Friends of Rietvlei
Member of the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa Western Cape Region
Newsletter Jan/Feb 2012
World Wetlands Day - 2nd February 2012
The World Wetlands Day theme for 2012 is Wetlands and Tourism and is linked to the theme for the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties, COP11: Wetlands, Tourism and Recreation, which will take place in July 2012, in Bucharest, Romania.
Wetland tourism has benefits both locally and nationally for people and wildlife – benefits such as stronger economies, sustainable livelihoods, healthy people and thriving ecosystems. At least 35% of Ramsar Sites around the world record some level of tourism activity and this percentage is consistent throughout all regions. Of course it is important to consider tourism in all wetlands – not just those designated as Ramsar Sites – since the Contracting Parties to the Convention are committed to managing all wetlands. World Wetlands Day 2012
It is worth noting that tourism is only one of the services that wetlands deliver. Ensuring well-managed tourism practices in and around wetlands and educating tourists on the value of wetlands contributes to the health of the world's wetlands and the long-term benefits that wetlands provide to people, wildlife, economics, and biodiversity.
To date, the Ramsar Convention has not had a specific focus on wetlands, tourism and recreation.
The Convention today:
Number of Contracting Parties: 160.
Number of designated sites: 1971.
Total area of designated sites: 190,737,919 ha.
» Click here to read more about the Ramsar Convention «
On Thursday, 2 February 2012, our Wetlands Day Evening Talk will be about the Wetland Insects. Niel van Wyk, who has a degree in Entomology, will be telling us about the fascinating insects that inhabit our wetlands.
Venue: Rietvlei Education Centre, Rietvlei Wetland Reserve off Grey Ave, Table View.
Date: Thursday 2 February 2012.
Time: 19h30 for 20h00.
Enquiries: Pauline on 083 255 2537
We know it is still early days, but please enter Thursday 20 May 2012 in your diaries for our AGM.
We will be walking in the Diep River area again on Sunday 18 March. This time the walk will be in the area just north of Blaauwberg Road Bridge. Please note this date, we’ll send out more details later.
The annual rainfall data for Rietvlei has been released by the Reserve management; two graphs comparing the 2011 rainfall to those of previous years show some interesting results.
Rainfall 2002-2011 Rainfall 2011
Fig 1: Annual Rainfall at Rietvlei – 2002-2011
(2002 data incomplete)
Fig 2: 2011 Rainfall vs Monthly average
Figure 1 shows that total rainfall at Rietvlei in 2011 was 300mm; while higher than in 2010, this was still very much lower than in most of the previous ten years. Figure 2 compares the monthly rainfall for 2011 (solid black line) with the monthly averages for the years 2000-2010 – this shows that in June and December the rainfall was considerably higher than the average, but during most of the other 10 months it was lower than the average for those months. The higher rainfall in December means that there is still water in the central pans, thus reducing the chances of early dust problems developing.
We have acquired a new member of our collection of animals in the Education Centre – this time a Hadeda. The hadeda was knocked down by a car in Royal Ascot, but the carcase was still very fresh when we picked it up. It went straight into the deepfreeze and in October we took it up to Buck ‘n Bass Taxidermy on Marienthal Farm north of Durbanville for mounting. Just before Christmas we were told that it had been mounted and that we can collect the bird. Hadeda
The hadeda now joins other recent members of our collection, a few months ago a Fiery-necked Nightjar was mounted on our wall, earlier we had received the little dolphin and in 2010 the large new otter became a permanent resident. There is still a dune mole-rat waiting at the taxidermist for stuffing and mounting.
Our thanks to Buck ‘n Bass Taxidermy, not only for the great taxidermy work they do on these animals, but also for the special discount we get from them for the work they do for us.
As always we are involved with several impact assessments of developments in the area. In the previous newsletter we reported on the response to our appeal against the expansion of Potsdam WWTW. We have since had a very fruitful discussion with the chairperson of the Blaauwberg Subcouncil, Cllr Heather Brenner, and officials of Wastewater Management regarding specific recommendations we made to decrease the impact of the expansion on the Diep River and estuary. We will keep you informed when we have more information available.
You will have noticed the improvement in our indigenous garden at the bottom end of Grey Ave just before the entrance to the reserve. Gail McDonald has been responsible for this – great work, Gail!
However, she needs assistance – donations of suitable plants or slips will be most welcome. These have to be indigenous plants suitable for the area, if you can help please contact Gail on 082 937 8759 to find out which plants are suitable. She is also looking for volunteers to help with weeding and other tasks.
Environmental Education Centre – 021 521 9900
Entrance Gate – no number currently available due to construction work.
Emergencies and standby number 071 268 9637
Rietvlei Manager office number - 021 550 1086
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