The natural population of the rare Chinese sturgeon has declined since the Gezhouba Dam
blocked its migratory route to the spawning grounds in 1981. In the near future, the completion of the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric project, may further impact this species by altering the water flow of the Yangtze River.
Over 3,000 dams have been built on the Xi Jiang River and its tributaries, blocking the migration of freshwater and anadromous species. Over seventy-five per cent of land in the basin has been converted into cropland resulting in the loss of eighty per cent of the original forest cover.
Thus, the landscape around the rivers and streams has been severely changed, leaving little of the natural vegetation to buffer water flowing overland to the streams, further resulting in water pollution. Population in the delta of this river is expected to double over the next 25-50 years, and with an increasing population will come an increasing need for clean fresh water.