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Our knowledge of how to manage eutrophic ecosystems such as the one at Peacanwood Estate at Hartbeespoort Dam is growing as we start to embrace the emerging notion of nature-based-solutions, which includes artificially constructed wetlands, while rejecting chemical sprays, writes Anthony Turton.

“It is from this group that a brave experiment has been running at Pecanwood Estate on the banks of Hartbeespoort. This is an emotive topic, because the value of the real estate is directly affected by the quality of the water adjacent to it. People become protective and defensive under these circumstances. The Pecanwood experiment involves the creation of a constructed wetland that is strategically placed between the land and the water.  

Some are opposed to these wetlands, so the debate rages on, which is why it becomes newsworthy when a new discovery is made. This has recently happened when a new species of microfauna has been discovered.”

“It is a funnel feeder, that swims in the water like a basking shark, capturing bacteria in a fine mesh-like structure.

The scientific name is Paradileptus conicus, but this is being verified by Prof Charles Delwiche and Dr Wesley Demontigny at the University of Maryland; Dr Tamar Zohary and Dr Alla Alster from Israel; and Dr Bill Harding from South Africa.

This single-celled creature provides a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dark place because it is associated with oligotrophic conditions. It is, therefore, tentative proof that hyper-eutrophic lakes can be managed, at least to some extent, by skillfully designing artificial wetlands as a buffer between a nutrient-enriched lake and the land on which high-value homes have been built.”

“The discovery was made by Gill Ledger, a former member of the Hartbeespoort Dam Remediation Programme implemented by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), and a resident in Pecanwood. She was directly involved in the drafting of the Pecanwood Wetland Remediation Plan, which was officially endorsed by the Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries (DFFE) and the DWS.”

Get the full story at Source: News24.

Video courtesy Gill Ledger

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