Introduction: Dr Piet-Louis Grunlingh

1 February, 2021

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Dr Piet-Louis has a PhD in Natural science (Geography: Wetland Hydrology) with 29 years’ experience in wetland research, rehabilitation, protection, training and wise use. He has managed the implementation of projects within the Working for Wetlands Programme, as part of the Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries, from 2016 to 2019, but was involved with the programme since 2000. He has also previously provided technical support and expert advice to the Environmental Management Inspectorate (EMI) known as the Green Scorpions, with a focus on wetlands. He joined the inspectorate on secondment in September 2019 and was appointed as the Environmental Control Officer: EMI Legal and Technical Support in December 2020

Not only does Piet-Louis have an interest in wetlands, but also in the communities depending on and officials conserving them. As such he is a founding member of the South African Wetland Society and has initiated various training courses in wetland management and rehabilitation (currently hosted through the University of the Free State) to build the capacity of individuals from a variety of backgrounds both in the private and public sector. Mentoring individuals as a volunteer after formal training remains one of his passions. Building the capacity of individuals on National, Provincial and Local government level to be proficient in understanding wetlands is a priority to him. His dedication to wetland rehabilitation and capacity building earned him the South African Vley Lily award at the 2002 National Wetland Action Group Conference (now known as the National Wetland Indaba). He was nominated for the 2013 Stewardship National Wetland Award and was the recipient of the Education & Skills Development National Wetland in 2019 for his contribution in wetland training and capacity building.

Expanding knowledge in wetland functioning is important in managing them properly for future generations and Piet-Louis is therefore involved in various research projects in collaboration with the Water Research Commission and various South African and foreign universities. Therefore he has published and co-authored several scientific papers and presented at both national and international conferences. Piet-Louis utilises scientific rigour and networks in providing the technical support required for specialist opinions and studies.

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