Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter April 2003
From the Hide
There is not much bird life around the hide at present, due to non-existent water levels! A bird count done on 11th April concentrated on other wetter areas of Rietvlei. The Dolphin Beach Ponds still have some Spurwinged Geese, a few Whitebacked Duck, Purple Herons and 8 Purple Gallinules. We were lucky enough to see an adult Purple Gallinule with a small fluffy chick. Numbers of these Gallinules are always high at these ponds and they are always happy to show themselves. The Diep River is looking good these days now that most of the Water Hyacinth is gone and we had good totals here. 23 Blackwinged Stilt, Redbilled Teal and a nice Pied Kingfisher. The Egyptian Geese were prolific and around 1,400 were counted in total. 30 Pelicans and around 100 Spurwinged Geese, as well as 16 Black Oystercatchers were a nice surprise. 6 African Snipe were seen in the Lagoon area.
 
Annual General Meeting
Our AGM will be held on Thursday 8th May and we hope as many members as possible will be able to attend. There will be the usual Chairman's Report, Treasurers Report and any new business. Our new students will present updates on their projects for the year, and Rob Robertson will update us on latest Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works developments. If we have any news about our Education Centre, we will present it at the AGM.
Date: Thursday 8th May 2003
Time: 7.30p.m. for 8p.m.
Venue: Milnerton Aquatic Clubhouse, off Pentz Drive, Table View
Details: Margaret at 557-4990
 
Rainfall figures for Rietvlei 2000 - 2003
 
2000-2001
2001-2002
2002-2003
October
5.3
31.2
33.7
November
8.8
22.5
13.2
December
2.5+
10.5
20.1
January
16
57.9
3.5
February
2
10
6
March
0
10.1
32.2
Renewal time
Included with your newsletter, you will find a Renewal Notice. Please complete this and return it to our P.O. Box. We sincerely hope all our members will opt to renew their membership, Rietvlei needs your care and protection.
If you joined the Friends of Rietvlei since December 2002, please ignore the Renewal Notice - you do not need to renew.
  
REPORT BACK ON RIETVLEI CENTRAL PAN DUST PROBLEMS
Members of a few years standing will remember that during the late summer of 2001 the central pan of Rietvlei became very dry as a consequence of the very hot, windy and low-rainfall conditions of the months of January to March. The Council commissioned a study to be done by the CSIR to provide methods to deal with the excessive dust that blew off the pan during exceptionally windy periods. The methods proposed had to be acceptable from an environmental, social and engineering/economic point of view.
The recommended option to deal with a dry and dusty pan that was creating a significant dust nuisance to the downwind residents was to pump water from the North Vlei across the pan to wet it by soaking (i.e. run the water onto the pan from the end of the pipe).
Late summer of 2002 did not produce a dry and dusty pan so no action was needed on the pan. However towards the end of February this year the pan dried out and the strong southeasterly wind started to create dust problems. The Council put the measures recommended in the CSIR report into action for the first time. Koos Retief, Rietvlei's Environmental Site Officer, oversaw the measures. Council's Roads and Stormwater section provided staff, the pump and pipes, and the three Rietvlei Nature Conservation students provided a lot of the muscle-power for moving the heavy, muddy pipes.
These actions were successful and pumping has now ceased for this season.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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