Monday, July 18, 2022

Silt from the Umfolozi River is a problem !!

Greetings to all who read here. My name is Frankie2Socks and I need your support in our efforts to restore functionality to the St. Lucia estuary and lake systems within and adjacent to the isimangaliso Wetland Park world heritage site in the Umkhanyakude district municipality of KZN South Africa. The main problems in returning our wetlands and related waterways to functional status, is the vast volumes of silt that has dropped out of the Umfolozi River flood waters over the years that the St. Lucia estuary and the Umfolozi River mouth were treated as a single combined unit. In the post GEF 2017 PROJECT era an exceptionally large volume of the sediment in the Umfolozi River flood waters was thus deposited at the northern edges of the narrows just South of Makakatana Bay Lodge, closing the intertidal water flow paths. This closure of the intertidal flow channels between the ocean and the marine fish breeding grounds needs to be addressed. This sediment / silt from the Umfolozi River now needs to be mechanically removed and placed out side of the intertidal lake system. When asking around about the true volumes of Umfolozi River silt and csediment that went under the bridge on the N2, just South of Mtubatba I discovered that nobody appears to be measuring the sediment loads of the Umfolozi River flood waters. The river sediment is a really nasty issue. The Umfolozi River sediment, silt and flood debris must all end up somewhere. During the periods when the two systems were actively connected, large quantities of sediment and flood water debris ended up flowing into the Lake St. Lucia basin through the St. Lucia narrows. TheSt. Lucia narrows has been closed out and silted up many times over the existence of the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands and surrounding rural areas. There is ample evidence of these past floods when sceintists take a deep look. This time it is a bit different. The issues associated with global warming and changing Weather patterns need to be put into perspective. Poorly managed agricultural practices and large scale soil erosion due to landscape changes are prevalent and then there are the natural changes in animal migration in and outside our many parks as well as human development and expanding rural populations. There are truly many varied issues that have contributed to the extremely high sediment and and silt loads of the Umfolozi River flood waters. That being said. Just how much silt has come down the Umfolozi River ? To the best if my knowledge modify has been keeping records of these issues. There is thus a problem in explaining how much sediment has been deposited within the greater St. Lucia wetlands region, including the UMfolozi Flats, the Sokulu farm lands and the Umsundze swamplands. Unfortunately this silt and sediment has not been evenly distributed over the area, but has dropped out at key focal points where the water flows down for any reason. Within the mfolozi flats there are a number of such sediment deposit points, where some have caused major water flow changes, resulting in changed water flow paths and other nasty long-term changes to the general landscape. This has meant that sediment has reached new areas and caused new problems for farmers, and in some cases folks houses are still under water m July 2022. These silt deposits within the southern sections of the park from Mapelane to River View are scattered accross the landscap. In the Sokulu area farmers are still flooded out coz of the vast number of blockages in the Umsundze River flow path. In the central St. Lucia areas from the mouth moving north these silt deposits are kind of leveled out, and flat, but at the specific zone where therivervwater collides with the lake water, there is a truly troublesome silt drop out zone. This nasty silt dropout zone at the northern edges of the narrows is substantial. This Heavey silt dropout zone has caused a rather high dam wall that now separates the lake system from the estuary system, preventing any intertidal actions. This dam wall at the topmend of the Narrows is not the only problem here. The entire River narrows is xilted up, the mouth area of the St. Lucia estuary is xilted up. Nobody can tell us just how much silt needs to be removed. The numbers are scary, coz when we did rough guess work and used those estimates, the snswershad more than twelve zeroes. We did an informal sceince experiment to measure the silt load. We filed up some two liter cool frinkme pties with raw River water. Left them in the cupboard gorcafew days then evaluated the volume of silt / sediment. The results were rather scary, cozee discovered that each single liter of water contained more than two hundred ml of sediment. Previous tests during high flood levels in the early stages measured more than half silt. I am not swear of any person who measured the silt levels at the lower ends of the estuary before this water flowed into the higher ends of the lake as was intended to the architects of the 2017 GEF PROJECT. Thevsceintific team that drive the 2017 GEF PROJECT were warned of the rather substantial sediment loads of the Umfolozi River flood waters, but chose to ignore this coz it suited their crooked agenda. This sceintfic t eam needs to be held accountable for their arrogance and deliberate exclusion of the silt issue. The silt from the Umfolozi River flood waters now needs to be mechanically removed. This is not going to be cheap. The longer we wait, the harder this silt will become, as bentonite does its job of binding the silt and turning it to clay. There is evidence of this actions at the current mouth to the St. Lucia estuary. The clay n the estuary mouth zone is rather problematic and restricting the water flow paths which should contain sand flats, but is currently mudflats. We need some serious government intervention. What to do ? How to organise things ? Please leave suggestions in the comments. Frankie2Socks for the 4u2fish campaign.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

