Paardevlei can have its original name back now

29 October 2013

Flaminke Valey (now known as Paardevlei) circa 1700s

Flaminke Valey (centre left. now known as Paardevlei) circa 1700s

Paardevlei before rehabilitation (Photo: Bill Harding)

Paardevlei before rehabilitation (Photo: Bill Harding)

Paardevlei, a shallow and much-modified vlei south of Somerset West, used to be known as Flamingo Vlei.  OK, this was back in the 1700s – the map above shows it as Flaminke Valey [center left], with the then much larger Zeekoe Valey (at Sitari, north of Maccassar) just to the north. Read more »

EU to adopt policy on protecting forests from road impacts

28 October 2013


Press release – October 24, 2013

Strasbourg -The European Parliament has backed two proposals by MEP Kriton Arsenis to take action against the construction of new roads in intact forests. Read more »

Milking the unwitting: excessive cost of diatom analyses

23 October 2013

Diatoma vulgaris (Photo: Bill Harding)

Diatoma vulgaris (Photo: Bill Harding)

As co-developer of the South African Diatom Protocol, the so-called DAP, it has come to my attention that some service providers are charging exorbitantly high prices for processing a single sample – something that should cost somewhere around R1000.00 per sample ex VAT.  While ‘let the buyer beware’ always prevails, don’t get conned, do your homework.  While there are very few specialists who can perform these analyses, this is no reason to overcharge.

Another issue is the proficiency of the service providers – diatom identification to species is a complex business.  If you are at all unsure, insist that the lab you choose sends a set number of samples (duplicates) to a known and proficient analyst for quality control purposes – or – make duplicates of your samples and send some of them to a second lab yourself.  Finally, insist that duplicates of your processed samples be lodged with the South African National Diatom Collection – currently housed at North West University’s Potchefstroom campus.  By so doing, anyone can check on the accuracy of what was found at any point in the future.

Truth in humour

20 October 2013

Mans environmental inhumanity

Horses on the Common

17 October 2013

Part of the Greyton Commonage has been quietly sold off for development (after being rezoned from undeveloped to residential) – without any environmental process having been undertaken.  This despite the fact that the land falls within a Critically Endangered vegetation type and alongside a fish sanctuary river (see earlier post here).

Part of the herd of horses that frequent the Greyton Common daily - where houses are due to be built.

Part of the herd of horses that frequent the Greyton Common daily – where houses are due to be built.

...and their herdsman...
…and their herdsman…


Breakthrough Discovery Links Blue-Green Algae With Motor Neuron Disease

17 October 2013

(This press release was made by University of Technology, Sydney and is repeated here verbatim as part of Droplet’s information program on the possible links between BMAA and motor neuron disease – search Droplets for ‘BMAA’ for more information).

In summary:

  • For the first time UTS and US research has found a link between toxins produced by blue-green algae and motor neurone disease
  • Over 90 per cent of motor neuron diseases have had no known cause or cure

A recently identified link between a toxic amino acid found in blue-green algae and several motor neuron diseases could help researchers devise a therapy for the fatal conditions. Read more »