Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

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Toko
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Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

Post by Toko » Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:44 pm

Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

Work to remove a portion of the artificially created ‘island’ of sand in the Lake St Lucia mouth area will begin in 2015. This follows the completion of iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) study aimed at finding long term solutions to improve the hydrological and ecological functioning of the Lake St Lucia system.

In July 2012 iSimangaliso implemented its strategy to let the Umfolozi River rejoin the Lake St Lucia system in a bid to restore the functioning of South Africa’s largest estuarine system. Since 1952 the Umfolozi River has been kept separate from the Lake St Lucia system, reducing freshwater inflow to the system and interfering with natural functioning of the mouth.

Based on new scientific findings, the rejoining of the Umfolozi River with its flow of fresh water into the lake is an important first step towards the restoration of estuarine function.

iSimangaliso’s GEF-funded study shows that the sand and spoil placed in the estuary mouth area by dredgers over a 50-year period continues to impede the flow of the Umfolozi River into the Lake St Lucia system, reinforcing their separation.

“iSimangaliso, with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, is striving to recreate the wholeness of nature and to strengthen Lake St Lucia’s resilience,” said iSimangaliso’s CEO, Mr Andrew Zaloumis.

“Lake St Lucia was effectively drying up and the system degrading. New science confirmed the importance of allowing the system to function as naturally as possible by allowing the Umfolozi River’s fresh water to rejoin the Lake St Lucia estuary.“

A geotechnical survey completed in November 2014 has provided information on the size, moisture content and roughness of the soil and other material in the pile of dredger spoil in order to finalize the method to be used for the removal of the sand pile.

Work will begin with the current budget for restoration.



Source: isimangaliso


Background info here:

http://repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/uu ... f656f19d6/

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Toko
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Re: Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

Post by Toko » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:21 am


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Re: Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

Post by Richprins » Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:00 pm

Thanks for this, Toks! O0

Lots of wet years, now a couple of dry years? -O-
Please check Needs Attention pre-booking: https://africawild-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=322&t=596

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Re: iSimangaliso drought update

Post by Flutterby » Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:57 am

Lake St Lucia’s lifeline cut off

15 Mar 2016

The fresh water currently flowing into iSimangaliso’s Lake St Lucia Estuary from the uMfolozi River as a result of recent rain is a godsend.

With 90% of the Lake St Lucia surface water dried up, 315km2 of the 350km2 Lake St Lucia bed lies exposed and barren, ravaged by the drought. What little water is left is 5 times saltier than the sea in places. The highest tolerance level for estuarine species is between 2 and 3 times saltier than the sea.

Between 12 and 14 March 2016 some 6.2 billion litres of fresh water entered the Lake St Lucia system, following rains both in the catchment and locally. This amounts to an average of 2.5 billion litres per day and provides an important buffer against the possibility of continued low rainfall over the next six months. Sixty percent of Lake St Lucia’s fresh water comes from the uMfolozi. These are the first significant flows of water into the system since December 2015 and it is hoped that some of the negative impacts of the drought will be reduced.

This morning fresh water was forcefully pushing its way into the 20km long Narrows, and the 50km long main body of iSimangaliso’s Lake St Lucia received its first influx of fresh water from the uMfolozi River in six months. If water continues to flow into the Estuary for another two days, water could reach Catalina Bay and possibly even go further north to become aquatic habitat once again.

Fresh water in the main lake will have a tangible positive impact for the 15 000 rural households whose livelihoods rely significantly on Lake St Lucia and the sustainability of the Tugela Banks prawn fishery, not to mention the 800 hippo and 1 200 Nile crocodile. Both of these are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and iSimangaliso has the largest populations of hippo and crocodile in Africa.

Unfortunately, the up side in this case also comes with a down side.

On 12 March 2016, iSimangaliso received notification from UCOSP that water levels had reached 1.2msl at the Cotcane measuring gauge and should begin the process of establishing a breach of the uMfolozi River out to sea. This notification follows from an interim settlement agreement that was made an order of court in October 2015, and which is valid until May 2016. Excavators have been deployed to the beach and work is underway. It is expected that the breach to the sea will be completed later today.

