For those of you who may have missed it on the other thread.....

The Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM -
www.orasecom.org) undertakes a survey of the largest river system in southern Africa, from source to sea and all major tributaries, every 5 years. This is called the Joint Basin-wide Survey and this year will be its third iteration (JBS3) – see http://orasecom.org/publications.aspx. GroundTruth (www.groundtruth.co.za) have been contracted to undertake JBS3.


We are looking for team members who have a keen interest in natural history and who would like to join this survey as we measure the health and condition of this river. We will be checking its vital health signs, represented by fish, aquatic invertebrates, riparian health (river bank vegetation), water quality, diatoms (aquatic algae), and even new and emerging threats to the system such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and micro-plastics.


We will have 3 dedicated and independent teams (the Senqu / upper Orange, the Vaal and the lower Orange), each with specialists in relevant fields.


We will sample the river at strategic sites from the Lesotho Highlands all the way down to the coast at Oranjemund (see map), and at major tributaries along the way, including the entire Vaal River system.


We will be working with top universities and laboratories, as well as BirdLife Africa, to collect biological and water quality samples for later analyses. While in-field we will be electrofishing and netting fish and collecting aquatic invertebrates and algae (diatoms) as indicators of the biological state and health of the river.

Citizen science platforms, such as the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 (SABAP2) and the affiliated BirdLasser mobile phone application, allow members of the public to contribute to conservation science while pursuing their hobby of bird watching. SABAP2 collects almost 2 million bird distribution records each year.


This provides the best real-time measure of the impact of ever accelerating global change on regional biodiversity. This data is therefore especially useful for conservation NGO's such as BirdLife South Africa in the identification of species under threat and the planning and monitoring of the impact of conservation counter measures.


Contributing to these platforms is fun and gives your birding a purpose! If you are keen to get involved, please download the BirdLasser App and sign up for the BirdLife South Africa Threatened Species cause under the settings tab.


We are looking for assistance on the trip, taking scenic/action pictures of work being undertaken, getting water samples to strategic points for courier collection and general “hands-on” help – maybe even the occasional cup of tea or coffee for weary samplers! So… a range of key skills needed! If this interests you, and you are of independent means, please email
[email protected] by 31 August 2021 for more information. Please note you will need to have access to a high clearance
vehicle, ideally a 4x4, and you must be physically fit and willing to assist with a range of tasks!


We will NOT be able to pay for your time or any other logistical or travel costs, but we WILL teach as much as we can as we work, and hopefully your reward will be by way of travelling off the beaten track, sampling and working within an amazing river system and seeing parts of the country that few get to travel. Additionally, you will be part of an adventure, and documenting the health of this river (warts and all!) for future generations to appreciate and acknowledge. You
will also be joining the growing global movement of Citizen Science (see links below for more info).


Interested? Please email [email protected]