LAKE ST. LUCIA ESTUARY MOUTH INTERVENTION
Following recommendations from the St Lucia Estuarine Functional Zone Task Team, equipment was moved onto site to begin the implementation of a short-term solution to help re-instate functionality of the estuary and re-establish links with the ocean.
Lake St Lucia is one of the largest estuarine systems in southern Africa. It falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is South Africa’s first World Heritage Site. In recent years, the estuarine system has not been able to function naturally and the following principles were adopted at a symposium as key steps that should be addressed to restore functionality to it:
the need for reconnection between the marine system and the lake;
the reduction of sediment load in the bay;
the need for restoration of estuarine functionality;
the need to resolve back- flooding into agricultural fields which is currently resulting in agricultural loss;
the restoration of economic activity, including tourism and tourist attractions;
the importance of managing the flood plain and prevention of silt transportation to the estuary;
consideration of future plans to maintain functionality of the estuary.
The symposium in October 2020 included scientific experts in various fields, business operators, community members, traditional leaders, small scale fishers, private and associate farmers, NGOs, NPOs, provincial and national departments as well as key government parastatals. A unanimous resolution was taken by the multi-disciplinary task team to take urgent action to reconnect the sea, St Lucia Lake and the Umfolozi and Umsunduzi rivers, with the goal of restoring the ecological functioning of the entire system.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority is committed to engage with all parties and stakeholders on this complex issue, in order to find a solution to assist the system to function in its natural state as an estuarine zone.