffered a precipitous decline throughout its range and fewer than 1,000 birds now survive in the wild. The causes of this are largely unknown. Following uplisting to Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2012, an International Single Species Action Plan (ISSAP) was prepared in 2014 and adopted by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) in 2015 and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in 2017. Based on the knowledge at the time, this emergency plan identified two key threats as having likely had the largest impact on Baer’s Pochard, particularly at breeding sites; (i) habitat loss and degradation; (ii) unsustainable harvesting as a result of poisoning, trapping and egg collection. Other potential threats identified were: (i) inadequate site protection and management; (ii) human disturbance and recreation; (iii) by-catch in fishing nets; (iv) lack of awareness; (v) policy obstacles. Possible threats include: (i) potential for hybridisation; (ii) excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers.

Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri), one of the rarest bird species worldwide, breeding at Hengshui Lake


Recent activities focused on Baer’s Pochard conservation have been carried out in six range states. This has included targeted surveys of breeding and wintering habitat in Russia (breeding), Myanmar (wintering) and China (both seasons). Efforts to improve management of key sites have also been conducted in Russia, China and Myanmar. General wetland monitoring and management activities in many other countries have also enhanced knowledge and conservation. Focused awareness raising has also been carried out in a number of countries and as a result the status of Baer’s Pochard and the need for its conservation is now much more widely understood. These efforts have been greatest in China, the most important country for this species, and significant new information is now available on its status, ecology and threats.

Specific Project support to HNZ-C includes / included:

·         A consultation meeting of key stakeholders (Police Station PMO, ILET and Resource Protection Bureau, Jizhou Government and village heads of all affected villages); a special agreement was signed by all participants and disseminated widely in which it was agreed:

  •  The fishing ban will be implemented covering the entire Jizhou Lake  until September each year (the Jizhou Lake is in the experimental zone in which the fishing ban does not apply);
  •  Recreation boats are restricted to 80 % of the Jizhou Lake;

·         Enforcement of the new Jizhou Lake protection regulation by: (a) a new sub-station of the Integrated Law Enforcement Team at the Jizhou lake fielded with current 12 patrol staff (to be reduced later to 10), (b) procurement of two new patrol boats;

·         202 boats formerly used for illegal activities like electro fishing were taken out by the ILET and can be only used after the seasonal fishing ban; HNZ-C will develop a new system for commercial fish licensing so that only qualified professional teams will be qualified;

·         Contracting 5 villagers as community guards to spearhead the protection, by being the link to the villages;

·         The Hengshui University monitoring team will increase the frequency of monitoring of Baer’s Pochard during the stage of breeding territory selection and nest building (April to May);

·         Support to the first international workshop for conservation of Baer’s Pochard in Hengshui;

Support to the nomination of the site as a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention, and to the designation of Hengshui Hu as the “Home of Baers Pochard”.

In May 2018 breeding success could be observed in Hengshui Lake, with 19 ducklings:


Photograph by Li Feng (May 2018)

External links for further information:

  • News on breeding success of Baer's Pochard:

  • Cooperation of the Project with the Baer’s Pochard Task Force in Hengshui:


[1] Background information from BAER’S POCHARD TASK FORCE - PRESS RELEASE, 21 MARCH 2018, Ten Countries Agree The “HENGSHUI DECLARATION” To Save Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri) From Extinction In The Wild


China: Hebei Province, 3 train hours south of Beijing


May 2016 - June 2020


Hengshui Lake Conservation and Management Project: 49 months

Project component "Education for Sustainable Development” in the frame of the Hengshui Lake Conservation and Management Project: 43 months


German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW; German Financial Cooperation)


Hengshui Binhu New Zone Management Commission (HNZ-C)


This project is part of the “Biodiversity and Natural Resources” programme, which is implemented under the framework of Sino-German Financial Cooperation (FC) The programme is funded with a composite loan of the German Government provided through KfW Development Bank. Additional grant funds have been provided by BMZ for accompanying measures, notably for co-financing consulting services.