Getting to know the river: Experiences of a citizen technician from the Tsitsa River Catchment, Eastern Cape, South Africa

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Ncediswa Grace Saunders

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The Tsitsa River catchment is located in the northern Eastern Cape, South Africa. The catchment is characterised by degraded grasslands, materially poor rural communities with uncertain livelihoods, extreme climatic conditions, and high sediment yields. The Tsitsa Project was initiated by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) to reduce soil erosion, improve equitable access to natural resources, and sustain land-based livelihoods. Grace Saunders is a prominent community member who lives near the Tsitsa River. She has partnered with the Tsitsa project since December 2015, capturing sub-daily river level and water clarity information and collecting water samples to provide suspended sediment concentration data (as an indication of catchment erosion). Grace’s work contributes directly to catchment research that aims to guide catchment restoration and sustainable land management. Grace has become a community champion for the environment, both through her active role in the restoration project and through her engagement with policy makers for sustainable land management based on personal experience. Grace describes her daily routine, including the main observations related to rainfall, land degradation, and river dynamics, and shares the ways in which this has influenced the way she views land degradation and restoration. Grace also shares the challenges and benefits that she has experienced as a result of engaging with the river monitoring work.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Society for Ecological Restoration