Friends of Rietvlei
Member of the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa Western Cape Region
Newsletter August 2010
Please renew your membership as soon as possible. Our organisation can only be effective if we have members that support us in protecting our valuable environment.
Evening Talk
Thursday 19 August 2010 at the Rietvlei Education Centre at 7.30 for 8.00pm.
“Illustrated Talk on Visit to Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula”
Helm van Zijl of the Cape Bird Club visited the south west Atlantic at the end of last year and will show us some fantastic pictures of his visit.
Afternoon Walk
Sunday 5 September 2010 we are going to take a walk up the Diep River. We will meet at 3pm at the Caltex Garage at the corner of Parklands Main Road and Gie Road. We hope to see some lovely Spring flowers and high levels of water in the river.
PLEASE CONTACT Pauline on 083 255 2537 if you require further info on the above events.
Implementation of the Diep River Estuary Management Plan is proceeding slowly, to some it might appear that there is no progress. However, there has been some progress and quite a lot of information for further use in the plan has been gathered. There will be a report-back meeting to stakeholders in September, at that time progress with implementation of the various programmes will be reviewed.
We have had some requests for copies of the Estuary Management Plan. Unfortunately we do not have printed copies of the plan; but it is available in electronic format and can be downloaded from this website – click here.
It is with regret that we announce that Henk Louw, the site conservation officer for the Diep River Corridor funded by the Friends of Rietvlei, resigned at the end of June to take up a permanent post in the City’s Biodiversity Branch. As the position in the Diep River was only temporary, we are happy for Henk that he has managed to get a permanent post – we wish him well and also thank him for the contribution he made to the management of the Diep River corridor since November last year.
With Henk’s early departure, there is still funds left for the payment of salaries for the Diep River corridor, so we are now funding two General Workers to assist the permanent site conservation officer, Christopher Singo. Both started in mid July and will work till end of January 2011.
Potsdam Bus Depot.
In a previous newsletter we mentioned that we had registered as an interested and affected party for the development of the bus depot for the IRT system at the northern end of Potsdam Rd. This depot is being developed in The Stables Industrial Park next to the Diep River north of the railway bridge; and large underground diesel tanks will be installed on site.
The draft scoping report was circulated and we responded to that; our concerns were that an artificial wetland serving as a stormwater retention pond adjacent to the bus depot site may not have the capacity to handle run-off from the depot site should there be a diesel spill. The final scoping report addressed our concerns, and after further discussions with the consultants we were assured that more details about the capacity of the wetland will be included in the draft Environmental Impact Report. We must add that all run-off from the areas where diesel is received and from where the buses are refuelled, will first run into water-diesel separators before entering either the stormwater system or the sewage system.
Rainfall at Rietvlei
It is quite a while since we have provided our readers with up to date rainfall figures for Rietvlei; so here are recent figures presented at a Rietvlei Management Working Group meeting. So far this year we have had less rain through to the end of June compared to last year (171mm vs. 222.5mm for the first six months of 2009). Also note the exceptionally high rainfall measured in November 2009 compared to previous years – this resulted in the central pans being inundated throughout most of the summer, thus preventing the recurring dust problem of previous years.
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
January   16.9 57.9 3.5 8.0 16.0 1.0 1.5 4.0 4.0 1.0
February   2.0 10.0 6.0 0.9 4.0 7.0 19.5 6.0 9.0 5.0
March   0.0 10.1 32.2 7.0 14.5 4.0 15.0 4.0 0.0 1.0
April 5.0 18.9 29.9 10.9 79.5 69.5 27.2 45.5 10.0 32.5 9.0
May 26.1 48.7 38.6 22.2 2.3 54.1 104.0 42.5 44.0 94.0 84.0
June 51.6 36.4 62.8 13.1 66.8 83.3 25.5 127.7 67.0 83.0 71.0
July 46.1 175.7 69.5 27.3 65.8 38.0 64.2 96.0 116.0 57.0  
August 24.3 108.7 66.9 81.1 45.5 74.0 45.0 86.0 68.5 79.0  
September 19.3 61.5 19.5 53.8 17.8 30.0 12.0 34.0 4.0 47.0  
October 5.3 31.2 33.7 26.3 119.0 9.8 20.5 22.0 2.0 29.0  
November 8.8 22.5 13.2 2.8 3.0 9.8 31.0 30.0 46.0 62.5  
December 2.5 10.5 20.1 15.5 6.5 0.0 4.5 22.0 19.0 7.0  
Total 219.0 532.1 432.2 303.7 421.9 402.9 341.4 541.7 390.5 504.0 171.0
We received this email from a young man in our community:
“This is Ulrich Vogeli from 1st Blaauwberg Sea Scout Troop. I am contacting you about having a community service project at Rietvlei.
If possible I would like to have it on the 17th and 18th of July (the Saturday and Sunday.)
The requirements dictate that the project should be at least 10 working hours, and preferably outside work. If possible I would like to complete the bulk of the work on the Saturday, but that is just a preference not a necessity.”
Our Chairman Nelis Visagie, together with some input from Rifqah Johnson, education intern at Rietvlei, organized and supervised the enthusiastic group of scouts as they set about doing some maintenance to our Education Centre. The roof is rusting in places so repairs were necessary.
Expansion and Upgrading of Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure in the Blaauwberg Area.
On 3 August the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning approved the expansion of Potsdam WWTW from a capacity of the present 47Ml/day to 100Ml/day. Upgrading of waste water treatment infrastructure in the Blaauwberg Area to deliver sewage to Potsdam WWTW was also approved.
This decision is not good news for Rietvlei and the Diep River Estuary, and the Friends are considering lodging an appeal against the Record of Decision. Such an appeal must be lodged by 3rd September, and we will be discussing our options with other stake-holders soon.
CREW Project at BCA
CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) is a programme that involves volunteers from the public in the monitoring and conservation of South Africa's threatened plants. CREW aims to capacitate a network of volunteers from a range of socio-economic backgrounds to monitor and conserve South Africa's threatened plant species. The programme links volunteers with their local conservation agencies and particularly with local land stewardship initiatives to ensure the conservation of key sites for threatened plant species.
The CREW team is keen to start the programme within the Blaauwberg Conservation Area and three dates have been set up for field trips. The initial field trip will involve a short introduction to basic botany followed by a field trip close to the Eerste Steen cabin. People interested in participating in these field trips must note that the meeting time is 9am at the log cabin at Eerste Steen (just past Big Bay on Otto Du Plessis Drive).
   Saturday 21st August
   Saturday 18th September
   Saturday 16th October
For more information please feel free to contact Cindy on 084 920 1160.
Thanks go to Chevron Refinery for sponsoring envelopes for the posted newsletter.
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