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Thread: St Lucia Mouth

  1. #21
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by RossJ View Post
    I dont have all the facts re the mouth and the and the Mfolosi river but did spend a lot of holidays in the 80's at sugarloaf.

    This I think might be a fairly good article

    https://dailyfriend.co.za/2020/10/23...ards-solution/

    but is a bit short on facts and figures for me and that raises by BS meter a bit

    Comments from you lot with history in the area would be welcome please
    Lessons to be learnt from the past. The St Lucia problem began when sugar farming operations were initiated on the Umfolosi flats before the 'fifties, as far back as 1910-1920. This area in its natural state was a filter bed for the river that caught up silt and so prevented silting of the river mouth which originally formed a common mouth with the estuary, keeping the mouth open as a clear, deep channel. The river was canalised to drain the flats for sugar farming. This destroyed the natural filter bed and started the silting up of the mouth, which was aggravated by ever-increasing farming activities upstream. These activities accentuated the need for an efficient silt filter, but instead the silt-laden river was canalised and the mouth was rerouted directly into the sea, leaving the estuary mouth without the natural flow that was required to keep the channel open. It's been a disaster ever since.
    Last edited by Langjan; 2020/12/28 at 09:26 AM.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by Langjan View Post
    Lessons to be learnt from the past. The St Lucia problem began when sugar farming operations were initiated on the Umfolosi flats before the 'fifties, as far back as 1910-1920. This area in its natural state was a filter bed for the river that caught up silt and so prevented silting of the river mouth which originally formed a common mouth with the estuary, keeping the mouth open as a clear, deep channel. The river was canalised to drain the flats for sugar farming. This destroyed the natural filter bed and started the silting up of the mouth, which was aggravated by ever-increasing farming activities upstream. These activities accentuated the need for an efficient silt filter, but instead the silt-laden river was canalised and the mouth was rerouted directly into the sea, leaving the estuary mouth without the natural flow that was required to keep the channel open. It's been a disaster ever since.

    So so what is the solution? Taking the farmland back? Isn't the sugar industry anyway taking strain? May be expensive, but in the long run perhaps worth it? Or is it not possible?

    To to what extent wil opening the mouth solve the problem? Or will that cause other problems?

  4. #23
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    3 short videos on St Lucia / Isimangaliso can be found here:

    https://blpn.org/2020/11/11/lake-st-...-short-videos/

    Gives a good overview of what has happened over the years.
    Last edited by John Francis; 2020/12/28 at 12:10 PM.

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  6. #24
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth


  7. #25
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Went deep see fishing today. Skipper of the charter boat mentioned that the plan is to open the mouth on the 4th of January. We will not be here, but hoping it is successful.
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  8. #26
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by JAPster View Post
    Just took a drive to the boardwalk. Now closed as the water level is to high. Officials are concerned about crocs and I have to admit, I agree with them.

    There is also a crock with small hatchlings at the old public jetty just before the skiboat club. Last picture just below the tree leaves on the water.
    I walked on this boardwalk last week this time!
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  9. #27
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikehe View Post
    So so what is the solution? Taking the farmland back? Isn't the sugar industry anyway taking strain? May be expensive, but in the long run perhaps worth it? Or is it not possible?

    To to what extent wil opening the mouth solve the problem? Or will that cause other problems?
    Once you mess up the natural order of things it is usually very difficult and expensive to rectify matters. This is a case in point, a lot of effort and money has gone into "solutions" but apparently to no avail to date. If the political will and the money is available (which I doubt very much) the sustainable solution will probably be to try to rehabilitate the Umfolosi flats and the river embankments.

  10. #28
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    I have frequented this area for many years now - close to 40 in fact.

    I do not see how the Mfolozi flats can be successfully rehabbed - that is within an acceptable timeframe & budget. I think that kite has flown years ago. You will also have massive pushback from the cane-farming community, an industry that is already marginal at best.

    I recall with great fondness fishing Charters Creek, Fanie's, the nervous transit of Hell's Gates and so on. Plenty Kabeljou. All effectively gone now.

    I am no expert on the matter, but man's interference has caused the age-old issue, now man has to fix it as well. My gut tells me dredge open the mouth, and hope for big rains sometime soon to flush the system. (Many years ago I bought a dredger distinctly second-hand, that started life dredging St Lucia mouth. I used it for mining silica sands in a river. I have never since had a piece of equipment that so effortlessly moved huge cubes per hour. Just saying - with the correct equipment the opening of the mouth should be fairly easy).

