The Yangtze River Economic Belt contributes to over 40% of both the overall population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in China. Recently, China plans for a further but green development in this area. However, ecological and environmental conditions of the Yangtze River Basin have already been largely threatened by human activities in the past. A group of ecologists, environmental scientists, and environmental policy/economy researchers conducted field investigations and data synthesis to identify current stressors, environmental and ecological status and challenges, and offer ecological solutions to mitigate impacts from future development. The insights from the investigations support SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth and SDG 11 Sustainabable cities and communities.