Custodians of Nature: Championing Wetland Conservation as Environmental Stewards

wetland with blue sky and clouds

Custodians of Nature: Championing Wetland Conservation as Environmental Stewards

Contributed by Christelle Truter

Sandra Postel wrote: “For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyond this point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports

One thing is certain – we all need wetlands. As nature’s natural reservoirs, they intercept runoff from surfaces and remove pollutants through biological, chemical, and physical processes.

Most of us associate wetlands with beautiful scenic views. You’d likely grab a pair of binoculars, peer through a dainty bird hide, and focus on one of the by-products produced by wetlands – a collection of extraordinary avifaunal species!

The integrated workings of a wetland provide us with a water purification system at no cost to the consumer. Acting like giant sponges, a wetland will absorb the runoff, dissipating stream energy and then, like a nurturing mother, takes its time to purify and filter the water before releasing the clean water into the natural environment.

It is for this reason that wetlands in South Africa are considered protected, and the construction of dams or river crossings may not be done without the relevant authorisations and permits. As stewards of the environment, assisting with the various authorisations and permits is part of our responsibility to minimise environmental impact and promote responsible mitigation measures.

Where required, wetland rehabilitation can aid in reversing the impacts created through disturbances, such as degradation. However, it is unrealistic to imagine that man can fully recreate the complexity of a natural system, destroyed through the acts of industry. In those cases, companies rely on wetland restoration or re-establishment, which requires greater effort with a copious number of resources.

It is crucial that companies, facing the responsibility of disturbed or destroyed wetland systems, engage with specialists to identify the correct method of mitigation or rectification. This will ensure that the funding provided for these projects is allocated to effective rehabilitation or restoration projects.  With clear objectives and goals, monitoring and maintenance programmes can guide the success and way forward.

To work with the team of specialists at Shangoni to assist your company with mitigation measures of the various impacts, please get in touch with our team by emailing, calling +27 (0) 12 807 7036 or visiting our contact page.

Balancing Industry and Ecology: The Vital Role of Companies in Wetland Preservation

Wetlands have proven to play a critical role in industry, agriculture, and the daily lives of communities. Where larger companies gain monopoly over land, either through acquiring land or providing industrial services on leased land, it is of the utmost importance that these companies become guardians of the wetlands they impact. By taking ownership and responsibility, these companies can provide a healthy ecosystem for their local surrounding communities and make it possible for them to still benefit from the wetlands.