My current mental state and sourcing funding.

Greetings to all who read here.

It is Tuesday 12 July 2022 and nobody is doing any thing about the massive silt blockages in the Umfolozi flats as well as lake St. Lucia and the St. Lucia estuary systems. This is currently an #EnvironmentalDisaster  of note.

The fish breeding grounds within the St. Lucia estuary system in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park world heritage site are now not available to many different marine fish species, and the natural biomass generated within the St. Lucia lake and estuary systems is no longer available as a food source for the coastal marine ecosystems along our coastline.

This is a big problem, and I am having a mental break down coz my attempts to have this problem addressed have failed. 

 The 4u2fish campaign needs your help in many different ways. Especially your moral support and your tongue touching other people's ears, so that more folks can talk about the very serious and rather nasty knock on impacts of the 2017 GEF PROJECT that connected the Umfolozi River to the northern sections of the lake, bypassing the natural filter systems of the Umfolozi flats and other connected flood zones that create the Umzunduze overflow tributary which joins the Umfolozi again near Mapelane.

There seems to be many different informal  groups and formal organisations doing things, but they are not talking much, and the public does not see any actions being taken. The folks at the northern sections of the lake are currently flooded out and the lake is truly excessively full, with a major silt deposits at the northern sections of the narrows being the problem, and locking the fresh water from the Umfolozi river into the lake system.

Lots of arguments here, but who discusses the silt problem

The natural renewable resources  like fish, crabs, prawns and others are no longer present in the St. Lucia lake systems due to the massive volumes of silt deposited by the Umfolozi River at a single location where the narrows meets the lake waters.

  During the time that the estuary waters were high, the reeds grew well and ensured better silt retention at the northern sections of the lake. This natural phenomenon ensured that a rather substantial wall of silt clogged up the water flow paths between the ocean and our marine fish breeding grounds commonly called lake St. Lucia.

The 4u2fish campaign needs your support to fix the problems associated with poor esturine management by the state and it's duly appointed representative entities. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority or IWPA is the custodian as per the world heritage convention act and associated legislation.

 I will be meeting wit hthe IWPA to discuss a way forward, and what needs to be done,  during the next few days.Once that meeting has taken place I will write more here.

Many thanx for reading our posts her on the interwebs. Please share further

#Frankie2Socks for the 4u2fsh campaign the 4u2fsh campaign.







Monday, June 27, 2022

The St. Lucia Estuary is closing fast.

 Lake St. Lucia and the St. Lucia estuary systems are in real serious trouble. The 2017  GGEF Project has had many rather nasty knock on impacts. The major issues is that the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority appointed scientific team which was in place to manage the St. Lucia estuary and lake systems failed to consider the rather large silt volumes that come along for the ride when the Umfolozi river floods.


 fresh water where there should be mixed marine  water

 

These scientific teams were well aware that the Umfolozi River carries rather large silt loads, as this was well discussed in past estuary management plans.  these highly educated folks, all with degrees and other high level education certification, chose to ignore the silt load within the Umfolozi river when it comes down in flood.

these scientific experts need to please explain... but we live in South Africa so ... ? what can be done ? 

