Friends of Rietvlei
Member of the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa Western Cape Region
Newsletter September 2011
Keep these weeds out of your Garden
There are a number of emergent weeds that are causing problems in our nature reserves and public open spaces; they flower from August to October and can then be easily identified. If you have these growing in your garden, we encourage you to get rid of them as they are invasive undesirables.
These are:  
Echium plantagineum (Patterson’s Curse) Argemone mexicana (Mexican poppy)
Rapistrum rugosum (Wild mustard) Vicia benghalensis (Reddish tufted vetch)
Lavatera arborea (Tree Mallow) Lupinus luteus (Lupins)
Euphorbia helioscopia (Umbrella milkweed)  
» Click here to view and read more about these plants
There are a number of events planned by Friends of Rietvlei and Friends of BCA over the next few months; our members are invited to attend these and bring family and friends.
Spring Walk in Diep River Corridor
Where: Meet at Caltex Garage at circle Parklands Main Rd / Gie Rd
When: Sunday 18 September @ 12h00
Contact: Christopher on 021 557 5509 or
Visit to Intaka Island
Where: Meet at Intaka Island at Century City; or if you want lift from Rietvlei, contact Pat or Gail.
When: Sunday 2 October @ 15h00
Contact: Pat on 083 701 4318 or Gail on 082 937 8759
Evening Talk at BCA:
“Reptiles and Amphibians of Cape Town” & “An overview of Biodiversity Database”

Speakers: Cliff Dorse & Dalton Gibbs
Where: Log Cabin at Eerste Steen
When: Tuesday 18 October @ 19h30 for 20h00
Contact: Roy on 071 671 9552
Evening Talk at Rietvlei:
“Overview of students projects for 2011”

Speakers: North region students
Where: Rietvlei EE Centre
When: Thursday 10 November @ 19h30 for 20h00
Contact: Pat on 083 701 4318
Evening Talk at BCA:
“Understanding informal economy of illicit harvesting within City of Cape Town”

Speaker: Leif Petersen (University of Queensland, Australia)
Where: Log Cabin, Eerste Steen
When: Tuesday 15 November @ 19h30 for 20h00
Contact: Roy on 071 671 9552
Last year we appealed to the Provincial Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning against the Record of Decision (ROD) by his department to authorise the expansion of Potsdam WWTW from 47Ml/day to 100Ml/day. We have now been informed that our appeal has been dismissed, but that the Record of Decision has been amended.
The amended ROD is a great improvement on the ROD issued last year, and it now takes into account most of the issues and concerns raised by ourselves in our appeal and by the Department of Water Affairs and other scientists last year. In fact, although it is correct to say that our appeal was dismissed as the authorisation was not withdrawn, we have actually achieved most of our objectives in the amended ROD; it also includes the possibility of further investigations as requested by us. Our main objection was that the EIA did not include an option for discharging treated effluent in the sea, but now the ROD mentions that this could be a viable option.
We are grateful to the Minister for taking our concerns into account in the amended ROD, and now look forward to working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure that the expansion of Potsdam WWTW does not have negative impacts on the Diep River and on Rietvlei.
With regard to our other submissions, we are still waiting to hear about the appeal against conditions for the development of the Gold Circle property next to the Milnerton Racecourse Nature Reserve. The Draft EIR for the Chevron pipeline has been released for public comments, it appears that concerns we raised are adequately addressed in the report.
There is a proposal for the upgrading of the public open space in front of Klein Zoar cottage at the end of Wemyss Street at Zoarvlei, also improving the path and replacing the bridge over Zoarvlei. While the general provisions in the Environmental Management Plan to ensure that the vlei and natural environment is not harmed during this upgrading, we are concerned that the Landscaping Plan for the area may be inappropriate. We are studying this closely and will be submitting our comments within the next week.
At the WESSA: Western Cape AGM on 18 August 2011, Niel van Wyk of the Friends of Rietvlei was a recipient of Regional WESSA Award in the Individual Category. These are awarded annually to persons and organisations contributing to environmental conservation and environmental education in the Western Cape.
The citation for the award to Niel reads as follows:
For his mature, informed and firm approach to addressing environmental issues in and around the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve, and for championing the cause of wetlands in South Africa. He has valiantly fended off inappropriate developments and provided sound and practical advice on environmental management.
Niel’s response to this is:
“Most of what I have achieved in a 27-year career in environmental conservation can be attributed to the inspiration and encouragement I received from senior scientists and conservationists who shared their knowledge and experience with me. I thus think that it is only right that I now in my turn share with others the experience and knowledge I have gained over the years. I hope that out there somewhere some young conservationist may in turn be inspired and motivated by my meagre contributions.
“Whatever I have done to deserve this award would not have been possible without the support and commitment of the members of the various committees on which I serve. I must also acknowledge the goodwill and dedication of the staff of the City’s Environmental Resource Management Department who are so receptive to suggestions and ideas. And of course I must honour those scientists and colleagues, many now deceased, who years ago inspired and encouraged me in my chosen career.”
Quite some eight or so years ago one of our members, Andre Swart, alerted the City Parks and Nature Conservation Depts to the fact that every August/September Lachenalia pallida was flowering in the centre median of Koeberg Road near the Beaufort to Dordrecht Roads. Andre pleaded for the median NOT to be mowed in those months, so that the plants could set seed. As well as negotiating with Parks not to mow, the Nature Conservation Dept also collected seed. These seeds were dispersed in the “Bird Hide Block” at Rietvlei. Koos Retief, Reserve Manager, is happy to report that Lachenalia pallida is now flowering in that part of the reserve!! And the median doesn’t get mowed for a month or two!!
Environmental Education Centre – 021 521 9900
Entrance Gate – 021 557 5900
Emergencies and standby number 071 268 9637
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