Assessing the structural integrity and functionality of wetland restoration interventions: A case from Working for Wetlands, South Africa

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Eric Munzhedzi

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Globally, restoration outcomes are seldom assessed. In South Africa, wetland restoration is a relatively new field of practice and requires monitoring and evaluation to: (1) detect intervention maintenance requirements before loss of intervention integrity is too far advanced; (2) identify further interventions and/or modifications that may be required to enhance the functionality of interventions; and (3) learn from the outcomes of restoration interventions in order to improve overall practice. A checksheet tool for assessing integrity and functionality of a variety of restoration intervention types was developed in collaboration with the Working for Wetlands Programme and is now actively applied as part of routine monitoring and evaluation. In order to demonstrate the application of the tool and how the results are being interpreted and used by the programme, two wetlands in contrasting land-use contexts are presented. The assessment showed that in certain portions of the wetlands the integrity of the interventions, mainly weirs in the channel and furrows, was good and functioning effectively to re-wet adjacent wetland areas. However, in the first wetland, in a conservation area, structures were compromised due to hydraulic pressures as a result of high sediment loads upstream of structures and undercutting downstream. In certain areas of the second wetland, located in communal grazing land, the functionality of the interventions was poor, notably where flows were bypassing the interventions amongst other reasons, due to tampering. These evaluations highlighted key locations in the two wetlands where maintenance needs were high.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration