Working for Wetlands – Maluti-A-Phofung

Jun 23, 2008

Mission: Identify Wetland Habitats Suitable for Rehabilitation
Date: 23 June 2008
Requesting organisation: Working for Wetlands
Location: Maluti-A-Phofung, Free State
Pilot: Dries Lategan

It was Bateleurs pilot Dries Lategan who answered our call for a volunteer to fly the Working for Wetlands team to survey the Maluti-a-Phofung area.  A message from Dries after the mission confirmed that weather conditions (minus 4 degrees C with heavy frost) in and around Harrismith had been perfect for flying, and that all the wetland areas between Harrismith and QwaQwa had been identified.

The photograph shows (from the left):  Dries Lategan, Bateleurs pilot, Trevor Pike of Land Resources International (LRI), Thilivhali Nyambeni – Provincial Co-ordinator for Working for Wetlands, and Doug McCulloch, also of LRI.

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This photo shows relatively small erosion gullies and headcuts threatening a large wetland.

Here are some extracts from the report by Trevor Pike of Land Resources International:

“The focus of the assessment was wetland habitat associated with the Elands River, particularly the northern areas of the quaternary catchments.  The flight was carried out from the Harrismith airfield by Dries Lategan in his Cessna 210.  Dries had previously carried out survey flights of the Wilge and Seekoeivlei project areas and was therefore well aware of the specific requirements for an aerial survey of welands.  This, together with his local knowledge of the area, was invaluable in producing a very successful flight.

Twenty-one wetland sites were identified within the project area, of which eleven were prioritised as having good potential for wetland rehabilitation.  An additional twenty-four wetlands were identified just outside the prioritised catchments.  Many of these sites had good potential for rehabilitation and will be considered when planning for future rehabilitation projects.”

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