The 2016 / 2017 GEF project connected the Umfolozi River to the St. Lucia lake systems, by passing the Umfolozi flats and Mzunduzi flood zone silt traps. This was achieved by lowering the Umfolozi river inflow, ensuring that the flood waters did not slow down and drop out the major silt load in the southern and eastern flood plains of the Umfolozi  River.

The end result is that the SILT WENT INTO LAKE ST.  LUCIA and dropped out at a most inconvenient  location. This silt dropped out at the same physical location with each flood event after the 2017 GEF project implementation this silt dropped out at the spot where the lake system joins the estuary tidal flow channel.. This problematic silt now acts as a rather nasty blockage within the estuary water-flow patterns, and denies access to tidal influences, ensuring that many marine fish species no longer have access to their breeding and nursery grounds.  The long term impact f this is a rather serious decline in fish numbers all along the South African coastline.

The nasty silt blockage at the base end of the St. Lucia Narrows, where the lake ends and the tidal flow channel starts, reached incredible heights  and is now about 2.5 meters (or more) above the spring tide high water level. I tried searching the iSimangaliso wetland Park Authority website at www.isimangaliso.com but this website is purely about tourism stuff and thus very UN-helpful. 

there is apparently no entity tasked with measuring the silt levels and related water flow patterns. 

we need some help to put true and nasty pressure on the minister to cometo the party and repair the damages created by the horrid and nasty mismanagement which has taken place under her watch. this should not be a SUPPRISE, cos there has been plenty of discussion about the JANUARY 2021 breaching of the St. Lucia estuary mouth by the St. Lucia community.  Unfortuntely the minister is not doing anything about the #FISHBREEDING and nursery grounds within the ST. Lucia lake and estuary systems.

2hat to do ?  comment and tell us your views.

#Frankie2Socks for the #4u2fish campaign.

read more at 4u2fish.blogspot.com 

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Environmental activism is a strange thing ..

 Environmental activism is a strange thing, and creeps up on you. You usually only become involved in any Environmental activism project when the smelly stuff has already collided with the wind making machine. 


I have been skirting around the edges of the Environmental issues associated with the St. Lucia estuary systems, and now feel the need to step into the fight and push the issues of lost fishing rights and related economic impacts. 

These said fishing rights are divided into groups, where indigenous rights,  international tourism rights and domestic tourism rights each need to be looked at separately as well as collectively.

Today I will focus on some of the indigenous fishing rights, and associated matters.  I have discussed these before, in many different blogs, and one of the more important posts is found here   

http://frankie2socks.blogspot.com/2021/06/section-24-of-constitution-and.html?m=1

Section 24 of our national constitution is a powerful tool for every conservationist.  It is a short and sweet section, but very powerful, and rather explicit in it's intentions.  The biggest part of any law is it's purpose and intentions. This always comes to play when one challenges the constitutionality of any issue.

The department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment appointed an independent panel of scientists to look into the issues around the opening of the St. Lucia estuary in Jan 2021 by community groups in the village of St. Lucia, which is the tourism hub for the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage site in north east KZN South Africa.

This committee is has completed  their investigations, (end March 2022) and I did meet with them in November 2021. They have a very tough job, and need to be careful of how they handle the different public perception management strategies of the various role players.  If this committee does not wake up to the fact that the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority use extremely powerful public perception management strategies, then they are gonna be in big trouble. Other groups like the 4u2fish campaign and the Revive St Lucia campaign also use public perception management tactics to push their agendas, and counter the IWPA where appropriate. Our strategies are seen as problematic by some, coz they have had way too much of Uncle Andrews cool aid.

So we need to bring in the BIG GUNS in, and fire s few salvos, just so that the debate can start moving in our preferred direction.  This is all about making sustainable use and gaining consumption tights of the "RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCES" as supplied and sustained by Lake St. Lucia and the St. Lucia estuary system.

