Coast KZN

25 Jan 2020

Plan to address damage to Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve

(Northglen News) Picture: Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve tour guide, Bongani Chisale and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife officer, David Mnguni, show the extent of the damage to the wetland of the reserve.

WHILE much of the spotlight has been focused on the ongoing work to repair the M4 Ruth First Highway, little has been said about the damage done to the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve which lies directly below the collapsed highway.  The highway has been out of commission for more than a month since a partial collapse caused the closure of the route between uMhlanga and Sibaya.

In December last year, a portion of the M4 roadway that was washed away led to a mudslide which affected the 26 hectare reserve which is a sanctuary not only for small wildlife but also for a number of wetland and coastal forest species. Due to the collapse, a deluge of sand covered the reserve’s wetland said Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Basil Pather.

“The sand plume has been particularly devastating to the wetland alongside the M4, where significant quantities of sediment filled it in flowing the wash away. The wetlands are an important feature of the Umhlanga Nature Reserve and it is not possible to quantify the impact it has had on wildlife and birds. Suffice to say, an important support habitat has been affected,” he explained.

Pather added a plan to restore the reserve’s wetland would be pursued once repair work to the damaged section of the highway was complete.