Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter April 2005
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
This important annual meeting of our Friends group takes place…..
Date: Thursday 5th May 2005
Time: 7.30 p.m. for 8.00 p.m.
Venue: Rietvlei Education Centre, behind MAC Clubhouse, off Pentz Drive
Speaker: James Collicott
Topic: 'Lighthouses'
Enquiries: Pauline 557 6920 a/h or 4644748 o/h
Milnerton Lighthouse lies on our boundary so this a pertinent speaker topic. The AGM is also the time of hearing what has been done over the last year and setting up an effective committee for the next year, so the committee will present the business matters of the past year to the members. Members it will be your opportunity to get involved and make sure that the committee goes from strength to strength.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ATTEND OR SEND APOLOGIES. VISITORS AND POTENTIAL NEW MEMBERS ARE REALLY WELCOME.
 
MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL
For members paying an annual subscription please find attached a renewal form. The new financial year started on 1 April so your subs are now due. Please post a cheque, direct deposit at the bank or pay at the AGM. Your subs keep this newsletter going as well as contribute in many ways to the conservation of Rietvlei.
  
Rainfall.. or the lack of it…….. NOW LOTS OF IT
As we wrote last month Rietvlei was dry and the City was suffering under a lack of water. Fortunately this all changed on 10/11 April. So far this year the following rain has been recorded at Rietvlei: Jan 2005 16mm, February 4mm, March 14,5 , and on 10 April 44mm. In the days thereafter there has been more rain. The total water in the City's dams has crept up from a low of 26,3% to 27,9% by 18 April. Rietvlei has filled up considerably due to this local rain. The heavy rain of 63mm at Malmesbury ensured that the Diep River catchment area also flowed and by Tuesday 12 April the Diep River rose considerably. The most unusual occurrence of muddy water flowing from the central pan across rapids into the South Vlei and North Vlei was observed by people driving along the R27.
The Rietvlei conservation staff had to brave the cold wet, windy and muddy conditions on Monday 11 April to retrieve the pump and pipes that had been used since 28 February in keeping the central pan damp. Had they not got the pipes out on Monday the pipes would have been buried under mud until next summer. Ironically the pump and pipes were rushed off to be used in suburbs that were flooded.
Fortunately the rains brought rapid relief to local residents who experienced dust clouds blowing off the pan on Friday 8 April. The exceptionally strong south-east winds picked up the dust, but unusually these winds also brought the rain, thunder and lightening.
 
SATURDAY OPEN DAY : 09H00 TO 12H00 : 7TH MAY 2005
BRING FRIENDS & FAMILY TO OUR ENVIRONMENTAL CENTRE TO READ, CHAT AND LOOK. A WALK TO THE BIRD HIDE WILL DEPART FROM THE CENTRE AT 10H00. PLEASE COME!!!!
 
"Otterless du Plessis Drive"
(Written by: Cassandra Quinton Sheasby; Photos taken by: Kareemah Jacobs)
On the 31 January 2005, a member of the community notified the Nature Conservation Office at Milpark that a dead Cape Clawless Otter had been seen on the side of Otto du Plessis drive. It was more than likely knocked down at night over the weekend. Nature Conservation Officials then went to the site and picked it up. The lower body of the Otter had been badly mangled by the car that hit it so determining its sex was difficult. From the size and the lack of signs of lactation, it was assumed to be a male.
On the 01 April 2005, two more Cape Clawless Otters were reported dead on the side of Otto du Plessis drive to the Nature Conservation staff of Rietvlei Wetland Reserve. These were collected by the staff and were sexed. The still lactating mother and her male cub were probably trying to cross the road from the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve to the coastal section of the road when a car hit them. The two Otters were donated to the Blaauwberg Conservation Area for taxidermy in order to serve an educational purpose.
The Otter population at Rietvlei is probably not more than one or two family groups as they are quite territorial. The population will not be able to sustain itself if this continues and it may eventually lead to the local extinction of Otters from Rietvlei. These are not the only animals that are hit by cars along this road. A Grysbok was also collected along this road during February this year.
The speed limit on Otto du Plessis is 80kms per hour along the stretch adjacent to the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve, but often people drive faster than 100kms per hour here especially at night when these animals come out to feed. Future management of this road may have to include a "subway" under the road for animals to cross safely and "Otter Crossing" signs, but until that is possible, we are requesting people to drive more slowly and carefully along this road to prevent sad events like these occurring as frequently in the future.
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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