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Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness
tigerclaw
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Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby tigerclaw » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:08 pm

I have been coming to Sedgefield for the last 20 odd years (my family for the last 40 - when there was no tar, no electricity and you had to pump water to the house). A lot has changed in Sedgefield since then.

Year after year, and tide after tide the sea brings in sand and silts up the lagoon. There were islands in the lagoon which have now become part of the main land.

What concerns me is that I only see the parksboard being active during December (they are absent most of the rest of the year) and they dont seem to be doing much to protect this environment. I have dived in Sedgefield to remove fishing gut and free crabs etc and been shrugged off by the parksboard boat patrol when trying to help by pointing out problem areas. Which makes me concerned about how seriously the conservation vision is being lived / implemented

Furthermore, the argument that we should let nature take its course doesnt hold true because we and the parksboard have stopped it from taking its course. For example when the mouth closes (once every year or two) we dont allow nature to burst it open because if we allowed nature to build its full force it would flood the houses on the island etc so we interfere and open it too soon (which is not natural) thus preventing the full and natural cleaning effect.

Finally, can someone tell me what the long term conservation plan is for Sedgefield (as regards the lagoon, bearing in mind that Sedgefield exists because of that lagoon), I am afraid that if the Parksboard has no real plan and no real action that we will be able to sell stands on what was once a beautiful lagoon and the beauty and reason for being here will be forgotten.

tigerclaw
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Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby tigerclaw » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:56 pm

I'm assuming that no one from the parksboard has answered because they are on holiday. Hopefully someone will answer in January 2009. In the meantime, I am dissappointed to see that there are many dead trees stranded in the lagoon, it has become to shallow to get from Sedgefield to Swartvlei by canoe. Furthermore, where we used to swim across to the mouth (a lenghty swim) we can now wade 80% of the distance. I have only seen the parksboard asking people for their boat permits. Simply put, I am not seeing any CONSERVATION happening.

SANPARKS mission is "To develop and manage a system of national parks that represents the biodiversity, landscapes, and associated heritage assets of South Africa for the sustainable use and benefit of all."

From what I can see the environment (in my opinion) is dying while the parksboard are doing what? Alternatively, if they are doing something it is obviously not working?

bleshoener
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Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby bleshoener » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:26 am

My family has have been frequenting swartvlei since the 1960's and we have a home on the banks of Swartvlei next to pine like which was built in 1973.

The mouth issue is a contentious one, many of the houses in the "island" on sedgefield lagoon have been built BELOW the high water mark, therefore when the water rises after heavy rainfall, the residents drains overflow, this started happening towords the late 80's and early nineties, SANParks then decided to open and close the mouth manually, resulting in the silting up of the lake and the lagoon. Throughout the 90's and early to mid 2000's there was a green grass prevailant in the lake which harboured habitat for the fish, and the birdlife, to my horror, I noticed this year there was NO grass to be seen! :huh: I also went snorkeling on the shores infront of our house, which was once teeming with fish, is now dead :cry: This i believe is a direct result of SANParks, wrecking the natural flushing system and filter the lake and lagoon actually is. Im seriously concerned, SANParks please shed some light on this matter. we used to be able to drive our boats al the way to Sedgefield from our house next to Pine Lake resort, this is now not possible anymore. Something is drastically wrong! We want answers!
Last edited by bleshoener on Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bleshoener
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Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby bleshoener » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:49 pm

Hi All

www.gardenroute.com/waleaf/documents/30 ... Quo%20.doc -

These are the results of an environmental impact assessment, which was performed for the Lakes Eco Estate, this study was one of the reasons why development was not approved.
The demise of the Sago-Pond Weed, was subsequent to this report. However, as in this report a similar thing happened in the early 80’s when they started development on the “Island” at Sedgefield.

My gut feel is that the mouth has been kept open too long (to prevent Sedgefield island residential drain flooding), due to the heavy rainfall over the last two years, and this has caused the salinity in the lake to be higher, which in turn has killed the Sago Pond weed.

This has been detrimental to the fish stocks in the estuary, this will probably never recover, or it will take another 20 years or so.

Read the report, some interesting facts about the place we all love to frequent. Feel free to add your opinion, and SANParks, your opinion would also be valued.

tigerclaw
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Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby tigerclaw » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:22 pm

Can someone from the SANparks please address this issue? What is being done? It's starting to look like there is no plan?

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restio
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Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby restio » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:56 pm

tigerclaw, the forum is a place for enthusiasts to discuss SANParks. It's not a hotline to SANParks staff, although we are privileged to have some very dedicated "gurus" (SANParks staff on the forum).

The mods have passed the query on to the appropriate person in that region, and hopefully we'll have some feedback soon. :)
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

tigerclaw
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Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby tigerclaw » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:57 pm

Hi, Its been 2 months, does anyone have any idea what the plan is? I have been thinking that possibly the problem could also be that the town is getting to big for its water supply? More is being pumped out into reservoirs and less is actually making it out the mouth? Reduced flow = more silting?

tigerclaw
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Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:22 pm

Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby tigerclaw » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:40 am

I was in Sedgefield again over the weekend, from what I can see the lagoon is now starting to silt up faster. There are still dead trees stranded all over the lagoon :wall: which create sand traps - I spoke to some SANParks officals who were very helpful, they are also concerned by the problem but they explain that they have been told by Senior management that they are not allowed to remove the dead trees, they have not been told why this is the case :big_eyes: .

To me this smacks of a "leave mother nature alone philosophy". The problem is that as I mentioned earlier, man has already intervened to the point that mother nature cannot cope. To me it would seem that "Senior management" has allowed mother nature to have her legs cut off and then in an attempt to assist is just going to sit and watch as she bleeds out? :huh:

Along time ago there was talk of a hotel being built on the lagoon and I was against it because of the potential environmental impact. Now I am thinking that some proactive management which has an interest in the survival of the lagoon would be better than the SANParks ecological approach of doing nothing.

Who is this senior management, how can I contact them? I would very much like them to explain their plan to me and prove that my concerns are unfounded.

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DinkyBird
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Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby DinkyBird » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:53 am

Tiggerclaw, we will try and get some comment for you here.

Just as a matter of interest, and not being very familiar with this particular area, does the lagoon open to the sea from time to time? And if it does, won't nature clear it out with a flood and high tides at some point?

I am thinking of the massive changes experienced at the Keurbooms lagoon during the 2007 flood for example.
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tigerclaw
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Re: Sedgefield - sedging / silting up

Unread postby tigerclaw » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:02 pm

Hi Dinkybird - thanks for the assistance and interest. Sedgefield also experienced massive flooding in 2007 however the lagoon system is quite different to Keurbooms. Firstly, the natural flood effect is held back by the train bridge and road bridge, iSecondly there is a large flat area around the lagoon / town and thus the lagoon floods outside its normal banks over a huge "flood plain" this two issues significantly reduce the required scouring effect. In fact the flood seemed to wash away the hills which do exist on the one side which further aggravated the silting.

Also the lagoon does open to the sea from time to time but because of the houses that have been built below flood level it has to be opened by bulldozer (ie before mother nature can can built her full force) so again the proper natural scouring effect does not happen.

The nett effect is that more and more sand enters the lagoon and less leaves


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