River Biomonitoring
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The River Health Programme (RHP) was developed through the collaboration of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, the Water Research Commission and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, with the assistance of various consultants and universities.

This programme aims at using standardised and proven scientific techniques to measure the health of all major rivers in South Africa by observing the numbers and species of invertebrates found in a specific habitat in the river. The type of invertebrate found in a specific location and the ratio of one specie to another gives a clear indication of the impact human activity has had on a river system. Although not entirely, biomonitoring can replace some expensive chemical analyses of river systems to a large extent.

The River Health Programme also includes a community-based component namely, the Stakeholder Communication and Grassroots Education Programme (GCEE), which aims at involving local stakeholders in the RHP. 

As part of the Environmental Management Programme for any project, which may impact on a nearby river or stream, African Environmental Development can assist you in implementing such a monitoring programme.  The objectives of the biomonitoring survey in any river system will be the following:

  •    Assist our clients to build capacity towards implementation of the RHP in the affected river systems,

  •     Identify suitable sites for macro-invertebrate monitoring,

  •    Test the macro-invertebrate sampling methodologies

  •    Determine the condition of the biological communities in the rivers,

  •   Establish base-line reference data for future monitoring.

  •     Initiate the process of sustainable implementation of the RHP in the area and

  •    Provide the client with meaningful and useful results.

Should you require any more information on how African Environmental Development can assist you with implementing a River Health Programme, or if you would like more general information on the subject, please contact us on the following e-mail address:

environment@aed.co.za