Aquatic Weed Infestations and Sand Mining

Jul 17, 2012

MISSION 13 of 2012

Name of Mission: Aquatic Weed Infestations and Sand Mining
Date of Mission: 18 July 2012 
Aircraft used: Robinson R44 
Pilot: Colin Campbell-Gillies 
Beneficiary: The Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT)

Objective of the Flight

To establish the extent of aquatic weed infestations; and to establish and photographs all sand mining along the river courses.

Beneficiary report by The Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT)

“To be able to inspect the whole river system in just over an hour was very helpful and we can now make our assessments of the aquatic weed problems on the river. Being able to cover the whole river, flying over areas inaccessible to a vehicle, or even a canoe at low river conditions, is invaluable. We were able to identify problem areas with regard to the aquatic weeds and the blockages these create.

As you know, sand mining is a perennial problem and we are aware of most of the sand mining sites along the river. Most of these operations are illegal but there is not much that DUCT can do except to keep maintain regular photographic records and inform the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs (DAEA).

Illegal sandmining away from the river showing bush destruction. Near Little John Rapid DPP 0092
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I did see one (new) site of which I was unaware: it appeared to be a big operation and I will definintely take this up with DAEA and Water Affairs. The environmental damage to the Molweni area was very disheartening. It is only when seen from the air that the extent of this damage is visible.

Regular inspections like this would help us enormously – especially in the spring and summer months when the hyacinth and the water lettuce grows very quickly. These weeds can block the river system in just a few weeks if left uncontrolled.

Our thanks again to The Bateleurs, and Colin especially, for your time and effort into helping us achieve our objectives.”

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