The Garden Route has seen some unprecedented weather over last week, with total of 153 mm of rain was measured in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park from the 12th – 13th November 2019.
Trails closed as a precautionary measure at the time have since re-opened, including the popular suspension bridge and walkway at Storm's River. All of Wilderness’ hiking trails are also open and safe to use.
In the Wilderness section of the Park, the open/closed estuaries were breached., with the mouth opened at 2 meters above mean sea level, on Thursday.
River mouth was also opened at between 2, 1 to 2, 4 meters for the Touw River
estuary, while the Swartvlei Estuary was also breached.
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As a result, scientists are also calling residents to participate in a citizen science projectimed at finding stranded seahorses and returning them to deeper water. It is set to run on Monday 18 November and Tuesday 19 November 2019.
When the level of water decreases in the estuary, banks get exposed leaving Knysna seahorses (Hippocampus capensis) stranded.
"We need your assistance for a citizen science programme aimed at finding stranded seahorses and returning them to deeper water. This project starts
SANParks calls on all interested and willing members of the public to join SANParks staff and Honorary Rangers by registering on our database and indicating their availability (10am to 2pm each day).
Please note that registration is essential as the Knysna seahorse is an Endangered species and may only be handled if allowed under permit. To register, contact our marine ecologist Clement Arendse by sending your details via email: Clement.Arendse@sanparks.org.
Ecological health of Knysna Estuary improves
Added to this, headway has been made in the ecological health of the Knysna estuary, clearing the recreational areas for use ahead of the busy summer season.
Water samples taken by SANParks in the estuary’s deep water channels are compliant with the Department of Water Affairs’ guideline on ecoli levels.
"The results indicate that the pollution is localised to certain hotpots affecting the estuary and not affecting the main deepwater channels,"says Park Manager for Knysna, Megan Taplin.
Of the fifteen (15) sites monitored, four (4) have a history of non-compliance including the Bongani channel, Long Street and the Train Station culverts, which are still non-compliant. The Queen Street culvert showed a decline in the amount of ecoli levels in water samples taken on the 15th October 2019.
Sampling will be ongoing. Ongoing coastal clean-ups and incentives have been put in place to contribute to the responsible use of the Estuary. Visitors and members of the community are being encouraged to download the knysna.comunity.me App to report any incidents or blockages spotted.
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