What this means is that the fresh water entering the St Lucia Estuary will now flow out to sea – thousands of litres of fresh water will be lost to the Lake St Lucia system.

UCOSP and two farmers launched an application in the High Court in August 2015 to compel iSimangaliso to breach the uMfolozi river mouth to the sea. The application was launched on an urgent basis to enable the draining of floodwaters from less than 94ha or 1% of the 9427ha of land under sugarcane on the uMfolozi floodplain. This matter has been set down for May 2016. An interim court settlement, which remains in place until May 2016 when the matter will be heard, requires iSimangaliso to breach the mouth at a point of its choosing when the Msunduze water levels reach 1.2gmsl at Cotcane.

A second urgent application was launched by UCOSP and the two farmers in December 2015 to compel iSimangaliso to breach. iSimangaliso stayed the breach. This was the last time water flowed from the uMfolozi River into Lake St Lucia. The application was postponed sine die. A date has not been given for this hearing.

In the spirit of collaboration, iSimangaliso has been in discussion with UCOSP since 2008, when iSimangaliso began the review of the management strategy for the Estuary. Commitments to improve their flood protection by UCOSP have yet to be fulfilled.

We are extremely concerned about the possible adverse ecological impacts to Lake St Lucia from the breaching of the uMfolozi River to the sea, as well as the possible knock-on effects on the livelihoods of many people, particularly in light of the poor winter rain that has been forecast. ​2015 was recorded as the lowest rainfall year since 1920.

iSimangaliso’s Lake St Lucia Estuary is one-of-a-kind. It is the world's oldest protected estuary and Africa’s largest estuarine system, as well as the focal point of the UNESCO World Heritage Listing. It has been a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance since 1986 – it is not only of global ecological significance, but also of regional and local economic importance.

More than 50% of all water birds in KwaZulu-Natal feed, roost and nest in this estuary. Of the 155 fish species that have been recorded in the Lake St Lucia estuarine system, 71 species use St Lucia as a nursery area and at least 24 of these are important in marine line fisheries.

Harvests of raw materials, particularly estuarine sedges, is estimated to be worth around R7,5 million a year. The contribution of the estuarine floodplain areas to livestock grazing is estimated at R3,6 million per year.

Tourism related to the St Lucia estuary area employs an estimated 1291 direct full-time equivalent jobs and 6924 indirect jobs. There are about 510 000 visitors to the study area per annum, of whom 42% are foreign visitors, that spend R46 million on an estimated 157 000 tourism activities from local operators.

iSimangaliso has not been idle in working towards the hydrological restoration of Africa’s greatest wetland. Cyclone Engineering, the company awarded the contract to remove the dredge spoil, is establishing site. This is arguably the biggest wetland rehabilitation in the world, and a milestone in the healing of the Lake St Lucia Estuary.

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Re: iSimangaliso drought update

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:18 am

When Man starts to intervene, mistakes are mostly the consequence. This water exchange system has existed for thousands of years with and without drought, why try to make it "perfect"? Nature has its ways and we should listen more to its voice :yes:
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Re: iSimangaliso drought update

Post by Puff Addy » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:13 pm

0*\ 0*\ 0*\

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Flutterby
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Re: iSimangaliso drought update

Post by Flutterby » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:39 pm

One of our FB members posted this:
Duane Jacobs: An application to stop this should be taken to the Constitutional Court and the Hague. In a hurry. It is in contravention with the International RAMSAR agreement, through which Government is constitutionally bound to protect St. Lucia Estuary. RAMSAR is part of the IUCN. It should also be reported to RAMSAR directly. SA is hosting COP17 soon. I honestly do not think they want the stink of this to hang in the air.
Ramsar Advisory Missions

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Lisbeth
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Re: iSimangaliso drought update

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:44 pm

It is even against International agreements with the IUNC 0*\
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Re: iSimangaliso drought update

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:02 pm

I have sent an e-mail to the Ramsar Convention.
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Re: iSimangaliso drought update

Post by Puff Addy » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:10 pm

Lisbeth wrote:I have sent an e-mail to the Ramsar Convention.
^Q^ ^Q^ ^Q^

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