    But, sadly, I do not think St Lucia will return to its former glory in totality.
    Last edited by jaconell; 2020/12/29 at 09:27 AM.
    Jaco Nell

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  12. #29
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by jaconell View Post
    I have frequented this area for many years now - close to 40 in fact.

    I do not see how the Mfolozi flats can be successfully rehabbed - that is within an acceptable timeframe & budget. I think that kite has flown years ago. You will also have massive pushback from the cane-farming community, an industry that is already marginal at best.

    I recall with great fondness fishing Charters Creek, Fanie's, the nervous transit of Hell's Gates and so on. Plenty Kabeljou. All effectively gone now.

    I am no expert on the matter, but man's interference has caused the age-old issue, now man has to fix it as well. My gut tells me dredge open the mouth, and hope for big rains sometime soon to flush the system. (Many years ago I bought a dredger distinctly second-hand, that started life dredging St Lucia mouth. I used it for mining silica sands in a river. I have never since had a piece of equipment that so effortlessly moved huge cubes per hour. Just saying - with the correct equipment the opening of the mouth should be fairly easy).

    But, sadly, I do not think St Lucia will return to its former glory in totality.
    Agree with you Jaco
    n' profeet word nie in sy eie land geken nie!

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  14. #30
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by jaconell View Post
    I have frequented this area for many years now - close to 40 in fact.

    I too spent many of my weekends and holidays in the 60's and 70's at Charters and Fanies catching Kob, Stumpnose and Grunter. Was there in November 2020. Fanies access closed off and Charters in advanced stage of being demolished. Water level was high around what appeared to a be a relatively new jetty and a few vandalised picnic tables.

    Rehab of the Mfolozi flats can occur if it returns to subsistence farming (read expropriation, with all that brings with it), and that will be economically counter productive to the area. However, I believe there to be a more fundamental problem, and that is the general reduction in fresh water reaching estuaries all along the east coast of Africa. I live on the Breede estuary and we have seen east coast species such as spotted grunter and bullsharks increasingly dominating this open estuary-having previously being rare visitors. The St Lucia problem has pushed these species to find other habitats and they have in turn displaced certain others from the system-white steenbras being a case in point. In the 1980's, white steenbras were a daily catch here, no more.

    Lets hope reintroducing the Mfolozi and dredging is sustainable for St Lucia.

    I do not see how the Mfolozi flats can be successfully rehabbed - that is within an acceptable timeframe & budget. I think that kite has flown years ago. You will also have massive pushback from the cane-farming community, an industry that is already marginal at best.

    I recall with great fondness fishing Charters Creek, Fanie's, the nervous transit of Hell's Gates and so on. Plenty Kabeljou. All effectively gone now.

    I am no expert on the matter, but man's interference has caused the age-old issue, now man has to fix it as well. My gut tells me dredge open the mouth, and hope for big rains sometime soon to flush the system. (Many years ago I bought a dredger distinctly second-hand, that started life dredging St Lucia mouth. I used it for mining silica sands in a river. I have never since had a piece of equipment that so effortlessly moved huge cubes per hour. Just saying - with the correct equipment the opening of the mouth should be fairly easy).

    But, sadly, I do not think St Lucia will return to its former glory in totality.

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  16. #31
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Also heard from various locals that they will start the opening of the mouth on the 4th. Lets hope this materializes.
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  17. #32
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Im not sure Isimangaliso can open the mouth from a legal perspective.

    Some years ago the cane farmers sought an order compelling Isimangaliso to open the mouth to prevent the river rising and flooding their farms. Isimangaliso opposed the order largely on the basis that dredging the mouth would interfere with natural processes.

    If they now concede that dredging is necessary it will raise some interesting questions for the cane farmers.

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  19. #33
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by Half-Pint View Post
    Im not sure Isimangaliso can open the mouth from a legal perspective.

    Some years ago the cane farmers sought an order compelling Isimangaliso to open the mouth to prevent the river rising and flooding their farms. Isimangaliso opposed the order largely on the basis that dredging the mouth would interfere with natural processes.

