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IWC Africa Node to participate in the National Freshwater Ecosystems Priority Areas (NFEPA) Project

The NFEPA project is a three-year partnership project (June 2008 – May 2011), led by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
IWC Africa Node to participate in the National Freshwater Ecosystems Priority Areas (NFEPA) Project

Dr Dirk Roux, IWC Africa Node Director, presenting at a NFEPA workshop.

The project aims to identify a national network of freshwater conservation areas and to explore institutional mechanisms for their implementation. Whilst NFEPA is a partnership project, it includes a number of different organisations and institutions from provincial and local government departments, government and non government agencies to Universities and consultancies. The IWC Africa Node forms part of the team tasked with investigating the institutional and governance mechanism of the implementing agencies.

A series of workshops/meetings are currently being held across the country to interact and engage with the main implementing agencies. The aims of these workshops are to (a) investigate the links between NFEPA and the mandates and responsibilities of various agencies and (b) jointly explore how existing capacity and legislation can be used to implement NFEPA.

NFEPA is a national project and one of the first in South Africa to identify spatial priority areas for freshwater on a country wide scale. This is significant as it will feed into the second national spatial biodiversity assessment for the country which is due to be completed at the end of 2010. Five consultative workshops were held across South Africa to identify the criteria for delineating the freshwater spatial priority areas. The main input layers into the technical maps are:

a)    Rivers: river types and river condition
b)    Wetlands: wetland types and condition, significant wetland clusters
c)    Estuaries: priority estuaries
d)    Free flowing rivers
e)    High water yield areas and high groundwater recharge areas
f)    Fish migration routes and sanctuaries.

For more information on this project please contact Linda Downsborough at


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