Cape Critical Rivers Project

Through collaboration with CapeNature, Northern Cape Department of Nature Conservation (DENC), and the Freshwater Research Centre this project aims to bridge the gap between biodiversity conservation and water resource management in the Cape Floristic Region. In the Kouebokkeveld, there is a clear need for more objective measurement and recording of water use, and facilitating communication between farmers to better understand water resource supply and demand dynamics and manage water resources at the catchment level. We are working closely with a group of case study farmers to investigate the use of the Fruitlook programme developed by the Department of Agriculture as an objective tool for monitoring irrigation efficiency. Initial results indicate that there could be significant benefits for using this system to supplement current irrigation management practices. In Barrydale, we have reached an agreement with the Breede-Overberg Catchment Management Agency and the Barrydale Municipality on our recommendation for a canal lining in the Huis River, which our logger data has shown will further improve environmental flows for the Critically Endangered Barrydale Redfin (Pseudobarbus burchelli). Alien fish pose a considerable threat to our native fynbos fishes throughout the region and we have been working to raise awareness in key areas surrounding critical fish habitats. We hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop, attended by representatives from aquaculture, angling, government and civil society, on alien invasive fish issues which not only informed but empowered stakeholders to comment on the new alien species regulations. We developed an innovative spatial tool to highlight the risk of alien invasive species spread into critical fish areas and DENC has used this tool to implement mitigation actions. The risk of further alien fish invasion was reduced by eradicating alien fish species in several reservoirs in high-risk areas. A laminated colour-coded fish field guide for field rangers and farmers was produced, which includes the provincial and national legislative compliance requirements for alien invasive fish species.





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