RIETVLEI UNDER STRESS
As you will have heard or
seen in the press Rietvlei is suffering the impacts of
ongoing urbanisation. The natural environment seems to take
a certain amount of abuse and then it starts reacting. The
North Vlei area of the reserve is one of the two deep water
lakes on the western side just south of the residential area
called Flamingo Vlei. This is the area that is used for
boating by the public and the Milnerton Aquatic Club. The
first drama came in the form of dying fish, by the tons.
second problem to appear is that of toxic blue-green algae.
The water area was closed for a few days in late December
2006, whilst the fish were being collected and the area
cleaned up. Now the water area has been closed from 3 March
until 19 March, or longer depending on test results of the
algae. However this is just one area of the reserve that is
stressing. The central pan has had ongoing silt deposited
there. Over the years, stripping the veld in the catchment
area for farming or to build suburbs has resulted in
silt-laden stormwater rushing down the Diep River in winter.
On reaching the wide open space of the wetlands the water in
the river slows down and deposits all the suspended silt in
the wetlands. Winter passes and summer comes and so the
wetlands dry up. At this time of year the vlei can be very
dry, and the weather conditions can be hot and windy. And so
this deposited silt starts lifting off with the turbulent
winds and being carried over the neighbouring houses.
then we come to the poor Milnerton Lagoon. This Lagoon has
struggled over the years with being dredged to create
Woodbridge Island in the 1980’s, hemmed in on all sides by
development and then being impacted by ever increasing poor
quality sewage effluent water. About 5 years ago the prawns
gave up the struggle and died off. Now there are health
warnings up for the canoeists and paddlers to be aware of
diseases they may pick up from the water. “Miggies” have now
started breeding and are becoming a nuisance.
wonders whether there is a positive way out of this stressed
state for the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve.
We had a membership drive
on Saturday 17 March at Table View Mall outside Pick ‘n’
Pay. A few stalwart members spent the morning telling
interested shoppers about the wetland on their doorstep.
Thanks to them we have some new and interested members.
On Thursday 1 February
(the day before World Wetlands Day) we had our first Evening
Talk for 2007. Martin Burr spoke to us about the past and
present of the Kynoch site on the corner of Koeberg and
Plattekloof Roads and all that is involved in the
decommissioning of the site before further future
development can take place. For those of us who have lived
in Table View for a while and have watched while the site
changed from a fertiliser factory to a film set and now to
an open area, it provided an interesting perspective into
what goes on behind the scenes.
Our first walk for 2007 took place on Sunday 11 February,
alongside the Milnerton Lagoon, during the rainy spell.
Photographs taken by Niel on the day are available for
viewing on our website. You will be able to see that we are
wrapped up in anoraks against the rain, very unusual for
early February. We started the walk on the beach, progressed
onto the Golf Course and thence to the Lagoon. It was most
interesting to see the area from that side. We then walked
back along the beach. Thank you to all who came along.
Our next walk was to have been along the Diep River and the
Fynbos Corridor on 11 March, but it has been postponed as
the area is very dry at the moment. However….
TABLE MOUNTAIN FUND gets
In collaboration with the
Environmental Resource Management Department of the City of
Cape Town, Friends of Rietvlei is the recipient of funding
to employ a Nature Conservator to work in the Diep River
area connecting to the Blaauwberg Conservation Area. This is
known as the “Fynbos Corridor”. This conservator will be
deployed to work with the City staff, under the Rietvlei
Reserve manager, Koos Retief. With WESSA as our admin
partner, the City of Cape Town, TMF and ourselves a new era
will start in the conservation of another tract of valuable
conservation land. And so…….. a walk in the area with our
new conservator should take place in the forthcoming months.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING -
DIARISE THIS NOW
Our Annual General
Meeting for 2007 will take place on TUESDAY 8 May 2007. Niel
van Wyk, one of the members of Friends of Rietvlei, will be
the guest speaker. Niel is the developer of our website and
it is thanks to him for many of the photographs that can be
seen on the website. He used to work in conservation and we
look forward to his talk on “Estuaries, Estuarine Fish & the
Fish Mortalities in Rietvlei”. We would like to encourage
all members to attend this very important meeting and maybe
bring a friend or family members along as well.
Subscriptions may be paid on the night. Please consider
becoming a committee member and helping to make a REAL
DIFFERENCE at Rietvlei. The AGM starts at 8pm, with
refreshments and socialising beforehand from 7.30pm. PLEASE
MAKE SURE THAT YOU ATTEND. APOLOGIES TO PAULINE ON 021 557
Another payment of your
subscription is required at this time of the year. Our
financial year closes at the end of March, so it is time
again to support our organisation with your money. Life or
Ten Year members do not have to pay but all Ordinary, Family
and Corporate members do have to. Please make your payment ASAP. – Thank you!
Jonathan Bandli is
working on his Springbok scout badge. For his 40 hour
community project members of the Ist Blaauwberg Sea Scouts
worked under his guidance in the Reserve over the first two
weeks of March. They helped with the sealing of the outside
woodwork at the Education Centre, cleaning up of the
amphitheatre area, as well as helping with clearing of the
ever growing Port Jackson trees. The boys used the tree
poppers efficiently and built up considerable piles of
“popped” trees. Thanks to the scouts!!
Next count is happening
on Friday 20 April at 9h00. Contact Koos Retief on 021
5501086 if you want to help. All assistance is welcomed.
= KEEP UP WITH RIETVLEI
Please keep checking our website for the latest information
What is important to know
about blue-green algae?
in warmer summer waters, and in many areas die down
during winter time
promote the growth of these algae
can survive high temperatures
fluctuates constantly. It is possible for algae to
be toxic one day, and not the next
|Thanks go to Chevron Refinery for
sponsoring envelopes for the posted newsletter.