Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter October 2006
We send GREETINGS to all our friends and members, and apologies for the long time since the last newsletter. Thanks to a computer crash and loss of e-mail addresses and other information, changes of speakers and walks, this newsletter, which started as the August newsletter, has now become the October newsletter. YOU MAY BE GETTING THIS NEWSLETTER BY POST THIS MONTH AS YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS HAS GONE MISSING. SO PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL BACK TO US SO THAT YOU GET BACK ON THE EMAIL LIST. EMAILS SAVE US A HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY IN POSTAGE & PAPER.
  
FRIENDS OF RIETVLEI WEBSITE
Our new website is up and running and is very impressive. Thanks go to Niel van Wyk for all the work that has gone into this project. PLEASE NOTE: Our new web address is www.friendsofrietvlei.co.za and if you wish to contact Friends of Rietvlei our new e-mail address is info@friendsofrietvlei.co.za. Please change your records to the new details. Have a look at the site and if you would like to contribute some photos or information you can contact Niel Van Wyk on niel@bluecape.co.za. We would greatly appreciate all contributions to the website to make it interesting and informative.
 
ACTIVITIES
Our next walk in the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve and to the bird hide will be on Sunday 5 November. The Education Centre will be open from 14h30 and the walk will begin at 15h00. Please join us for the walk and then a cup of tea/coffee afterwards. Bring binoculars if you have, & your teatime snacks to share.
Our year-end function is planned for 16 November and will include the Students’ final reports. Those of you who were at our last Evening Talk which was held in June will remember that it was given by the students who are working at Rietvlei this year, informing us of their projects for 2006. Tracy’s project concerns the brush burning that happens at Rietvlei, to dispose of the remains of brush from the alien vegetation clearing, and investigates the optimal size of the pile to be burnt. Arno’s project has to do with the re-introduction of prawns into the lagoon and Chantel’s project researches the quality of the water feeding into the channel at Theo Marais Park. It will be a "bring-and–share" evening, so if you could bring a plate of snacks that would be good. We will supply some wine, fruit juice, tea and coffee. We plan to start at 8pm, so if you could arrive at 7:30 for some social time first, that would be great. As usual we will be meeting at the Rietvlei Education Centre, adjacent to Milnerton Aquatic Club, off Sandpiper Rd, Flamingo Vlei.
 
FRIENDS GET-TOGETHER
WESSA, with whom Friends of Rietvlei is affiliated, is holding a year-end Friends get-together, hosted by Friends of Tygerberg on Saturday 18 November at 10:00. Phone Pauline (021 557 6920 a/h or 021 464 4748 o/h) or Pat (021 557 3748) for more details.
 
DIEP RIVER
Clearing of alien vegetation has happened in the Diep River area, east of Gie Rd, west of the Diep River and the railway line. The stockpiled brush material was burned by the Rietvlei conservation staff, under conditions of a permit for burning. This was all completed by 30 September. Once the area was cleared of Port Jackson lots of rubble and litter was exposed as well as a myriad of tracks, created by motor bikes, quad bikes and 4x4’s. It is hoped that the area between Gie Rd and the railway line will become part of the extension of the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve. This area is to be fenced soon. The biggest threats to this area at present are possible low cost housing, off-road vehicles, hunting with packs of dogs and dumping of rubble. For those of you who live in the area or have friends living there please keep your eyes and ears open to these threats and pass any information you have on to the committee by email. We are planning a walk in the area next year so that members can see what is happening.
 
RAINFALL
A fair amount of rain fell during winter and now it seems as though winter is officially over. The thumping south-easter wind now does its best to dry up the area. The rainfall figures at Rietvlei for the winter were: May 104mm, June 25.5mm, July 64.2 mm, August 45mm, September 12mm. October wont add much to the total! Spring has come with its renewed growth and glorious flower displays. Not to mention the longer days and not having to drive to work in pitch darkness!
 
WATER QUALITY
Those of you who drive down Koeberg Road towards Milnerton will have seen the changes at the old Kynoch fertiliser factory site. All the old buildings have been demolished and cleared away. The Duikersvlei stream has been diverted around the southern and western edges of the site. The good news is that nitrate levels that were in the stream water have dropped significantly and that means that Rietvlei isn’t getting fertilised!
 
WATER HYACINTH
We are greatly concerned that the City of Cape Town has not found any money in this financial year to keep water hyacinth growth at bay. For the past 5–6 years there have been successful manual removal programmes run by the City that kept the river and vlei largely clear of this rapidly growing invasive plant. Some years ago the build up of water hyacinth nearly led to the historic wooden bridge over the Milnerton Lagoon being washed away by the weight of water hyacinth pushing against it. The water surface of large parts of the Milnerton Lagoon and Diep River, near Blaauwberg Road Bridge, disappeared under water hyacinth. Is that what we can expect again??
 
CONSERVATION OFFICE
Koos Retief, Reserve Manager for Rietvlei, is busy planning the building of a conservation office at Rietvlei. This will be built near the entrance gate and the Milnerton Aquatic Club leased area. Capital money is available from the City for this project and it need to be built by June 2007.
 
EDUCATION CENTRE
This spring term is generally a good one for school visits. Table View Primary School sent all their Grade 3 classes, and the visits took place over the course of a week. The Sea Cubs also came for a visit to do some work on the alien rooikrans seedlings popping up. They also planted 150 small plants to celebrate Arbour Week. Thanks go to Chantel (student 2006) for adding decorative curtains to the bookshelves to protect the contents from dust. This is a great contribution!! The new fridge/freezer has been purchased and put in the Education Centre. Caltex provided funding for this purchase and John Herring did the negotiations for the purchase at best price!
 
MEMBERSHIP CARDS
If you wish to have a membership card for access to Rietvlei, please email Barbara at barban@sfc.wcape.school.za, including your name, ID number and address.
 
MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
We had a successful membership drive on Sunday 4 June at Table View Mall outside Pick ‘n Pay. This resulted in some new members joining as well as some renewals. Thanks to all who manned the tables on the morning as well as to those members who popped in to support us. A membership form is available on the website so please keep encouraging people to join! [Click here to open membership form]
This newsletter comes to you with the kind assistance of Caltex.
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