The environment

Shing Mun River Basin covers a large area. The river habitats can be basically divided into a natural channel outside Shatin New Town, and an artificial channel within the new town. The natural channel is mostly within country park and belongs to the upper course, including streams of Shing Mun Valley and streams to the south and east of Kowloon Reservoir Catchwater in Sha Tin Valley, where rich ecology can be found. The upper course section outside country park areas has also largely retained its natural landscape. After entering Sha Tin New Town, or its lower course, which has been channelised. Other tributaries that are within the new town area have been converted to underground drainage, discharging water from the upper course of Shing Mun River Channel into Tide Cove. The estuary and coastal ecology has been completely destroyed, in stark contrast to the natural river section outside the new town.

Tai Wai Nullah

Upper course

Plants commonly found in the streams are Acorus tatarinowii and Caudate Pentasachme (Pentasachme caudatum); occasionally one can also see Pipewort (Eriocaulon sp.). On the dark, moist rock surfaces, one can find Pilea aquarum as well as insectivorous Spoon Leaf Sundew (Drosera spathulata).

Common upstream fishes Sucker-belly Loach (Pseudogastromyzon myersi), Broken-band Hillstream Loach (Liniparhomaloptera disparis) and White-cheeked Goby (Rhinogobius duospilus) are also widely distributed throughout the upper course of Shing Mun River. Canton Bee Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis) and Small Long-armed Shrimp (Macrobrachium hainanense) are commonly found in rock fissures underwater, while under rocks and stones there are Mayfly Nymph and Water Penny. Large Stream Snail (Brotia hainanensis) may be found on rocks. Rotting vegetation and mud in stream bottom is habitats for many insect larvae, including those of Caddisfly, Fishfly (Neochauliodes sp.) and Eulichadid Beetle (Eulichas sp.). Backswimmers dip in the river with their long, paddle-like hind legs, while Whirligig Beetles move on the water surface. Two Water Skaters—Limnogonus fossarum and Metrocoris lituratus—make use of surface tension, and glide across the water with their long legs.

Acorus tatarinowii

Green Cascade Frog (Rana livida)

Sucker-belly Loach (Pseudogastromyzon myersi)
Whirligig Beetle


Shing Mun Reservoir

The Water Supplies Department routinely releases fish fries in local reservoirs, including Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), Big Head Carp (Aristichthys nobilis), Tilapia (Tilapia spp.), Mud Carp (Cirrhinus molitorella), Goldfish (Carassius auratus) and Wild Carp (Hemiculter leucisculus). You may also encounter other local fish and introduced tropical fish such as Chinese Barb (Puntius semifasciolatus) and Jewelfish (Hemichromis stellifer) when visiting the banks of Shing Mun Reservoir. Moreover, frogs, turtles and freshwater fish are often released for religious reason by members of the public. Riverbank vegetation of Shing Mun Reservoir is mainly terrestrial. There are rows of Paper-bark Trees (Melaleuca quinquenervia) along the bank. Lidded Cleistocalyx (Cleistocalyx operculatus) is another common species along the banks.


Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus)

Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Lower course

Common fish species found in Shing Mun River Channel included Flathead (Platycephalus indicus), Sillago (Sillago sp.) and seabream. And from angling catches as reported in the newspaper, groupers, Japanese Seaperch (Lateolabrax japonicus), Barramundi (Lates calcarifer), Hong Kong Pufferfish (Takifugu alboplumbeus), Grey Mullet (Mugil cephalus) and even rays can be found in the artificial channel. When the tide ebbs, mud pools made by Tilapia (Tilapia spp.) can be seen near the riverbanks. One can often see Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Great Egret (Egretta alba) and Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) by the riverbanks.

A variety of ornamental plants are cultivated along the pedestrian paths and bike tracks on riverbanks, including Forest Gray Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), Chinese Tallow Tree (Sapium sebiferum), Cuban Bast (Hibiscus tiliaceus), Chinese Banyan (Ficus microcarpa), Taiwan Acacia (Acacia confusa) and some shrubs and herbs. Grasses grow from the cracks along the riverbanks, and sometimes even trees of Cuban Bast, Chinese Banyan and Big-leaved Fig (Ficus virens) grow from them.

Grey Mullet (Mugil cephalus)

Cuban Bast (Hibiscus tiliaceus) growing from cracks along the riverbank.

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