Previously big business ran a prawn fishery which harvested prawns on both the TUGELA banks and Umfolozi banks which run parallel to the KZN COASTLINE  between St. Lucia and Umhlanga Rocks. This venture failed when the IWPA closed the St. Lucia. Estuary mechanically after the Jolly Rubino incident in 2002 https://www.google.com/amp/s/mg.co.za/article/2002-09-18-jolly-rubino-starts-cracking-up/%3famp

The mouth opened naturally on 14 April this year (2022) after relatively high rainfall in March / April 2022, but the Umfolozi mud flows have caused problems just as the 1968 Estuary management plan discussed at great lengths. The big question was and always  is "How will one remove the silt after a major flood incident, should the St. Lucia Estuary mouth be closed and the silt flow heads north up the narrows and  into the lake system.

Well that has happened, and been happening since 2002 when the IWPA CLOSED THE MOUTH. Right now the inter-tidal actions are blocked by the silt in the system which is a above  sea level in many spots within the areas that should be inter-tidal.

What are we gonna do ,? 

What can we do ,? 

What options are left for us to take ?

It appears that we need to take legal actions against the minister of Forestry Fisheries and Environment as this person is the responsible person who signs off on the iSimangaliso Wetland park Authority Integrated Management Plan in terms of the world heritage convention act and related legislation.  The Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment was well awear that this mud and silt issue would arise, but they told us that their scientists have better ideas, and they implemented the 2017   GEF 5 PROJECT, which connected the Umfolozi River directly to the northern sections of the lake, bypassing the natural filter systems within the Umfolozi Flats and the Umzunduzi spill over zones.

This was a very bad move where many local folks made big noise. But they were ignored on instructions from Andrew Zaloumis,. Who was the CEO of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park at the time. In my mind this was a crime against nature, and we can see the results directly today. The water levels at Sunset Jetty reveal the large volumes of silt and mud that have settled in the Southern sections of the narrows, as the levels have not dropped significantly. This channel needs mechanical help to wash out the silt and mud deposits.

The water is not flowing out the lakes northern sections fast enough to scour out the silt and mud deposits. We need serious government interventions and a large scale dredging plan, as well as water cannons to blast the silt free so that it may flow when the tide runs out and remove some silt after each night tide.

Read more about the St. Lucia estuary management issues here

What to do ? How can we force the issue?

Leave your thoughts in the comments and let's see what can be done.

Frankie2Socks

#4u2Fish. #Frankie2Socks #ReviveStLucia 



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Section 24 of the constitution and renewable natural resources.

 Greetings and thanx for reading here.

In my last post I said I would discuss section 24 of the constitution, so here we are.... 

Section 24 of the South African Constitution covers our Environmental rights. Section 24 is in  chapter 2, the bill of rights. This section covers both natural folks rights as well as juristic folks rights.

Quote section 24 of the South African  Constitution

 Environment (section 24)

Everyone has the right ­

to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and

to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that ­

prevent pollution and ecological degradation;

promote conservation; and

secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development. 


END QUOTE

There are some serious economic rights, social rights and other rights  that come along as Ryders which are sometimes not that obvious, but that does  mean that they should be ignored but rather that these are special cases that need extra vigilance from the holders of these rights.

In our case here in the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands park and surrounding areas, the economic, social and  Environmental rights are very entertained, and #Section24 of the South African Constitution caters for all these rights, and a few other hidden rights which we will be discussing in more detail within the social media environment within the coming weeks as we slowly start to dismantle the Andrew Zaloumis management erra public perception management STRATEGIES, where the use of natural renewable resources were seen as property of the IWPA and not for public consumption or public utalisaion. 

   if we take a closer look at section 24 in the South African Constitution,  then we may read chapter 2, section 24 (b) iii as "Every one has the right to have the environment protected, for benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative measures that secure ecological sustainable development and the use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development 

Now the key here is the the aim, which  is to ensure that local communities have the right to make use of natural resources, while justifiable social development and economic issues are also included as special Ryders.

