XINING, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland saltwater lake in northwest China's Qinghai Province, has seen its ecosystem continue to improve, according to a report published Tuesday.
The lake has been expanding over the years, with the average water level at 3,196.24 meters in 2019, up 3.27 meters over the last 15 years, and the area of the water reaching 4,549.38 square km, increasing by over 304 square km compared with 2004, the report by the provincial government showed.
Bird species in the area increased from 164 in 1996 to 225 today and gymnocypris przewalskii, a fish species unique to the water and its basin, saw its stock increasing from 2,592 tonnes in 2002 to 93,000 tonnes in 2019, the report said.
Qinghai launched a project in 2008 with an expenditure of 1.57 billion yuan (around 226 million U.S. dollars) within 10 years to improve the environment and biodiversity in the lake.
Dubbed the "most beautiful lake in China," Qinghai Lake plays an important role in the ecological security of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The lake had been shrinking since the 1950s, but combined effects of conservation and changes to the regional climate turned things around in 2005.