USING CITIZEN SCIENCE TO EVALUATE THE ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY OF SOUTH AFRICAN RIVERS: THE DUZI-UMNGENI CONSERVATION TRUST CASE STUDY
Mark Graham and Mahomed Desai
GroundTruth

 

Abstract
Ecological Infrastructure refers to ecosystems that supply natural capital to society. Ecosystems with a high natural integrity are able to deliver a wider range of services and goods to people. Rivers with their associated riparian zone are an important Ecological Infrastructure that provides opportunities for socio-economic development. Unfortunately the ecological integrity of majority South African rivers is unsatisfactory. Approximately 82% are threatened and this is a result of poor protection and knowledge. The Duzi-uMngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) monitors the state of rivers within the uMngeni-Msunduzi catchment. A component is the “River-Walk” that attempts to assess the natural integrity of that particular river. The proposed method divides the river into 200 metre segments/reaches, each segment possessing a unique identity or code. The partitioning enhances the monitoring of the river as it allows the development of a precise database and visual representation of its state. Physical and biological components and integrity of the system are then recorded along the watercourse and within the predefined reaches. Examples of components assessed include erosion, water abstraction and invasive vegetation. During the course of the “River-Walk”, team members will measure the quality of the water by conducting a mini Stream Assessment Scoring System (miniSASS). In conjunction with the miniSASS, an Index of Habitat Integrity (IHI) will be performed. All data recorded will then be attributed to each 200m river stretch.It is anticipated that increasing the level of citizen involvement with observation, recording of “river health” and publicising this information more widely will lead to improved river and catchment management.

 

Presentation Topic

USING CITIZEN SCIENCE TO EVALUATE THE ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY OF SOUTH AFRICAN RIVERS: THE DUZI-UMNGENI CONSERVATION TRUST CASE STUDY
Contact Mr Graham:
Email Mark Graham