Here at Nibela these economic and social rights have been violated and erroded by the environmental policies and practices of the Andrew Zaloumis estuary management STRATEGIES as approved and implemented by the ministers instructions through the actions of the IWPA or iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority.

So our beef about section 24 of the South African Constitution is with the minister of environmental affairs, coz this is an environmental issue, where bad faith and poor oversight has been applied.

Basically our economic rights as associated with the trade of the natural renewable resources of lake St Lucia and the St Lucia Estuary systems have been erroded past the point of sustainability, as a result of the  collapse of the biodiversity within the St. Lucia estuary and lake systems. 

This collapse of the natural renewable resources within the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park is as a direct result of the poor / bad estuary management strategies of the Andrew Zaloumis management team during their reign of terror as the IWPA MANAGEMENT TEAM 

The current managent team at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority have rather different views than the past (Andrew Zaloumis) management team at the IWPA. Their attempts to fix the issues around community benificiation are not going un-noticed, but they are very slow, and also rather subtle and in the background.  These attempts to restore community access rights are not very  public, and that needs to change. 

Our collective rights in terms of section 24 of the South African Constitution need to be investigated, and we as citizens of South Need to be vigilant when it comes to economic rights associated with harvesting of natural renewable resources

This is a complicated matter, which is headed for the constitutional court in the not to distant future.


Please comment and share further.

Regards  #Frankie2Socks





 









Monday, June 14, 2021

St. Lucia estuary is closed again.

 Greetings and THANX for reading here. I have had reports that the St. Lucia estuary mouth, which opened on 6 January 2021 closed again with the storm that we had as a cold front passed us in early June 2021.

Sunrise over eastern shores of lake St. Lucia, taken on the eastern cliffs of Nibela Peninsula 


The water levels at Mpilo Einde on the Nibela Peninsula are currently rather high. The issue appears to be the reed growth and silt deposits in the narrows and the delta around Broadies Crossing. The heavy reed growth and DELTA type waterflow channels here causese  water from the Umfolozi to slow down and drop it's silt load where it will cause the most long-term problems.

The fact that the mouth at St. Lucia is closed again is not a positive sign for things to come. Remember the 2017 Rehabilitation project undertaken by the Andrew Zaloumis management strategy, well it is my opinion that this strategy has caused serious damage to the biodiversity within the St. Lucia lake and estuary systems. It has also connected the main stream of the Umfolozi River directly to the St. Lucia lake systems, without first flowing into the Umfolozi floodplains to drop off the the larger silt particles as the water flow spreads out into both the Monzi flat lands and the greater Umfolozi flood plains. 

This means that the greater portion of the Umfolozi River silt load is now being deposited within the St. Lucia lake and estuary systems. This silt has been building up with each serious rain within the Umfolozi River catchment zones. When the flood waters subside, the silt remains. From 2017 till the St. Lucia Estuary mouth was breached artificially on 6 January 2021 these many tiny, small and mild flooding episodes within the Umfolozi catchment zones has each contributed just a little to the raising of the estuary and lake bottoms.

In some areas like the Sokulu farming zone within the base end of the Umfolozi flood plains, these large scale silt deposits have generated reed blockages which have grown to form water flow barriers, retaining high water levels at specific naturally occurring constrictions, causing long-term back-flooding.

This long-term back-flooding is a serious problem in the Sokulu farming zone, Which will only be solved by mechanical intervention, or dredging of the main water flow channels to below sea level.  This will be a mamoth task, just as dredging of the water flow channels between the northern sections of the lake and the actual estuary mouth, will also be a rather large task.

These are all, in my opinion logical issues, that can be easily seen, and understood by the average person. However past public perception management STRATEGIES of the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) has laid a foundation of confusion around waterflow, mudflow and intertidal actions.

The base end of the Umfolozi flood plains in the Sukulu area used to be tidal once upon a time.. Long ago. Silt deposits from the Umfolozi River have taken their toll and filled the area with furtile soil over many generations. Now with " GLOBAL WARMING and CHANGING WEATHER PATTERNS" we as humans need to do what we can to firstly survive, then where possible prosper and enjoy lifes many bounties.

