Source to Sea Programme

Water is the basis for life on earth and supports some of the most species-rich habitats on the planet. The Source to Sea Programme works at the coalface of conservation and through a range of multi-sectoral partnerships that implement innovative and catalytic solutions to address the direct threats to aquatic ecosystems and their root causes.

Growing human populations are putting increasing pressure on freshwater ecosystems globally: altering and fragmenting river flows, abstracting water for agriculture, sanitation and drinking, and releasing unprecedented amounts of pollutants into water bodies. Despite freshwater ecosystems occupying less than 1% of the Earth’s surface, they support around 10% of all known species. As well as being hotspots for biodiversity, freshwaters are often focal points for human development, the negative effects of which – pollution, abstraction, flow modification – mean that freshwater species are more threatened than those in marine or land environments. In South Africa alone, nearly 71% of the main rivers are already regarded as threatened. In order to support the sustainability of freshwater ecosystems and ensure resilience of the communities that rely on them, it is of great importance to manage and conserve rivers that are still in relatively good condition. The Source to Sea Programme implements a suite of river catchment and estuary conservation projects in southern Africa to support integrated and collaborative management strategies for our water resources.

We achieve this through the following projects:

• Marico Catchment Conservation (A Re Itireleng: Let’s do it ourselves)
• Amathole Catchment Conservation
• Knysna Estuary Conservation

Target habitats and species:

• Amathole mountain catchment
• Cape Floristic Region rivers
• Knysna estuary
• 14 species of native fish, 20 species of mollusc and over 187 types of aquatic invertebrates in the Marico River catchment area
• Border Barb
• Eastern Cape Rocky
• Amathole Malachite
• Amathole Toad
• Hogsback Chirping Frog
• Clanwilliam Sandfish
• Clanwilliam Yellowfish
• Berg-Breede River Whitefish
• Clanwilliam Sawfin
• Tradou Redfin
• Fiery Redfin
• Twee River Redfin
• Cape Dwarf-Eelgrass
• Knysna Seahorse
• Pulmonate/False Limpet
• Pansy Shell
• Knysna Sandgoby

For more information, contact Dr Ian Little

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