Monday, March 28, 2011

St. Lucia quo vadis?

Took a drive down to St Lucia with some friends to walk down memory lane. We all had our first off spring in St Lucia and the place is very dear to our heart.

Sadly over the last tow years the CEO of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park has lost his grip on infra structure and invader clearance.

As an ex resident of St Lucia and one of the people that helped before holidays to clear some of the public open space, I was also involved in the valuation of some of the property transfered to the Authority.

I was shocked to find this much deteriation in the lovely town I once called home. Public sector standing along side watching valuable tax payer investment going down the drain.

By Petrus Viviers

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Curling Swirling sticky mud towards St Lucia Estuary

The one reason why this water cannot be dump into the lake system is the high content of mud that the river gathers from up country as it flows down stream carrying lifeless water to un expected users down stream.

This is one of the main reasons The Department of Works used to dredge the sludge from the Estuary until the late 1990's. Also the motivation behind The funds obtained from The World Bank. When the results of this money will bring relief to a chocking eco system is any body's guess, since not much regarding the research is disclosed to the media or public.

By Petrus Viviers

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The St Lucia Estuary Mouth - Dr Taylor Speaks out.

The writer of the letter has been misinformed about the management activities conducted by Ezemvelo and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. The only time that the conservation authorities have "piled sand across the mouth" was in 2002. The circumstances were that the mouth of St Lucia had closed a couple of months before the wrecking of the "Jolly Rubino" ship near Cape St Lucia. We were warned by the shipping authorities that this ship was carrying extremely toxic chemicals and should this spill the ecological consequences would be disastrous. As a precaution, to prevent any possibility of these chemicals entering St Lucia, we used a bulldozer to push up a low wall of sand on the beach so that overtopping by waves would be avoided. Fortunately the contamination was avoided and over the next month or two the low sand wall was completely dispersed by the wind. Several of the local residents of St Lucia misunderstood what we were doing and continue to perpetuate the myth that we blocked the St Lucia Mouth.

In March 2007 the extreme high seas that were experienced along this coastline breached the St Lucia Mouth. It stayed open after that for six months before closing naturally, and has been closed since then.

St Lucia, like most of our protected environments is affected by what happens beyond the boundaries of the protected area. The main rivers flowing into the estuarine system nowadays carry about 25% less water than when the catchments were undeveloped. This water is lost to irrigation, transpiration losses from plantations and evaporation from farm dams. In addition the Mfolozi Floodplain was canalized and drained in the 1930s for the planting of sugar. The main canal carries the Mfolozi River and its sediments through what was a swampland that had formerly trapped much of the sediment. As a result of this alteration to the natural system, the combined St Lucia–Mfolozi Mouth closed in 1951. To counter this, the Mfolozi River was separated from St Lucia in 1952. This separation of the Mfolozi from St Lucia means that St Lucia is deprived of the Mfolozi water during times of drought. This has had a profound impact on St Lucia and there is currently a World Bank funded initiative to restore (fully or partially) the link between St Lucia and the Mfolozi River.

It must be appreciated that the management of St Lucia is complex and is based on the understanding of how the estuary functions that has been gained from 50 years of scientific research and on the advice given by some of the leading estuarine scientists in the country. St Lucia has been subjected to a very severe drought since early in 2001 and has been pushed to extreme limits during this period.

Dr Ricky Taylor

Regional Ecologist

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

9 February 2011

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Friday, March 04, 2011

St. Lucia Wetlands Pre Holiday Prices

After a vigorous unsuccessful campaign by a group/page on facebook to tarnish the romantic view many has over St. Lucia and a sunset facing main street over looking the Estuary it is clear that no man can succeed. Created by the Almighty himself and refined by mother nature over a 25 000 year period the little town on the Island like setting faces East/West. With this world famous morning glare of Rah over the House of Poseidon and creatures and critters to enhance your weary senses it is clear that every person needs rejuvenation at some point and this is it.

Day - 1
Arrive at your accommodation establishment (0355901033) before 15h00. Make sure your tickets for the 16h00 sunset Cruise (035 5901259) is intact and take a slow stroll down the vegetated lane towards the launching site. Many birds and squirrels will share a little time and space with you.
Embark on this almost mystical experience as the cruise leads you northwards amongst the Crocodiles and Hippo.

Have a Braai upon your return at one of the designated areas or supper at one of the restaurants.

Day - 2
Make sure you are up and at it early to embark on a epic game drive along the Vidal roads and time your snorkel just right. From two hours before low to hour after. Beware of Rah's vengeance is fierce and a factor 40+ will ease his glare. Loop back past Bangazi South and see the day light recede over the watering holes of the Wetlands. Remember the Gate locks at 19h00.

Do not worry to set your alarm bell because the sad call off a Hornbill will cancel your deal with the Sand Man on time. Crab a cupper and muffin from Engine and head east to see father time smile upon another day as Rah starts to show his face. Most exquisite is the rays of the yellow sun pushing the shadows up the tall vegetated sand dune range guarding the pristine coast line from up high above.

Enjoy ...

by Petrus Viviers