The ecological integrity of the lower Olifants River, Limpopo province, South Africa: 2009–2015 – Part B: Tributaries of the Olifants River
Monitoring on the Lowveld reaches of the Olifants River, Limpopo River System, and its Steelpoort, Blyde, Klaserie and Selati tributaries was initiated in 2009. Analysis of the 2009–2015 data from four Olifants River sites showed deterioration in the river’s ecological condition between where it enters the Lowveld and where it enters the Kruger National Park, with a slight recovery within the Kruger National Park. Physico-chemical, aquatic macroinvertebrate and fish data collected in 2009–2015 at six sites on the Steelpoort, Blyde, Klaserie and Selati tributaries of the Olifants River corroborated the ecological condition of these tributaries. The Selati was the most polluted and was in a critically modified condition, whereas the Klaserie and Steelpoort were in fair condition and the Blyde was in good condition. The Selati appeared to have a significant negative impact on the water quality, macroinvertebrates and fish of the Olifants River within the Kruger National Park.
Keywords: aquatic macroinvertebrates, freshwater fish, long-term biomonitoring, Lowveld, river health, water quality