Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

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Re: Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

Post by Toko » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:25 am ... a-estuary/

Rains boost St Lucia estuary
The interim court order determining when the Mfolozi River is to be breached to the sea still stands until mid-May
21 hours ago

DESPITE last week’s breaching of the Mfolozi River in keeping with the interim court order issued in October, some 16.5 billion litres of fresh Mfolozi River water had entered the Lake St Lucia system by Friday.

‘It has meant that about 70-80% of the fresh water from recent rains will go into Lake St Lucia rather than be wasted out to sea.

The Narrows has risen by 75cm and water has reached Makakatana Bay and the southern reaches of Catalina Bay,’ said Andrew Zaloumis, iSimangaliso CEO.

Although large tracts of the lake bed are still dry, the recent inflow of fresh water has provided a buffer against the possibility of continued low rainfall over the next six months, and it is hoped some of the negative impacts of the drought will be reduced.

In keeping with the interim court order, iSimangaliso breached the Mfolozi River to the sea last Tuesday but were on Wednesday served urgent papers by UCOSP.

The matter went to court on Friday but it was agreed that it, along with UCOSP’s two other urgent applications, would be heard on 19 May, the date that was last year set for the two parties to present detailed arguments.

The breaching-related interim court order stands until mid-May.

It appears last week’s urgent application by UCOSP was an attempt to have iSimangaliso breach the Mfolozi River further south.

The current interim court order states that, when water levels in the Mfolozi River reach 1.2msl at the Cotcane measuring gauge, the river must be breached to the sea at a point of iSimangaliso’s choosing.

Breaching the river to the sea further south, however, would not be ecologically viable and, by iSimangaliso choosing the current breaching point, it has ensured that any ecological damage to Lake St Lucia would be minimised.

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Re: Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

Post by Toko » Sun May 22, 2016 12:31 pm ... cd93f28936

Landmark win for nature Court rules against estuary breaching

IN A LANDMARK victory for nature a Durban High Court judge on Friday dismissed an application
brought against iSimangaliso Wetland Park that forced it to breach the uMfolozi river two months ago,
that sent millions of litres of water into the sea instead of into the drought­stressed estuary.
The order by Judge Mohini Moodley means the managers of one of the world’s oldest estuaries will not
have to make artificial breaches against their will, at the behest of farmers and farming interests
It also paves the way for the World Heritage Site to start a “new beginning” with these neighbours, a
relationship conservationists believe should place nature before commercial interests.
Judge Moodley dismissed the application by Umfolozi Sugar Planters and two farmers against
iSimangaliso, and the departments of environment affairs, water and sanitation, rural land reform and
development and agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
The judge concluded the interim relief had run its course and dismissed the main application, along
with two others.
He noted the matter had demanded a great deal from iSimangaliso and Umfolozi Sugar Planters, and
in the interests of justice and both parties, it was expedient to make a judgment immediately so the
relationship between the parties could be regulated.
Andrea Gabriel, counsel for iSimangaliso, argued the matter affected the lives of 80 000 people
dependent on the estuary for subsistence livelihoods, as well as the tourism and fisheries industries.
Gabriel gave the environment a voice when she said it was about protecting the interests of “all
inhabitants and living organisms dependent on the coastal environment”.
She asked the court, “What are we going to tell our children and to South Africa, about what we did
to save St Lucia?”
Nicolette Forbes and Professor Derek Stretch gave expert estuarine and engineering evidence. On
hearing the judgment, Forbes said: “This is as big – if not bigger – than the no­mining decision by
president Nelson Mandela’s cabinet in 1996.”
Forbes was referring to 500 000 signatures to a petition that ended plans to mine the eastern shores
of Lake St Lucia, which was listed in 1999 by Unesco as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site.
Kemp J Kemp appeared for the sugar planters and the farmers, Paul van Rooyen and Petrus
Maphumulo, in three urgent applications brought against iSimangaliso. In what amounts to “bullying by
litigation”, the first application was served in August last year following 14 threats of legal action against
iSimangaliso. The August application was concluded in October by settlement agreement. In December
and March, two urgent applications were filed for non­compliance with the settlement agreement by
The dispute between the parties concerned the breaching of the uMfolozi to the sea. The planters and
farmers said they had a right to do so to alleviate backflooding on low­lying farms. The farms in question
comprised less than 1 percent of the 9 127 hectares under sugarcane.
iSimangaliso argued that despite repeated attempts to impress on the planters the implications of
farming on land located in the tidal zone in the face of climate change, the planters had failed to deliver
on its promises to improve its flood protection measures. Reports commissioned by the planters showed
that land had slumped by 1m in 26 years and would continue to do so.
An elated Andrew Zaloumis, chief executive of iSimangaliso, said yesterday that the ruling was not
only a victory for nature, but also for the thousands of people who depended on the estuary, and the R1.2
billion it generated through tourism.
“Lake St Lucia’s life blood has been returned. The Mfolozi River is the major source of fresh water into
Africa’s largest estuarine lake and the engine that keeps its mouth open to the sea. This is a story of
environmental justice for the 800 hippos and 1 200 large crocodiles, as well as many other endemic and
threatened species, whose home is the lake.”
He thanked the national and provincial departments of environmental affairs, Ezemvelo, lawyers and
the local community for championing the environment.
He extended his hand to the farmers and Lawrence McGrath, general manager of Umfolozi Sugar
Planters, to “re­engage as neighbours to work towards a win­win solution that does not compromise the
globally recognised and acclaimed St Lucia Estuary”. When approached for comment yesterday, McGrath
said the applicants respected the ruling, but declined to comment further.

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Re: Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

Post by Lisbeth » Sun May 22, 2016 1:11 pm

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Re: Lake St Lucia Restoration Plan Introduced

Post by Puff Addy » Sun May 22, 2016 1:56 pm

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