Friends of Rietvlei
Newsletter August 2007
RAIN!!!
The last weeks of July saw an amazing amount of rain falling, and the vlei filled up to an extent not seen for a few years. The pelicans took to huddling on small islands in what had become a large body of water. It was an impressive sight. The model aircraft club facilities were totally submerged and the bird hide was surrounded by water. To view some very fine photographs on our website, go to the Picture Gallery. The actual figures for this winter (2007) taken at the entrance gate off Sandpiper Rd, Table View, are:
April 63mm, May 42mm, June 75mm, July 96mm. The highest monthly rainfall last year was May at 104mm. Rietvlei is also impacted by the amount of rain falling over its catchment area, stretching as far as Malmesbury. There is still hope that more rain will come that will assist with scouring out the system.
 
ACTIVITIES
Our next walk will be held on Sunday 19 August, and we will visit the Bird Hide. We will be meeting at the Education Centre at 2pm for some refreshments and a chat, before setting out for the Bird Hide at 2.30 pm. Feel free to bring friends and family and join us on this walk. All are most welcome. Bring binoculars if you have them, otherwise there are some that you may borrow.
Our next Evening Talk will be on Thursday 13 September. The talk will be given by Leonie Joubert, who will be talking on "Global warming and the Western Cape - signs of change in our natural spaces". Please join us at the Rietvlei Education Centre, off Sandpiper Rd, Table View (behind the Milnerton Aquatic Club) at 19h30 for 20h00. All are welcome.
There will be another Diep River walk on Sunday 16 September and we are hoping to arrange a walk, possibly on Sunday 7 October, on the Duikersvlei site (old Kynoch site). So please diarise these dates and we will give confirmation and details in the next newsletter or the website.
Our June Evening Talk saw approximately 20 members attending the presentations by the students of their projects for the year. It was a cold night and we especially want to thank members and the students for coming. It is always interesting to be kept up to date with the research projects that are being undertaken at Rietvlei.
If you have internet access, you are encouraged to access our site on a regular basis. It provides links to other sites, including that of the BCA (Blaauwberg Conservation Area). It also gives up-to-date information relating to our activities. For telephonic queries on events please contact our Secretary, Pauline Potton, on 021 557 6920 a/h.
 
WESSA
Please be aware that the next Friends Workshop is scheduled for Friday the 21st September 2007 from 1 - 4 pm. They are thinking of focusing on a financial theme looking at general financial matters in relation to Friends Groups, fundraising (as previously requested at last Friends Workshop), Resource Economics etc. If you have any pointers you would like to add to this theme or even other ideas they can include, please send these through ASAP so they can begin searching for speakers and developing the agenda. Any members interested in attending can contact Pauline on 021 557 6920 a/h or on our email address.
 
EDUCATION……
A number of schools have applied to come to visit the reserve, including Table View Primary, which is bringing eight Grade 3 classes. They are regular visitors to our centre. It is encouraging to see the school educating their learners, year after year, on the importance of Rietvlei, as well showing it as an enjoyable place to visit. Contact us on info@friendsofrietvlei if you know of any schools who would like to visit Rietvlei.
A scout group held a sleep-over at the Milnerton Aquatic Club recently. This event was attended by the Rietvlei Conservation Students and apparently the scouts enjoyed the event and learnt a lot about night-life in the reserve!
 
THE FYNBOS FORUM
The Fynbos Forum is an affiliation of researchers, planners, managers, landowners and a range of other stake-holders that meets annually to discuss management issues and research results, and to formulate priorities for future research and conservation management actions required to ensure the conservation and sustainability of Fynbos ecosystems. In order to achieve this goal, they undertake to assess biological resources, ensure institutional capacity and consider socio-economic issues. They meet annually and this year it was held at Club Mykonos from 1 – 3 August. Elana Kellerman, Rietvlei student, was invited to present a poster on her research project that she has been undertaking at Rietvlei. We look forward to seeing the poster and hearing her findings when the students attend our November meeting.
Also at the Fynbos Forum was Jeremy Keyser, a past student at Rietvlei. Jeremy is currently working for Planning in Balance, who undertake the environmental control and management work at Royal Ascot/Milnerton Racecourse Conservation Area. Jeremy presented a poster on Milnerton Racecourse Conservation Area. Hopefully we can get Jeremy to show us his poster also at our November meeting.
 
RESERVE MANAGER
Koos Retief has been working at Rietvlei Wetland Reserve for many years, initially as Environmental Site Officer. The City of Cape Town has eventually sorted out Koos’ placement in the new city structure. He is now officially “Reserve Manager”. Congratulations Koos!, and we look forward to your continuing service and leadership at Rietvlei as a properly placed official!!
 
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT (1998) – BASIC ASSESSMENT
The latest documentation to cross our desks is that of the Basic Assessment (BA) for the Proposed Upgrading of Koeberg & Plattekloof Roads, Milnerton. For those of you who travel that route regularly or occasionally you will know that there can be a build up of traffic morning and evening. This BA comes after the studies for the realignment of Duikersvlei ( the stream that crossed diagonally over the old AECI fertilizer factory site) and studies for the phased redevelopment of the site to industrial, business and retail uses. Apart from the pure traffic issues we are concerned that any upgrades to Koeberg Road do not impact Duikersvlei and the pipeline under Koeberg Road which leads to Rietvlei. Contaminants or silt will have an effect on Rietvlei. The consultants are DJ Environmental Consultants, tel 021 851 0900, fax 021 851 0933 and email nick@djec.co.za if you want to comment. All comment to be in by 3 September 2007.
 
POTSDAM WASTEWATER TREATMENT WORKS
Niel Van Wyk is now the Friends of Rietvlei representative on the Environmental Liaison Committee for this upgrade. At the meeting on 19 July 2007 it was reported that the upfront capacity (first phase of upgrade) is progressing well and that 9 Mℓ/d are being treated via this component. They are pleased with ammonia and phosphate removal and the effluent should be suitable for UV treatment when the infrastructure is in place. Scum formation, however, remains a problem and is being addressed.
Thanks go to Chevron Refinery for sponsoring envelopes for the posted newsletter.
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