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Collaboration unveils rare fish species in Nels River

The University of Mpumalanga conducted a health assessment of the Nels River, which was recently initiated by the Riverside CID Social Investment Foundation in partnership with TWK Agri, Insele Environmental Consulting and the Riverside CID (Riverside Park Precinct Association).

In an exciting collaboration initiated by the Riverside CID Social Investment Foundation, funded in partnership with TWK Agri, Insele Environmental Consulting and the Riverside CID (Riverside Park Precinct Association (RPPA)), the University of Mpumalanga has recently conducted a health assessment of the Nels River.
This comprehensive study has uncovered the presence of a special fish species, marking a significant milestone in local biodiversity conservation efforts.

The Greater Riverside Biodiversity Initiative (GRBI) is a direct beneficiary of the Nels River health assessment study, utilising the acquired information to make informed decisions and plans. This collaboration between the Riverside CID Social Investment Foundation and the University of Mpumalanga not only enhances the GRBI’s conservation efforts, but also positions them to implement targeted strategies for the sustainable management of the Riverside CID’s natural resources. The study’s findings serve as a practical guide, reinforcing the GRBI’s commitment to preserving and enriching the region’s biodiversity.

The survey, conducted during both winter and spring, showcased distinct seasonal variations with 35 individuals recorded in winter and 72 in spring.

Between May and October, diligent students conducted 82 sampling efforts across four key sites along the river, resulting in the collection of 107 individual fish. The survey, conducted during both winter and spring, showcased distinct seasonal variations with 35 individuals recorded in winter and 72 in spring.

Notably, 12 out of the known 14 different fish species were identified during the survey, with eight species observed in winter and nine in spring. Boschrand Weir emerged as the hotspot for biodiversity, boasting the highest species richness with seven distinct species, followed by the Provincial Government Complex (six species), the Nels UMP (four species) and Boschrand Bridge (two species).

The Provincial Government Complex site, surprisingly, had the highest abundance of individual fish, totalling 54 individuals. Other notable counts include the Boschrand Weir (29 individuals), the Boschrand Bridge (nine individuals) and the Nels UMP (four individuals).

Among the discovered species, the shortspine suckermouth (Chiloglanis pretoriae) and rosefin barb (Enteromius crocodilensis) were particularly noteworthy, occurring at three different sites throughout both seasons. The shortspine suckermouth exhibited the highest abundance with 30 individuals, followed closely by the largescale yellowfish (Labeobarbus marequensis) and the dwarf tigerfish (Micralestes acutidens), each recorded at 18 individuals.

This ground-breaking research not only enhances our understanding of the river’s aquatic life, but also emphasises the pivotal role that we play in fostering environmental stewardship and sustainability.

In a conservation win, the survey also identified the critically endangered Incomati rock catlet (Chiloglanis bifurcus) emphasising the importance of preserving the delicate balance of our aquatic ecosystems.
“We are thrilled to announce these remarkable findings from the Nels River survey, underscoring the rich biodiversity present in our local waterways. This collaborative effort between the Riverside CID Social Investment Foundation and the University of Mpumalanga not only benefits projects like the GRBI, but also exemplifies the power of partnerships in advancing our understanding of and commitment to preserving our natural heritage,” said Angelica Kaiser-Reichel, the senior researcher on the project.

This ground-breaking research not only enhances our understanding of the river’s aquatic life, but also emphasises the pivotal role that we play in fostering environmental stewardship and sustainability.
The Riverside CID Social Investment Foundation extends its gratitude to its partners TWK Agri, Insele Environmental Consulting and Riverside CID (RPPA) for their support in making this study possible

 
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