Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter October 2004
From the Hide
Member Gerrie Horn recently contacted me to report a strange duck he saw at the hide which he decided was probably an escaped Mandarin Duck. Water ranger Wally Wolhuter has been observing a pair of Giant Kingfishers excavating a nest hole in a sand bank and we are eagerly watching this as Giant Kingfishers are not common anywhere, and not often seen at Rietvlei, and to have a breeding pair would be really special. A pair of Banded Martins also appear be nest excavating somewhere near the Kingfishers.
Members driving along the R27 towards town must have noticed the beautiful Senecio elegans (all those purple flowers) growing on the west bank all the way to the model-flying club. This stunning flower show is due to the diligent efforts of our alien hackers who removed so much Port Jackson along these banks a few years ago! It's such a pleasure to drive along this road at this time of the year.
 
Please remember our Play Evening on Thursday 7th October, at Milnerton Playhouse. "Same Time, Next Year" is a fund raiser for Friends of Rietvlei, so please phone Nelis Visagie on 557-4094 if you would like to purchase tickets.
 
Open Day
Our next Open day at the Education Centre will be on Saturday 16 October 2004. The Centre will be open from 9a.m. and at 10a.m. there will be a walk to the bird hide. We are looking for a knowledgeable birding member will turn up to lead the walk, as I will be away. If we cannot find anyone, I am sure everyone will have fun using our bird identification cards to assist! We are also offering all walkers the use of our own new binoculars (bought for school groups to use) and we have 20 pairs so there will be enough for everyone. Hoping to see many of our members and friends. After the walk, join us for tea and coffee and bring a snack.
 
Potsdam Environmental Management Committee
As our members are now aware, the approval of the upgrade of the existing Wastewater Treatment Works was granted last year and a meeting was recently held to initiate the establishment of the EMC. The Record of Decision requires that an EMC be formed. The initial meeting including establishing the Terms of Reference, an overview of the Environmental Management Plan and a history of the entire process from 2000 to 2003. The upgrade will not be totally finished before 2008 and the Committee will meet every six weeks until completion. Friends of Rietvlei are represented on the EMC as we need to be involved in all matters concerning Rietvlei.
 
Adopt a Beach
This nation-wide program is aimed at getting local people to adopt and look after their local beach. In the case of Friends of Rietvlei we have two stretches of beach within the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve, viz. Milnerton Lagoon Mouth and the section between Sunset Beach and Dolphin Beach.
On the third Saturday (18th) of September, (another wet and cold third Saturday of the month!) a brave band of Friends arrived at the Rietvlei Education Centre. After a warming cup of coffee and snacks we sat down to discussing the Adopt-a-beach program and investigated the "trommel", or blue box, of goodies. This box is packed with a most comprehensive array of items needed for monitoring the beach. There is everything there from a pencil to a file of reports, from a secchi disk to a backpack.
After discussing possible actions to be undertaken it was agreed that litter was a problem on our beaches and that a clean-up combined with the analysis of the litter would be an informative way to start. Most of the people attending the morning were retired and in the fortunate position of being able to visit the beach on a weekday. It was agreed that a Tuesday morning should be tried for the first litter pick-up/survey.
So….EVERYONE WHO CAN please meet on Tuesday 12th October at 09h30 at the parking area on the seaward side of the R27 between Sunset Beach and Dolphin Beach. This is opposite the South Vlei. If possible please come dressed in blue trousers/shorts and a white shirt/jersey so that we will look like a crew of workers. We are going to try and get badges for people to wear. Please bring gloves, a black refuse bag and any other items you think might be useful for the job. A camera or two to record the event would be great. We will probably spend an hour on the job and then have time for a picnic and chat about what we have collected.
The following enthusiastic members can be contacted if you wish to get more info about the discussions we had or perhaps band together for the drive to the beach:
Ruby Briggs 551 3187, Gary Van der Merwe 083 271 6365, Ann & Peter Lane 551 3457, Isobel Hutchison 557 1486, Don & Diane Bedford 975 8331, Roland and Pat Desmarais 554 5831, Pat Titmuss 557 3748
We look forward to seeing you at the beach - all friends, relatives and neighbours are also most welcome.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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