Working for Wetlands, Upper Olifants Catchment

Apr 20, 2009

Mission: 
Monitoring, Evaluation and Planning for Working for Wetlands
Date: April 2009

Requesting organisation: Working for Wetlands
Location: Olifants River catchment near Emalahleni
Pilot: Tony Kent and Rob Osner

The first of these missions was flown by Bateleurs pilots Tony Kent and Rob Osner, and extracts from the post-flight report, compiled by passengers, Craig Cowden and Andre Beetge, are presented below:

This photo shows sand mining activity in the midst of a wetland

“The flight was carried out from the Brakpan airfield over the portion of the Olifants River catchment near Emalahleni (Witbank).  During the flight the pilots had to be aware of avoiding the various mining areas due to the risk associated with blasting.  Seventeen wetland sites were identified within the project area, of which eight were prioritised as having moderate to high potential for wetland rehabilitation.  The majority of the problems associated with the wetlands related to alien invasive plant species with some areas modified by artificial drainage and erosion.  The project area is considered important from a water quantity and quality perspective, occurring upstream of Loskop Dam with the river flowing between scenic valleys and gorges. The flight was highly effective in reducing the otherwise difficult and lengthy process of identifying problems by vehicle or on foot, as well as eliminating the need to identify and contact landowners (to request permission to enter onto their land) within the project area.  The views were often impressive, especially the pans, which are a common feature within the landscape.”

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