Next phase of dredging started at Zandvlei

A map of the intended excavation area (red), sand stockpiles (orange circles) and shorelines identified for restoration (green).

The next phase of dredging at Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve started last Thursday.

It’s a follow-on to work begun earlier this year.

Nature reserve manager Kyran Wright said the aim was to clear marine sediment near the mouth of the estuary.

“By removing this sediment, we hope to allow for better hydrological flow both in and out the water body,” he said.

Sand would be stockpiled in certain sections of the vlei’s western shoreline, along Henley Road, and the public would not be able to use the playground equipment there.

“From an environmental perspective, dredging operations are by their nature destructive to the benthic habitat. However, great care will be taken to avoid unnecessary impacts,” he said.

The term benthic refers to anything associated with or occurring on the bottom of a body of water. The animals and plants that live on or in the bottom are known as the benthos.

Nature reserve officials would be on site to guide machine operators to limit environmental damage, Mr Wright said.

Recolonisation of sand prawn populations tended to occur within four weeks of the dredging, he said.

“It’s important to note that the longer term impacts of the sediment removal, will be a net-positive to the ecosystem, which is one of the main motivations for the work to commence.”

Many sections of the shoreline had eroded significantly and the City would be doing some bank restoration during the dredging operations, he said.

Any queries about the process can be directed to Mr Wright at 021 444 1485 or Kyran.Wright@capetown.gov.za