XINING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China plans to invest 900 million yuan (134 million U.S. dollars) this year to protect Sanjiangyuan, the cradle of the three rivers of Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang in northwestern Qinghai Province.
The fund is to be used for wildlife protection and ecological restoration of grassland, lakes and glaciers in the Sanjiangyuan area on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, said the provincial development and reform commission Monday.
Between 2005 and 2018, China already invested more than 18 billion yuan on ecological protection in the region, one of the largest ecological investment projects over the past seven decades. The project covers 395,000 square km.
Li Xiaonan, deputy director of the commission and director of the administration bureau of Sanjiangyuan National Park, said the effort aimed to curb the deteriorating ecology and restore damaged ecological functions.
The ecological protection program began in 2005 with 7.65 billion yuan invested during the first phase to 2013. The second phase started in 2014.
The program has helped increase vegetation and expand water areas, sending more clean water downstream. With ecological improvements, herders can also spot more rare wild animals, like snow leopards.
Sanjiangyuan had suffered environmental deterioration since the 1970s, due to climate change and human activities. The Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve was established in 2000, and the Sanjiangyuan national park is scheduled to open in 2020.