GroundTruth is a multidisciplinary specialist consulting company with a particular focus on environmental issues surrounding water and water resources.
Please browse our range of services
Members from GroundTruth participated in the 18th annual Cape Parrot Big Birding Day (CPBBD) on the 18th and 19th of April 2015. This event is a wonderful way to assist in the conservation of this Endangered species. The annual CPBBD is important for providing information on population trends, numbers, and distribution data for the Cape Parrot in South Africa, as well as for reporting on environmental impacts (e.g. illegal hunting, cutting down of forests, capture of parrots, etc.) that continue to threaten this flagship species. GroundTruth would like to thank Professor Colleen Downs for the opportunity of getting involved in the 2015 CPBBD.
GroundTruth routinely hosts SASS5 Aquatic Bomonitoring Training Courses, which are typically held twice a year.
GroundTruth, are currently undertaking two exciting multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research projects for the Water Research Commission, and are offering student involvement and some bursaries in this work starting in 2015.
"Development and Innovative Use of Community Based Water Resource Monitoring Tools to Research and Mainstream Citizen Science and Improve Trans-Boundary Catchment Management"
This research project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA). The 3 year project researches citizen involvement in the monitoring and management of water resources within Southern Africa, and involves the collation, development and/or testing of citizens science tools covering rivers, wetlands, estuaries, springs and rainfall.
“Evaluation of the Socio-Ecological Outcomes of Wetland Rehabilitation in South Africa.”
GroundTruth in collaboration with various wetland specialists are undertaking a 5 year research project with a focus on wetland rehabilitation. The aim of the project is to develop an outcomes-based framework to test and evaluate the effectiveness or success of wetland rehabilitation projects within South Africa.
For more information please download the full advertisment HERE. Please note: While applications for Masters and PhD involvement are closed, students are welcome to contact us for opportunitites of aligning their research or honours projects with the above, as well as for vacation work experience.
|In celebration of the inaugural World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) on 24th May 2014, members from GroundTruth attended a workshop hosted by the Institute of Natural Resources and Fish-Trac from 24 to 26 May 2014. The focus of the workshop was on the use of telemetry to monitor fish behaviour through real time biological consequences of altered water quality and quantity variables. WFMD was celebrated by events covering over 270 locations worldwide. Short video clips from each event will be streamed over the internet in the near future.|
GroundTruth's Mahomed Desai at the World Fish Migration Day hosted by the Institute of Natural Resources and Fish-Trac.
|Mr Simon Bruton holding the WRC Knowledge Tree Award for Community empowerment|
GroundTruth were honoured with the ‘WRC Knowledge Tree Award’ during the WRC Technology Symposium Gala Dinner held on 26 September 2013 in Pretoria for the development of miniSASS – a user-friendly river health monitoring tool for use by non-experts that has assisted in the education of learners in particular, on the importance of river health.
The miniSASS is a derivation of the South African Scoring System (SASS), an aquatic biomonitoring tool that has been used in South Africa for over 30 years. This low cost, low technology, environmental education tool was developed by reducing the 90 plus traditional SASS aquatic invertebrate taxa that are used to derive river health classes into 13 simple groups to produce citizen science data that gives an indication of the health of rivers and is a ‘red flag’ indicator of problems.
According to Dr Mark Graham, a member of the original team who developed miniSASS, the tool has been used for over 10 years by environmental educators and the South African River Health Programme (RHP). The skills learnt from using the technique include the promotion of a level of understanding of the environment. Many of the rural and urban children who joined the groups’ studies of the rivers had never before seen the organisms that live in the rivers and discussions around the role and functions of the organisms enriched their knowledge of the environment. There has been an increasing integration of the environmental education in school curricula. Useful data can be derived from the process and the tool can be used by community groups to obtain a indication of the river health in their local systems.
Craig Cowden, Bonani Madikizela and Heather Malan with their respective National Wetland Awards
The 18th annual National Wetlands Indaba 2013 was hosted by the Eastern Cape Wetlands Forum at Cape St Francis, in the Eastern Cape. The Indaba theme was “Wetlands as Ecological Infrastructure” and served to bring together a wide variety of people, including government officials, practitioners, students and scientists, who all share a common interest in wetlands. GroundTruth actively participated in the Indaba using the presentation sessions as a platform to share insights from some of the projects that GroundTruth is/has been involved in, including:
13 June 2013
| GroundTruth has been appointed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) to develop a plan for the rehabilitation of the freshwater ecosystems within the KZN National Botanical Gardens (Pietermaritzburg). In the late 1980’s Kingfisher Lake was constructed on the Dorpspruit River which runs through the Botanical Gardens. During heavy storms, elevated flows contribute high sediment loads and litter from the upstream catchment, with the result that it is now almost completely filled in. The sedimentation has impacted on biodiversity and has allowed invasive plants to thrive. The reduced area of open water has impacted the diversity and numbers of water birds and dragonflies which frequent the gardens.
|SANBI, DAEA, environmental consultants and engineers discussing the planned rehabilitation works at Kingfisher Lake|
|GroundTruth will be working closely with Gcina Nene, director of the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens, and Christopher Willis, also of SANBI. Willis is co-author of the book Water Dancers of South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens, and commented during a site meeting that 24 core species of dragon fly typically frequent the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Garden at any time, but at certain times of the year this can be into the 40’s. To attract a diversity of dragonflies you need a diversity of still and flowing open water and plant habitats along the river margins to provide for the various life cycle stages and habitat niches of different species. The management plan and rehabilitation works aim to enhance the present habitat diversity.|
|Area of wetland to be enhanced to spread flows and promote biodiversity|
A key part of the planning is the design of rehabilitation interventions which will secure the integrity of the habitat while spreading water flows over relic wetland habitat. This will promote the return of wetland species to these areas, increasing biodiversity and ecological integrity. The rehabilitation will also incorporate measures for the trapping of sediment before it reaches the wetland habitat and Kingfisher Lake. All of these measures aim to make it easier for SANBI to manage sediment, litter and alien plant problems within the watercourse.