|Location||South Africa, Western Cape|
|Central coordinates||20o 0.00' East 34o 43.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i|
|Altitude||0 - 20m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description This complex wetland system, located at the southern tip of the African continent, 25 km south of Bredasdorp, consists of the Nuwejaarsrivier and its associated marshes, Soetendalsvlei and the Heuningnes river and its estuary (the southernmost estuary in Africa). The area of interest extends from 5 km upstream of the Nuwejaarsrivier–Soetendalsvlei confluence to the mouth of the Heuningnes river. The vlei acts as a reservoir, and when it overflows, the run-off spills over into the Heuningnes river, which feeds the estuary. The primary wetland area is found between Heuningrug and Wiesdrif. Vegetation includes mixed and monospecific stands of tall to short sedges, reeds and grasses (Eleocharis, Cyperus, Scirpus, Typha, Phragmites), open mud patches, shallow water, Isolepis mats, deep pools and shallow pan-like pools. A second wetland area is the 5 km stretch of the Nuwejaarsrivier close to Moddervlei. The Wiesdrif pan on the farm is a shallow flooded depression in grassland, with much emergent vegetation. Many of the river channels are poorly defined and drainage into the estuary occurs via vleis and marshes, which constitute large areas of wetland.The estuary mouth comprises an extensive bay with sand, mudflats and tidal saltmarsh, dominated by Limonium, Salicornia and Sarcocornia. Heavily grazed and degraded flood-plain vegetation is found between the saltmarsh and the sandbanks. Patches of reed Phragmites occur at places along the riverbanks. The terrestrial vegetation adjacent to the estuary consists of dune scrub (coastal fynbos). The estuary is important as a nursery ground for marine fish.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Cape Francolin Francolinus capensis||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus||breeding||-||300-450 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus||winter||-||700-1,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Damara Tern Sterna balaenarum||breeding||-||common [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Cape Bulbul Pycnonotus capensis||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|De Mond||Provincial Nature Reserve||927||protected area contained by site||1,580|
|De Mond (Heuningnes estuary)||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||918||protected area contained by site||918|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Salt marshes; Sand dunes and beaches - riverine||-|
|Artificial - terrestrial||12%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||17%|
|nature conservation and research||100%|
Other biodiversity The reptile Bradypodion pumilum (CR) is thought to occur in the area.
References Bickerton (1984), Burger et al. (1980), Cowan (1995), Cowan and Marneweck (1996), Crawford et al. (1982a), Summers et al. (1976), Taylor (1997a,b), Underhill and Cooper (1984).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Heuningnes river and estuary system. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/03/2014
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