Freshwater Consulting Group

Scarborough, South Africa

Freshwater Consulting Group

Scarborough, South Africa
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Ollis D.J.,University of Cape Town | Ollis D.J.,Freshwater Consulting Group | Ollis D.J.,Freshwater Research Center | Ewart-Smith J.L.,Freshwater Consulting Group | And 9 more authors.
Water SA | Year: 2015

A classification system is described that was developed for inland aquatic ecosystems in South Africa, including wetlands. The six-tiered classification system is based on a top-down, hierarchical classification of aquatic ecosystems, following the functionally-oriented hydrogeomorphic (HGM) approach to classification but incorporating structural attributes at the lower levels of the hierarchy. At Level 1, a distinction is made between inland, estuarine and shallow marine systems using the degree of connectivity to the open ocean as the key discriminator. Inland systems are characterised by the complete absence of marine exchange and/or tidal influence. At Level 2, inland systems are grouped according to the most appropriate spatial framework for the particular application. At Level 3, four primary Landscape Units are distinguished (Valley floor, Slope, Plain, Bench) on the basis of the topographic position within which a particular inland aquatic ecosystem is situated, in recognition of the influence that the landscape setting has over hydrological and hydrodynamic processes acting within an aquatic ecosystem. Level 4 identifies HGM Units, defined primarily according to landform, hydrological characteristics and hydrodynamics. The following primary HGM Units (or HGM Types), which represent the main units of analysis for the classification system, are distinguished at Level 4A: (1) River; (2) Floodplain Wetland; (3) Channelled Valley-Bottom Wetland; (4) Unchannelled Valley-Bottom Wetland; (5) Depression; (6) Seep; (7) Wetland Flat. Secondary discriminators are applied at Level 5 to classify the hydrological regime of an HGM Unit, and Descriptors at Level 6 to categorise a range of biophysical attributes. The HGM Unit at Level 4 and the Hydrological Regime at Level 5 together constitute a Functional Unit, which represents the focal point of the classification system. The utility of the classification system is ultimately dependent on the level to which ecosystem units are classified, which is in turn constrained by the type and extent of information available. © 2015, South African Water Research Commission. All rights reserved.


Nel J.L.,Natural Environment Research Council | Nel J.L.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | Roux D.J.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | Driver A.,South African National Biodiversity Institute | And 7 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2016

Knowledge co-production and boundary work offer planners a new frame for critically designing a social process that fosters collaborative implementation of resulting plans. Knowledge co-production involves stakeholders from diverse knowledge systems working iteratively toward common vision and action. Boundary work is a means of creating permeable knowledge boundaries that satisfy the needs of multiple social groups while guarding the functional integrity of contributing knowledge systems. Resulting products are boundary objects of mutual interest that maintain coherence across all knowledge boundaries. We examined how knowledge co-production and boundary work can bridge the gap between planning and implementation and promote cross-sectoral cooperation. We applied these concepts to well-established stages in regional conservation planning within a national scale conservation planning project aimed at identifying areas for conserving rivers and wetlands of South Africa and developing an institutional environment for promoting their conservation. Knowledge co-production occurred iteratively over 4 years in interactive stake-holder workshops that included co-development of national freshwater conservation goals and spatial data on freshwater biodiversity and local conservation feasibility; translation of goals into quantitative inputs that were used in Marxan to select draft priority conservation areas; review of draft priority areas; and packaging of resulting map products into an atlas and implementation manual to promote application of the priority area maps in 37 different decision-making contexts. Knowledge co-production stimulated dialogue and negotiation and built capacity for multi-scale implementation beyond the project. The resulting maps and information integrated diverse knowledge types of over 450 stakeholders and represented >1000 years of collective experience. The maps provided a consistent national source of information on priority conservation areas for rivers and wetlands and have been applied in 25 of the 37 use contexts since their launch just over 3 years ago. When framed as a knowledge co-production process supported by boundary work, regional conservation plans can be developed into valuable boundary objects that offer a tangible tool for multi-agency cooperation around conservation. Our work provides practical guidance for promoting uptake of conservation science and contributes to an evidence base on how conservation efforts can be improved. © 2016, Society for Conservation Biology.


Dollar E.S.J.,MWH Global | Nicolson C.R.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Brown C.A.,Southern Waters Ecological Research and Consulting cc | Turpie J.K.,University of Cape Town | And 6 more authors.
Water Policy | Year: 2010

Despite the transition to democracy in 1994, South Africa still had apartheid legislation on the statute books and the allocation ofwater was regulated by the 1956 Water Act. Accordingly, post-apartheid South Africa underwent a water sector reform process culminating in the new National Water Act (No. 36) of 1998. One component of theAct is the requirement for a classification system to determine different classes of water resources. The classification system providesa definition of the classes that are to be used and a seven-step procedure to be followed in order to recommend a class. The class outlines those attributes society requires of different water resources. The economic, social and ecological implications of choosing a classare established and communicated to all interested and affected parties during the classification process. This paper outlines the socioeconomic and political context in which the WRCS was developed and outlines the seven-step procedure. © IWA Publishing 2010.


PubMed | Freshwater Consulting Group, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Natural Environment Research Council and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology | Year: 2016

Knowledge co-production and boundary work offer planners a new frame for critically designing a social process that fosters collaborative implementation of resulting plans. Knowledge co-production involves stakeholders from diverse knowledge systems working iteratively toward common vision and action. Boundary work is a means of creating permeable knowledge boundaries that satisfy the needs of multiple social groups while guarding the functional integrity of contributing knowledge systems. Resulting products are boundary objects of mutual interest that maintain coherence across all knowledge boundaries. We examined how knowledge co-production and boundary work can bridge the gap between planning and implementation and promote cross-sectoral cooperation. We applied these concepts to well-established stages in regional conservation planning within a national scale conservation planning project aimed at identifying areas for conserving rivers and wetlands of South Africa and developing an institutional environment for promoting their conservation. Knowledge co-production occurred iteratively over 4 years in interactive stake-holder workshops that included co-development of national freshwater conservation goals and spatial data on freshwater biodiversity and local conservation feasibility; translation of goals into quantitative inputs that were used in Marxan to select draft priority conservation areas; review of draft priority areas; and packaging of resulting map products into an atlas and implementation manual to promote application of the priority area maps in 37 different decision-making contexts. Knowledge co-production stimulated dialogue and negotiation and built capacity for multi-scale implementation beyond the project. The resulting maps and information integrated diverse knowledge types of over 450 stakeholders and represented >1000 years of collective experience. The maps provided a consistent national source of information on priority conservation areas for rivers and wetlands and have been applied in 25 of the 37 use contexts since their launch just over 3 years ago. When framed as a knowledge co-production process supported by boundary work, regional conservation plans can be developed into valuable boundary objects that offer a tangible tool for multi-agency cooperation around conservation. Our work provides practical guidance for promoting uptake of conservation science and contributes to an evidence base on how conservation efforts can be improved.

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