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  • Writer's pictureMosselbank River Conservation Team

RIVER HEALTH ASSESSMENT

Testing the waters using the MiniSASS tool


River Health, MiniSASS, Mosselbank River


Rivers are vital ecosystems that play a crucial role in sustaining life and providing numerous benefits to the environment and communities. Therefore, on 7 October 2023, as part of our school holiday programme, we conducted an assessment of the Mosselbank River health using the MiniSASS tool. The health of a river is a direct reflection of the quality of its water, and by utilizing MiniSASS, we can gain valuable insights into the state of this South African waterways.

Members of the MRCT and our local volunteers joined in to assess the river health (Photo by Danielle Cronje).


What is a MiniSASS?

MiniSASS, short for "Mini-Stream Assessment Scoring System," is a low-cost, user-friendly tool developed to engage local communities, schools, and researchers in river health assessment. It primarily relies on the presence or absence of specific macroinvertebrates to gauge the river's water quality. Macroinvertebrates, such as insects and crustaceans, are sensitive to changes in water quality and can indicate pollution levels and the overall health of a river.


Our Results

The MiniSASS tool categorizes the river's health into four classes: excellent, good, fair, and poor. An "excellent" rating indicates minimal or no pollution and a thriving ecosystem, while a "poor" rating suggests severe pollution and a deteriorating environment. Our score on this day was 3, which indicates poor river health.



In Conclusion

The application of MiniSASS to the Mosselbank River revealed some essential insights about its current state. The presence of pollution-tolerant macroinvertebrates indicates that human activities and agricultural runoff may be negatively impacting water quality. On the other hand, the absence of sensitive species suggests that there are considerable challenges to overcome in restoring the river's health.


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