Friends of Rietvlei
Member of the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa Western Cape Region
Newsletter April 2011
Members are notified that the Annual General Meeting of Friends of Rietvlei for the year ending 31 March 2011 will be held on Thursday 5 May 2011 at19h30 for 20h00 in the Rietvlei Education Centre, off Grey Ave, Table View.
After our official business our speaker for the evening will be Shelley Edwards from SANBI.
Earth’s climate is changing and the ability of Africa’s fauna to adapt to new environments has been a hot topic, particularly when it is necessary to translocate populations to new areas to prevent their extinction. In the year 2000, 3 individuals of Knox’s Desert Lizard were translocated from a population in Phillipi to Zandvlei Nature Reserve, in the Western Cape. In the ten years following the introduction, the Zandvlei population has grown substantially in numbers. The current study investigates whether the low number of founding population has adversely affected the genetic diversity within the Zandvlei population, compared to that at the Phillipi site, as well as at a “wild” site – Rietvlei Nature Reserve. We also aim to identify whether any changes in the body shape of the lizards have occurred due to the new environment of Zandvlei Nature Reserve. Such changes may affect the performance (e.g. sprinting speed, bite strength) of the lizards. This work forms part of Shelley’s doctorate work, and is a portion of the greater Reptile Speciation Project being conducted at SANBI, Kirstenbosch.
Members are also reminded to renew their membership for the 2011/12 year. You can renew your membership at the AGM or via electronic banking or the postal system. Renewal forms are available on our website.
PLEASE CONTACT Pauline on 083 255 2537 if you require further information.
FEEDBACK: Our walk to Intaka Island had to be postponed as there was a sports event in Century City on that day. Instead we visited the Durbanville Nature Reserve on 6 March for a pleasant Sunday afternoon walk through this small, but very interesting reserve. Only 6 ha in size, the reserve was established in 1966 to protect the rare Aristea lugens growing there; there are about 130 plant species, three endemic to Cape Town and at least ten threatened with extinction.
On Saturday 14 May WESSA will be holding its quarterly Friends Groups Meeting at Rietvlei Education Centre. Members of Friends groups meet to report back and discuss matters of mutual interest. The meeting is from 10h30 to 12h30. After a light lunch Friends of Rietvlei will host a walk to the Bird Hides for the participants. All members are welcome to attend, WESSA will send out the official notice later and those interested can then RSVP.
Please also diarise Sunday 5 June - World Environment Day – for a beach walk in the Coastal Section between Dolphin Beach and Sunset Beach. We will meet at Dolphin Beach Hotel parking area at 14h30. Please bring a black bag with you so that we can do a clean-up of any litter.
Committee Member Gail McDonald has been tasked to revamp our somewhat neglected indigenous garden. The indigenous garden is the small open plot on the northern shore of Rietvlei at the bottom end of Grey Avenue, on your right just before you turn left to enter the gates of the reserve. Gail reports as follows:
I don't know if any of the members have noticed that some work has been done on the indigenous garden. We have had some workers in to clear the perimeter and have mulched the cleared area. We have planted some plants indigenous to the area.The plants are Metalasia muricata (blombos), Chondropetalum tectorum (dekriet) and Nylandtia spinosa (skilpadbessie).
I am in the process of compiling a list of plants suitable for our area from which we can do future planting. Anyone wishing to donate a plant or provide slips from the list is welcome to do so and it will be much appreciated.
If there are any members who are interested or willing to volunteer some time to assist or help in the garden with the upkeep please forward your contact details to Gail on 0829378759.
Plants were obtained at a discount from: Alan Hayward, Sandown Nursery, 104 Sandown Drive. Bloubergsands; 021 554 4355. Thank you Alan!
The last month has seen a most exciting development. In January the City announced their intention to proclaim all their nature reserves under the Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act 57 of 2003). This process involved the determination of boundaries and the establishment of management plans for each of the reserves.
A public participation process during February resulted in some interesting proposals – and probably the most exciting one, and Friends of Rietvlei was partly responsible for this proposal, was combining Rietvlei, Milnerton lagoon, Diep River corridor, the Paarden Eiland wetlands, and Milnerton Racecourse into one large nature reserve to be called the Table Bay Nature Reserve. This would mean one proclamation for all these conservation areas with a single management structure – much more efficient and cost-effective than having separate management structures for each of these areas. There will be an integrated management plan for the whole reserve, but the various ‘management blocks’ will each have their own detailed management plan. This means that the current Diep Estuary Management Plan and the Milnerton Racecourse Management Plan will remain in force; management plans for the other components of the Table Bay Nature Reserve are being finalised.
This proposal has been widely supported by various stakeholders; it must now be presented to Council for approval together with the management plans and proposed boundaries of all the City reserves. After approval by Council, these will be submitted to Cape Nature for proclamation in terms of the National Environmental Management :Protected Areas Act.
In our previous newsletter we reported that the Table Mountain Fund has approved R100,000 as partial funding for the hydrology and geohydrology study of the Diep River Estuary and Rietvlei. The City also budgeted an amount of R305,000 to complete this project. At present we are still waiting for the City to complete its administrative procedures to enable the funding to be released so that the appointment of consultants to carry out the study can commence.
Expansion and Upgrading of Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure in the Blaauwberg Area.
We are still waiting for a response to the appeal we lodged last year against the authorisation from Province that the Potsdam WWTW be expanded.
Gold Circle Development Authorisation.
Early in February the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Province gave environmental authorisation for the multi-use development of the Gold Circle property adjacent to the Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve.
The Friends of Rietvlei studied the record of decision (ROD), and while not opposing the authorisation as such, we were concerned that the conditions of the approval did not cover certain critical issues we had raised during the public participation process. On the basis of this we have lodged an appeal to the Minister.
Our concerns are that, while the environmental study found that the flow of groundwater in the area is from the property westwards into the Nature Reserve, it was also established that the groundwater levels are very shallow. The report thus advised that basements and deep foundations not be allowed in the development; however, the authorisation did not include this as a condition. The City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity experts also made specific recommendations for the width and length of a corridor along the side of the development connecting the northern and southern portions of the Nature Reserve; the authorisation just makes a general statement that the size of this corridor should be determined in consultation with the City – but the wording is a bit loose and needs tightening up.
At the end of February we took leave of Rifqah Johnson who had been the Environmental Education intern at Rietvlei Education Centre for the past year. Her contract had come to an end. We are glad to advise that she has been appointed at SANCCOB so she is not lost to the area. We thank her for her enthusiastic and interesting educating at Rietvlei.
In her place we welcome Chanelle Naidoo as the new Environmental Education Intern – we are sure that Chanelle will carry on with the tradition of providing good environmental education programmes for local learners and other groups.
Environmental Education Centre – 021 521 9900
Entrance Gate – 021 557 5900
Emergencies and standby number 071 268 9637
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