Natal Bight Sentinel Site

The Natal-Bight Sentinel Site (NBSS), situated in the subtropical Natal Bioregion, is still in the development phase, but will be located in the area south of Durban to Richards Bay, incorporating the entire Natal Bight. The equipment and sensors to be deployed will be similar to those in the Algoa Bay Sentinel Site (ABSS), but the exact locations still need to be determined through a comprehensive consultative process. The activities in the NBSS will be similar to those taking place in the ABSS. A feature of the NBSS is the strong flowing Tugela River that supplies large volumes of freshwater, sediment and nutrients onto the Natal Bight Shelf, acting as an important driver of the pelagic and benthic ecosystem. Another unique feature of the NBSS is the presence of mangrove forests in the estuaries along the coast, in particular the Mhlathuze Estuary near Richards Bay, the largest mangrove forest in South Africa. Mangrove forests and salt marsh vegetation will play an important role in mitigating the impact of rising sea level as they have the capacity to accrete sediment and keep pace with the rising sea levels.