Impact of Alluvial Diamond Mining on Macroinvertebrate Community Structure in the Lower Vaal River, Northern Cape Province in South Africa
The study aimed to assess the impact of alluvial diamond mining on macroinvertebrate community composition at four selected sites in lower Vaal River in 2016 with the application of the South African Scoring System 5 (SASS5). Macroinvertebrates and physico-chemical water parameters such as pH, turbidity, electrical conductivity and dissolved oxygen were measured seasonally. Turbidity levels were high 5.98.0±0.63 NTU but never exceeded the water quality guidelines of aquaculture, whilst pH values did not vary much and were generally alkaline throughout the study. The macroinvertebrate community structure varied at all sites during the study period. Site 4 was the most impacted site dominated by the more tolerant macroinvertebrates such as Simuliidae, Baetidae and Gyrinidae. The study concludes that although alluvial diamond mining had a negative impact on macroinvertebrate community in the short-term period, they appeared to re-establish quickly once the mining operations stopped.
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