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Zandvlei dredging

Please be advised that the next phase of dredging activities are due to commence from tomorrow (Thursday 27/08/2020) at Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve as a follow-on to the work performed in June/July earlier this year. The goal of the operation is to remove marine sediment that has accumulated towards the mouth of the estuary, due to seawater intrusion. By removing this sediment, we hope to allow for better hydrological flow both in and out the waterbody.

Of note for residents and users of the vlei is that a large amount of sand will need to be stockpiled in certain sections along the western shoreline of the vlei, along Henley Road. Unfortunately, due to the amount of activity in the area, we will be temporarily closing the playground equipment along Henley Road- we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

From an environmental perspective, dredging operations are by their nature destructive to the benthic habitat, however great care will be taken to avoid unnecessary impacts. Certain sections of Fragmites reeds might be impacted, however Nature Reserve officials will be on site to guide machine operators in order to limit environmental damage. Sandprawn populations may be impacted over the short term but recolonisation tends to occur within 4 weeks post-disturbance. It’s important to note that the longer term impacts of the sediment removal will however be a net-positive to the ecosystem, which is one of the main motivations for the work to commence.

Many sections of the shoreline in the area have eroded quite significantly over time, therefore we shall be including some bank restoration during the operations to create softer edges that are more conducive to local biota, stabilised with natural vegetation.

Attached is a map of the intended excavation area (red), sand stockpiles (orange circles) and shorelines identified for restoration (green). If anyone has any queries regarding the above, please feel free to contact myself on the details provided below.

Kyran Wright

Reserve Manager:  Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve
Biodiversity Management Branch
Environmental Management Department
Physical Address: Coniston Park, Coniston Avenue, Steenberg