The utilisation of the WET-Health and WET-EcoServices tools in the application of Wetland decision making.
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Wetlands serve many purposes in the landscape and are under increasing threat as a consequence of urbanisation despite their importance directly and indirectly to humans. Through an evaluation of the suitability of the WET-Health and WET-EcoServices tools in determining wetland functionality and the provision of goods and services of the wetlands, it was decided that these tools were particularly appropriate for fulfilling the purpose of this research. WET-Health, used in combination with WET-EcoServices, is effective in determining the overall health of wetlands and provides possible reasons for degradation which reduces the ability of wetlands to supply the benefits associated with the particular hydrogeomorphic type. A feedback and questionnaire survey was conducted with eThekwini municipality to determine if the WET-Health and WET-EcoServices tools satisfied their needs and to ascertain whether these tools would be suitable for management of their wetlands. This research, in collaboration with eThekwini municipality’s Planning Department, seeks to contribute to the management and maintenance of wetlands within the uMdloti Catchment so that more informed wetland management decisions regarding wetland sustainability can be made. A level 1 and 2 WET-Health and WET-EcoServices assessments were applied to three sites namely; the Robert Armstrong, Le Mercy and Lake Victoria Barn swallow roosting wetlands. A WET-Health Level 1 assessment can be considered more feasible than a Level 2 which provides similar results yet is more time consuming, however, expert knowledge and experience with the tool may be necessary. A Level 2 WET-EcoServices assessment is recommended as it not only highlights what benefits are being provided but the extent of each benefit thereof also determining whether a wetland has a greater chance to provide a particular benefit but may not being effective in doing so. This in turn allows for efforts and resources to be directed towards improving wetland management and land-use planning and decision making for which the tools are particularly suitable. The tools were considered appropriate and necessary for wetland management and can be adapted into eThekwini municipality’s work situation. The tools provide a holistic approach for wetland assessment as catchment activities are considered.