Enjoying something does not mean destroying the available natural renewable resources, so these need to be managed in a sustainable manner, and that starts with understanding the breeding and life cycles of our natural renewable resources. The St. Lucia Estuary and lake systems used to supply abundant natural renewable resources, and many up and down our coastline enjoyed this abundance. 

The extremely poor / bad ecological management of the St. Lucia lake and estuary systems by the Andrew Zaloumis management team has ensured that these natural renewable resources within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park have been seriously compromised, and in some cases even destroyed.

We want our heritage back, and have thus taken a stand on the issues around natural renewable resources and section 24 of the South African Constitution, which some folks will not appreciate, purely because their thinking has been contaminated by public perception management from those folks who want to see high end international tourism in places where nature provides us with sustainable natural renewable resources. These tourism opperators, and their high end investors, do not want to share with the folks who are living in the areas that they want to turn into tourism wonderland.

What to do ? Which way to turn?

Leave a comment and share your views.

In my next post I will discuss #Section24 of the South African Constitution. 

#Frankie2Socks 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Waterflow problems in Lake St. Lucia and the St Lucia Estuary.

 There are currently many problems facing the St. Lucia estuary and lake systems, but in my personal opinion the silt levels caused by the closure of the St. Lucia estuary mouth are currently (May 2021 )  the biggest issue that needs to be addressed.

The St. Lucia estuary mouth was closed by the IWPA ( iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority ) in 2002 following the Jolly Rubino incident. When the #JollyRubino ran around in 2002; there  was a very distinct possibility that some chemical polution may occurred in the St. Lucia estuary, and the department of Environmental Affairs instructed the IWPA to MECHANICALY close  the St. Lucia estuary mouth as a precautionary measure.

The mouth to the St. Lucia estuary has remained closed ever since, with a 157 day respite in 2007, after cyclone Gumede unleashed huge waves and a storm surge on the KZN coastline. This heavy sea and associated storm surge breached the St. Lucia estuary from the ocean side causing massive and serious long term problems for the functionality of the St. Lucia estuary and lake systems.

The mouth of the St. Lucia estuary system has thus basically been closed to the Indian Ocean since the Jolly Rubino incident, and was MECHANICALY opened on 6 January 2021.

Lake St. Lucia is fed fresh water from 5 major sources, with the Umfolozi River being the largest, and the furthest South. The #UmfoloziRiver is also the biggest exporter of raw silt into the St. Lucia estuary and lake systems.  The  silt from these rivers has therefore been accumulating within the lake and estuary systems for the last 18 years

Since 2002 there have been many serious rains within the catchment  area of the Umfolozi River, and these rains have each added to the silt load within the St. Lucia lake and estuary systems. Both Lake St. Lucia and the St. Lucia estuary have silted up considerably due to these big rain events.

The connecting channel that connects the northern sections of lake St Lucia to the main estuary mouth at Mapelane has silted closed, there after grown over by Reed's, and is now unable to function in a normal manner, then more flooding has dropped deeper silt layers  on-top of the Reed's and truly disconnected the northern sections of the lake from the estuary mouth.

This means that the waterflow between the northern sections of the lake and the Indian Ocean is no longer viable, causing great harm to the biodiversity of the entire St. Lucia ecosystem. The fishing industry along the entire South African Coastline has been impacted in a rather negative manner by these silted up waterflow channels.

As discussed in this short YouTube clip by the IWPA,   the St. Lucia lake and estuary systems form the core breeding grounds of many marine species. With these breeding and nursery grounds out of commission, due to poor / bad management by the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority juvanile recruitment is now a very big issue.

With minimal juvanile recruitment from other esturies our fish stocks are in steady decline. Within the St. Lucia lake system, many of these species are currently locally extinct.

We need to address these issues. 


For more info send an email to 4u2fish@info4u.co.za

More coming soon.