    If they now concede that dredging is necessary it will raise some interesting questions for the cane farmers.
    It was dredged as far back as I can remember. It worked well for the lake system. Catching huge kabeljou at Fanies & Charters was a daily thing. Don't think you'll be able to catch a cold there these days. I just can't see the reason why they ever stopped doing it.
    HENK


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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    So looks like they are opening the mouth

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck5WLAUDOqM

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  22. #35
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by Henkus View Post
    It was dredged as far back as I can remember. It worked well for the lake system. Catching huge kabeljou at Fanies & Charters was a daily thing. Don't think you'll be able to catch a cold there these days. I just can't see the reason why they ever stopped doing it.
    This is a short summary from https://isimangaliso.com/newsflash/s...ant-milestone/

    Background Information

    For several decades, dredge spoil had been artificially deposited in the natural course of the uMfolozi River in an attempt to limit its inflows into Lake St Lucia Estuary in the belief that it would protect the Estuary from silt. This significantly reduced freshwater to Lake St Lucia from the uMfolozi River. The uMfolozi is the largest of the five main rivers entering the system and accounts for some 60% of the freshwater inflows into Lake St Lucia’s system. It is also the powerhouse that drives the natural process of the mouth; limiting inflows and significantly narrowing the river course by artificial means also affected this process.
    The impacts of the 2002-2012 drought on fauna and flora demanded that this management strategy be interrogated by iSimangaliso. A multi-disciplinary research team was contracted to find a practical and implementable solution to the hydrological problems facing the Lake St Lucia system.
    The results of the scientific research strongly recommended that the uMfolozi should be allowed to pursue its natural path into the Estuary. This necessitated the removal of dredge spoil so that the uMfolozi could once again take its rightful place as the contributor of the major part of the Lake’s fresh water.
    The theory is that the estuary goes through natural periods of being closed to the sea which provides balance. By dredging the mouth you interrupt the natural cycle which is what caused the excessively high salinity levels. The research says that there was never excessive silting from the cane farms and therefore the dredging wasn't necessary provided the Umfolozi remained connected to the St Lucia estuary.

    My personal feeling based on my many years experience in fields completely removed from hydrology, ecology & any other sort of ology coupled with all I learnt in science at primary school is that the bank between mouth and sea is still too large due to man's interference and this will need to be "thinned out" with some dredging so that natural cycles can resume.

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  24. #36
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by Half-Pint View Post
    This is a short summary from https://isimangaliso.com/newsflash/s...ant-milestone/

    Background Information

    For several decades, dredge spoil had been artificially deposited in the natural course of the uMfolozi River in an attempt to limit its inflows into Lake St Lucia Estuary in the belief that it would protect the Estuary from silt. This significantly reduced freshwater to Lake St Lucia from the uMfolozi River. The uMfolozi is the largest of the five main rivers entering the system and accounts for some 60% of the freshwater inflows into Lake St Lucia’s system. It is also the powerhouse that drives the natural process of the mouth; limiting inflows and significantly narrowing the river course by artificial means also affected this process.
    The impacts of the 2002-2012 drought on fauna and flora demanded that this management strategy be interrogated by iSimangaliso. A multi-disciplinary research team was contracted to find a practical and implementable solution to the hydrological problems facing the Lake St Lucia system.
    The results of the scientific research strongly recommended that the uMfolozi should be allowed to pursue its natural path into the Estuary. This necessitated the removal of dredge spoil so that the uMfolozi could once again take its rightful place as the contributor of the major part of the Lake’s fresh water.
    The theory is that the estuary goes through natural periods of being closed to the sea which provides balance. By dredging the mouth you interrupt the natural cycle which is what caused the excessively high salinity levels. The research says that there was never excessive silting from the cane farms and therefore the dredging wasn't necessary provided the Umfolozi remained connected to the St Lucia estuary.

    My personal feeling based on my many years experience in fields completely removed from hydrology, ecology & any other sort of ology coupled with all I learnt in science at primary school is that the bank between mouth and sea is still too large due to man's interference and this will need to be "thinned out" with some dredging so that natural cycles can resume.

  25. #37
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Hello

    I was in St Lucia in the middle of December....place was pretty quiet compared to the previous years. Went to Cape Vidal every day...awesome place.

    So, I know that the opening of the mouth has officially started. Problem is for how long will it stay open.

    Cheers

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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    If anybody is there please send photos of the dredging.
    n' profeet word nie in sy eie land geken nie!

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  28. #39
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Borrowed from Lidiko Lodge and Ndiza Lodge Facebook pages.

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    Pieter le Roux

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  30. #40
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    Default Re: St Lucia Mouth

    Quote Originally Posted by Redman View Post
    Borrowed from Lidiko Lodge and Ndiza Lodge Facebook pages.
    So not a few kids with a bucket and spade like we used to do the Umhlanga lagoon occasionally in my misspent youth!

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