Working for Wetands – The Waterberg

Jun 4, 2008

Mission: Identify Wetland Habitats Suitable for Rehabilitation
Date: 4 June 2008
Requesting organisation: Working for Wetands
Location: The Waterberg, Limpopo Province
Pilot: Rob Osner and
Tony Kent

The Bateleurs have again supported Working for Wetands with its annual planning exercise, flying six separate missions in different parts of South Africa to identify and mark problem wetlands.  These areas are then visited on foot for the planning of actual interventions.  We include for you here extracts from some of the reports we received following this mid-year exercise:

The following extract was taken from the detailed and informative report provided by Doug McCulloch, the area manager for Working for Wetlands in Limpopo:

“The objective of the flight was to try to identify problems within wetlands that may require intervention.  Once identified from the air, and with the co-ordinates marked, the problem sites will be visited during subsequent field trips and assessed on the ground.

The weather was perfect.  The cold front that had arrived some days previously had flushed the dust and smoke from the Highveld air, leaving cloudless skies and outstanding visibility. The half hour flight to the Mokolo Dam took us over some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country.

The Moloko River ahd its associated wetland habitat proved to be in a healthy state with very few problems identified from the air.  This is a valuable result since, when rehabilitating wetlands on a catchment basis, finding wetlands that don’t require work is just as important as identifying those that do.

Our Bateleurs pilots – Rob Osner with Tony Kent as co-pilot – were in their element.  Their enthusiasm and willingness to accommodate the whims of a passenger who wanted to check obscure drainage lines and circle and double back, all the time, was most apprieciated.

The flat floodplain adjacent to the Nyl River has been used extensively in the past as crop lands.  This has led to significant anthropogenic manipulation such as furrow-excavation and berm construction to divert water and drain areas.  However, recently the emphasis has changed, with many of the landowners using the floodplain as grazing for beef cattle.  It is therefore to their
Benefit that the wetland remains wet for longer periods to provide dry-season grazin.  This coincides neatly with the objectives of Working for Wetlands.

The survey ended with the Nyl floodplain and an uneventful trip back to Brakpan rounded off a very successful trip.  The subsequent field trip yielded substantial amounts of rehabilitation work which, if all goes according to plan, will lead to the improved functioning and conservation of the Nylsvley system.

The Bateleurs, through Rob and Tony, have played a major part in this effort, by helping to identify the problems quickly and efficiently over a large area of land.”

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