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EWT does Field Research on Key Rivers in the Eastern Cape

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Water & Environmental

What is the state of key rivers in the Amathole Freshwater Species Conservation Project? Has the river water quality improved, stayed the same, or gotten worse since the inception of the project? Scientific analysis can help to provide answers. Nkosinathi Nama, the Amathole Freshwater Species Project Coordinator for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)’s Source to Sea Programme, recently sampled water from the Tyume River which is located in the Tyume Valley in the Amathole Mountains, Eastern Cape.
water-testing water-testing water-testing
Nkosinathi Nama taking a water sample from the Tyume River with a Selectech multi-parameter pocket tester, reading the results and recording the results.
The aim of the water quality monitoring is to assess what impact the removal of the alien trees is having on the river, as part of the river monitoring programme. EWT has an extensive alien plant { primarily Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii)} removal programme in the Tyume Valley. The following water quality parameters are currently being tested:
  • pH
  • Temperature
  • Total Dissolved Salts (TDS)
  • Conductivity (EC)
  • Dissolved Oxygen (DO)
  • % Saturation
  • Turbidity
“The Amathole mountain catchment area in the Eastern Cape, South Africa is a hotspot of endemic and threatened freshwater species. Conservation plans have been finalised for two key IUCN Red Listed freshwater species: the Border barb Barbus trevelyani (together with the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity) and the Amathole toad Vandijkophrynus amatolicus. These conservation plans will serve to inform the long term conservation of these species and the freshwater habitats they rely on. It is also intended that these plans will eventually feed into formal Biodiversity Management Plans (BMPs) that would be gazetted by government. Amathole is also a high water yield area that supplies three rivers (the Keiskamma, the Tyume and the Debe) with water – this makes the area particularly vulnerable to erosion and alien plant infestation. Over the last year, five teams totalling 85 participants have set to work in the Tyume River Valley to clear alien invasive alien vegetation. Although operations were delayed, 306 ha of Black Wattle has been treated comprising 9026 person days. The kill-standing method and contoured brush packing, both part of the EWT’s clearing operations, have a positive impact on erosion sensitive areas. On the green economy front, social enterprise training was completed in December 2015 for a number of community members in Amathole including our five NRM contractors, EcoRangers, organic farmers, community tourism practitioners, farming co-ops, saving groups and those who have a social enterprise idea they want to develop.” Selectech supports the EWT and their practical efforts to improve the conservation of rivers in Southern Africa. This is an ongoing project and we will continue reporting on the outcomes. If you would like to find out more about the EWT’s Healthy River programmes, please visit the EWT website * Selectech was pleased to support these endeavours by sponsoring water quality testing instruments for the Amathole Freshwater Species Conservation Project – March 2017.

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