When the sand marches in

Aug 27, 2014

In 1904 the population of South Africa totalled a little over 5 million and nature would have run its course without any intervention. Dry Bones Valley would be carrying out its duty by allowing windblown sand to travel along its route forming sand dunes and coastal beaches between Bushman’s and Kariega rivers.

The South African population has increased at an alarming rate, in 1911 – 6 million, 2011 – 51.7 million, 2013 – 53 million people.
Over the years it is obvious that space had to be made to accommodate a growing population with about 40% moving to coastal areas for their livelihood as in fishing, working at various shipping harbours and all the infrastructure and activities that go with it.
All along the South African coastline towns and cities increased in size and human influence drastically interfered with nature. This is evident at the Kenton side of Bushman’s River Mouth, with vegetation closing off the natural movement of sand within the Headland By-Pass System stretching from the river all the way to middle beach, the area known as Dry Bones Valley. Inadvertently over the years man has interfered with this natural sand movement by placing branches on the beach to first protect a brick yard and then the Municipality of the day protecting a car park which they tragically positioned in the valley mouth and this was further compounded by them building a toilet block within this highly sensitive area.

This vegetation has caused a build-up of sand forming a huge dune field westwards into the estuary as a whole and correspondingly there is a sand deficit on the eastern side of Dry Bone Valley. The dunes between Central and Kariega beaches are severely reduced in size with catastrophic landslides imminent.

The large sand dune on the western entrance of Dry Bones Valley will increase in size and continue its movement eastwards covering houses and vegetation in its way. This will have direct and major affect on some of the Kenton residents but it will affect all of us in Kenton and Bushman’s. Sand is being carried by the tidal movement within the Bushman’s estuary increasing the size of sand banks and restricting the free flow of water in the intertidal zone and could eventually result in Bushman’s River becoming a blind river. If this should happen it will destroy the natural river systems including, fishing, boating and swimming as the water could stagnate.

In addition the beaches between our rivers are being starved of sand and unless this is replenished we might find ourselves with a very rocky coastline (see video #4 of Waenhuiskrans.)

We are investigating ways of assisting nature in carrying out its work in returning Dry Bones Valley to its natural state. If we do nothing, our precious estuaries and beautiful beaches will be irrecoverably compromised which will ultimately affect the entire community.

 

Video 1

Gives a brief overview

Video 2

Covers the factual detail as to the current movement of sand within our area and the probable outcomes if left untended. It also covers a proposed plan of action in restoring the Dry Bone Valley to its natural state

Video 3

Covers the affect this sand build-up will have on the river system.

Video 4

Is a extract from a 50/50 TV presentation aired earlier this year on the affect of closed Headland By-pass Systems at Waenhuiskrans and at Hout Bay in the West Cape. You will see where a precedent has been set to open up the way ahead for us.

These are posted not only for information purposes but to solicit your support (or concerns) in our ongoing interaction with Government. If anyone would like to comment in any way, please contact:

Chester Wilmot (Tel. 046 648 1721 or 084 624 0947, or e-mail: chesterwil@telkomsa.net )

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