Friends of Rietvlei
Member of the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa Western Cape Region
Newsletter February 2010
Our financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March so as a bonus to any new members an application submitted from now on will be valid until 31 March 2011. Please encourage any friends, relatives, neighbours, acquaintances or colleagues to join Friends of Rietvlei.
Evening Talk – Marion and Gough Islands.
Our first evening talk for the year will be on
Thursday 11 February 2010 at the Rietvlei Education Centre at 7.30 for 8.00pm
Henk Louw, who is the Site Conservation Officer for the Diep River Corridor, spent two years on islands in the southern oceans. He will share his experiences on Marion and Gough Islands with us.
All members and their friends are welcome. For queries please phone Pauline on 083 255 2537.
Beach Walk and Clean-up
We are planning a Beach Walk and Clean-Up on the coast of the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve on Sunday 14 March. The idea is to walk from Dolphin Beach south towards Sunset Beach area. We will meet at the Dolphin Beach parking area at 3pm; we will supply black bags to the walkers so that we can do a bit of a beach clean-up while walking.
Friends of Rietvlei AGM
Please diarize this date – our AGM will be held on Thursday 13 May 2010. More details to come.
Several projects implementing the Diep River Estuary Management Plan have been initiated:
1. A topographic survey of the estuary and Rietvlei is being done at present, comparing this to similar work done during the 1990’s will enable us to see if the bottom profiles of the estuary and the ground levels in the central pans of Rietvlei has changed.
2. A second project is monitoring the daily effluent flows from Potsdam WWTW and comparing this with salinity levels in the estuary – the purpose is to see whether salinity levels can be manipulated by managing effluent flows.
3. The City is also busy with a major study of the water quality and quantity from all the stormwater discharges along the eastern shore of the Diep River from the N7 bridge down to Zoarvlei. This study will identify specific sources of pollution and enable the City to take steps to prevent polluted stormwater from flowing into the Diep River.
4. Finally the Provincial Administration has appointed consultants to study the levels of heavy metals in the Diep River estuary and Rietvlei – this study has started and should be completed by the end of February. Again this will indicate levels of pollution and possible sources of pollution.
You all know that Henk Louw is working in the Diep River corridor, his appointment is funded by the Friends of Rietvlei with funds originally supplied by the City and TMF. However, the City has now also managed to get a permanent Site Officer post for the Diep River, and a conservator from Table Mountain National Park, has been appointed to this position and will start work in mid February.
A year ago we were concerned that we may have difficulties getting one person to work in the Diep River corridor, and now we suddenly have two. An encouraging step forward.
Proposals for development of the Gold Circle stable properties at Milnerton Racecourse.
A Draft Basic Assessment Report on a proposed mixed-use development at the Gold Circle stables on Koeberg Road was published in November, inviting comments by 25 January. The Friends submitted comments on this report as the proposed development is adjacent to the very important Milnerton Racecourse Conservation Area in Royal Ascot – you may remember that we had a walk there in November 2008.
The report itself has serious omissions and our main recommendation was that these omissions be rectified and a Revised Draft Basic Assessment Report be published for comment. Our concerns about the proposal include the matter of security along the eastern boundary of the conservation area; the inadequate size of a proposed corridor between the northern and southern portions of the conservation area; and the effect of stormwater runoff from the proposed development into the conservation area and on the quality of the groundwater – there are several small ephemeral pans (temporary pans) in the conservation area during the winter months which support a variety of interesting fauna and flora which will be negatively affected if the groundwater quality deteriorates.
Expansion and Upgrading of Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure in the Blaauwberg Area.
The process surrounding this proposal is still ongoing; Province is still studying the Environmental Impact Report, and the Blaauwberg Subcouncil is still debating the issue. At this stage we have no further news.
People In and Around our Rietvlei……
Leonard (Wally) Wolhuter retired as Rietvlei Wetland Reserve Water Ranger for the City of Cape Town, at the end of January 2010. He served the public and visitors to Rietvlei, as an employee of the municipality, but he was also a seasoned member of both the Milnerton Aquatic Club and the Friends of Rietvlei. Wally started working at Rietvlei for the then Milnerton Municipality when the municipality took over the gate management from Milnerton Aquatic Club (1980’s). He has seen the conservation efforts at Rietvlei change from privately owned land to publically owned land managed as an important nature reserve. Wally’s immense background information, commitment and enthusiasm will be missed as an official employee of the reserve but his connections through Milnerton Aquatic Club and Friends of Rietvlei will ensure that he is still a roleplayer at the vlei. Wally’s 65th birthday on 25 January was the party occasion for fond farewell and birthday wishes from colleagues and friends.
Whilst we say fare well to Wally we must also welcome Kyle Kelly to the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve as he steps into the post of Assistant Conservation Officer. Kyle comes from the Marine Section of Table Mountain National Park. Please look out for him at the gate to the recreational area of Rievlei and welcome him.
Conette Koorts, our very active Environmental Education intern at Rietvlei, is leaving us as her contract expires at the end of February. She recently informed us that she has been appointed as Interpretive Officer at the West Coast National Park starting in March. We sincerely thank Conette for the excellent work she has done at Rietvlei over the last year, and we wish her well in her new career. We trust that you will all continue to support the recycling iniative that Conette started.
We also welcome two new nature conservation students to Rietvlei – they are doing their third experiential year at Rietvlei Wetland Reserve. The two are John Lucas and Leigh Wootton. Members will meet them later in the year when they do the presentation about their projects.
The committee has decided to get quotes for the installation of a ramp into the Education Centre. The present steps at the entrance are not wheel chair-friendly and we would like to make the centre accessible to those in wheel chairs. Do we have any architects or engineers out there who would be able draw up a design and specifications for us? If so please contact John Herring on 0832441044.
Energy Efficiency or Energy Reduction
Energy efficiency has been described as a renewable energy resource that is perfectly cheap, abundant and immediately available. It can reduce carbon emissions and reduce our dependence on imported energy resources. It does not pollute, and it does not depend on the weather like solar and wind power. There are several ways of improving energy efficiency in your home – here is another tip:
Do not leave televisions, chargers, computers, etc on standby. When not in use, turn them off physically or switch off at the wall switch. Appliances on standby still use a significant amount of electricity.
When using your computer, switch off the monitor when you are away from the computer for a while. The monitor uses more electricity than the processor and fan. People sometimes think that a screensaver saves you electricity, but this is not so, you need to switch the monitor off with the on/off switch.
Thanks go to Chevron Refinery for sponsoring envelopes for the posted newsletter.
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