The development of an ecological model to determine flood release options for the management of the Phongolo floodplain in Kwazulu/Natal (South Africa)

Weldrick, Sarah Katharine (1996) The development of an ecological model to determine flood release options for the management of the Phongolo floodplain in Kwazulu/Natal (South Africa). Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The Phongolo River floodplain in KwaZulu/Natal is a river-associated wetland which was subject to regular cycles of flooding in the past. The floods were associated with seasonal summer rainfall. Through the wet and dry cycles on the floodplain there was an alternation between the aquatic and terrestrial biomes. Many of the fishes on the floodplain are dependent on this cycle for their survival. The construction of the Pongolapoort Dam in 1969 has resulted in alterations to the timing, magnitudes and duration of the natural flooding events of the Phongolo River. This alteration has affected the fisheries. It is now necessary to simulate natural floods by artificial water releases from the dam. There are several demands on the water supply, so it has not always been possible to adhere to the natural flood regime. This necessitated the need for an integrated management programme to ensure the sustainability of the natural resources. A practical ecological model of the fishery was developed to determine an optimum flood release scenario for the floodplain. The relative abundances, distribution and species richness of the fishes were determined at various lakes and rivers on the floodplain. A community classification of the fishes was detern1ined using TWINSPAN ordination. The potential yield of the fish at each site was calculated. Flood releases of varying magnitudes were simulated using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This information was combined in a model which can be used by resource managers to estimate the percentage species compositions of fishes at each of the lakes, and to compare the actual harvest to the potential calculated sustainable yields of fishes for various flood release regimes. Subsistence agriculture and other beneficial ecological information can be incorporated into the model to determine the effect of different flood release options for the Phongolo floodplain.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Flood control, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Pongolo floodplain, Fishes
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Fishes
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Ichthyology & Fisheries Science
ID Code:2774
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:08 May 2012 09:15
Last Modified:08 May 2012 09:15
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