Notes

DUNE MINING AND THE NHLABANE SYSTEM: CAN BIODIVERSITY AND THE NURSERY FUNCTION BE MAINTAINED?

Published in: Southern African Journal of Aquatic Sciences
Volume 23, issue 1, 1997 , pages: 103–113
DOI: 10.1080/10183469.1997.9631391
Author(s): D.P. CyrusCoastal Research Unit of Zululand, Department of Zoology, South Africa, V. WepenerCoastal Research Unit of Zululand, Department of Zoology, South Africa

Abstract

A four year study of the Nhlabane Estuary and Lake System was undertaken over the period 1992 to 1995. Data gathered clearly showed that in terms of ichthyofauna, the estuary plays an important role as a nursery ground for juveniles of marine species known to be dependent or partially dependent on these systems. The benthos was found to be typically estuarine in nature. During the study period all positive and/or negative aspects associated with mining activities in the vicinity of the Nhlabane System were recorded. In addition the effects of the prolonged drought over 1993–95, and that of the presence of a permanent barrage separating the estuary from the lake were also noted. A number of mining associated activities have had negative impacts on the system. These were related to the presence of the barrier between the estuary and the lake (the barrage), continued abstraction of water by Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) from the estuary itself and the effects of an RBM dredger and plant machinery crossing the estuary. On the positive side RBM have initiated and assisted with the attempted restoration of the estuarine functioning of Nhlabane, notably the breaching of the estuary to restore marine contact. This paper concludes that biodiversity and the nursery function can be maintained in the system, and provides recommendations as to how this can be achieved.

Get new issue alerts for Southern African Journal of Aquatic Sciences