Nature park in Sheung Shui set for 2023 finish

Local | Maisy Mok 26 Apr 2021

A natural habitat park will be completed in Long Valley by 2023, providing a green area to the Kwu Tung North and Fan Ling North new town development.

Long Valley is Hong Kong's largest freshwater wetland between the Sheung Yue River and Shek Sheung River in Sheung Shui.

The government is developing Long Valley into a nature park to protect its ecological environment and to compensate for the loss of wetlands from new town developments, Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun said in his blog yesterday.

The Civil Engineering and Development Department began constructing the Long Valley nature park at the end of 2019. It is estimated to be completed in 2023.

The 37-hectare park will be developed into three zones: about 21 hectares will become a biodiversity zone; some 11 hectares an eco-agriculture zone; and about five hectares a visitor zone.

The biodiversity zone is dedicated to maintaining Long Valley's biodiversity - habitats will be managed in the area and selected crops will be planted. Meanwhile, farmers will practice eco-friendly agriculture in the eco-agriculture zone.

Timber boardwalks, bird hides and outdoor learning facilities will be built in the visitor zone to raise citizens' natural conservation awareness.

Once the park is established, it will be managed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

"Long Valley contains various habitats including wet and dry farmlands, pools, paddy fields, fishponds and swamps. It has a rich biodiversity," Kevin Ho King-yan, an AFCD nature park officer, said.

"The government hopes to develop the Long Valley nature park to further protect and increase Long Valley wetland's ecological value, as well as provide more areas for different species to forage, inhabit and reproduce," Ho said. "At the same time, the government hopes to preserve the traditional farming methods."

Under the development, Long Valley's wetland area will expand by about eight hectares as the CEDD plans to convert some dry and abandoned farmland into a wetland habitat.

Before the bird migration season began last October, 10 plots of paddy fields were planted to serve as a rest stop for birds such as the critically endangered yellow-breasted bunting. Another five plots were revived to reproduce worms to feed the birds.

To further upgrade Long Valley's farming environment, the CEDD will construct treatment wetlands to improve the park's irrigation water. Storage rooms will also be set up across the nature park for farmers to store tools.

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