Friends of Rietvlei
Member of the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa Western Cape Region
Newsletter May 2012
Friends of Rietvlei AGM
Please remember our AGM on Thursday 10 May 2012 at 20h00.
The venue is the Rietvlei Education Centre, OFF Grey Avenue, Table View. After the official business (which will hopefully be short), there will be presentations on their activities and updates by the staff and the students at the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve.
As stated above another financial year has come to an end and this means members have to renew their subscriptions. The committee has decided to leave the fees at the same rate:
• ORDINARY:       R 50.00 pa
• FAMILY:            R 60.00 pa
• JUNIOR:            R 20.00 pa
• CORPORATE:    R 300.00 pa
• 10 YEAR MEMBERSHIP (Per Person): R 250.00
This amount is very reasonable and we ask you all to pay a renewal, as well as encourage you neighbours and friends to join. There is strength in membership numbers. The attached form must be completed and returned with payment.
The latest Quarterly Report for the Table Bay Nature Reserve has been distributed, the report is a most interesting document and is available on the Friends of Rietvlei website.
The report mentions that the Rietvlei Management Working Group, on which the Friends of Rietvlei is represented by Niel van Wyk, had it’s 100th meeting in January – this working group meets every two months and plays an important role by involving stakeholders in management decisions for the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve. The Working Group is both the management committee for the Rietvlei Protected Natural Environment in terms of the Environmental Conservation Act, and the advisory committee for the Rietvlei Local Nature Reserve in terms of the Nature Conservation Ordinance. In terms of estuaries the Working Group also plays the role of the Estuary Management Forum. Thus this committee is an important bridge between the paid managers and the users of the area. Apart from Friends of Rietvlei, there are also representatives from Milnerton Aquatic Club, local ratepayers associations and other spheres of government.
Another highlight mentioned and illustrated in the report is a very successful prescribed ecological burn at the Milnerton Racecourse section on 7 March 2012. This burn was in the northern area, which is sandwiched between residential precincts in Royal Ascot, and was the third and final of the three management blocks to be burnt in the current cycle. The first block was burnt in 2008, the second in 2010, and this one this year; the burning cycle will probably only resume in 2020 as at this stage a 12-year burning cycle is recommended. However, this could be adapted depending on results of vegetation surveys and monitoring that are continuing regularly in the nature reserve.
Over the three month period there has also been a lot of clearing of invasive plan species – extensive clearing of Port Jackson proceeded in the Diep River area and follow-up work was done in both Diep River and Rietvlei sections. An Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) team has also been kept busy clearing Typha capensis (bulrush) from the Wave’s Edge wetland west of the R27. This work is still continuing, although there are plans to burn the excess Typha growth as soon as possible. Public consultation was held about the burning application and some heated debate arose. There were local residents who were very anti burning with the creation of soot, ash and smoke, as well as the risk to wildlife that cant escape the fire. Other residents feel that the typha growth is invasive and causing irritation to health and comfort so they welcomed any method to reduce typha. The Blaauwberg Subcouncil approved the burning permit at their April meeting so a suitable burn day is now awaited.
While several of the proposed developments for which we have submitted comments over the last two years are still going through the approval processes, there is one that is now again in the limelight. This is the proposed mixed-use development on the Gold Circle stables property on Koeberg Road. The property adjoins the important Milnerton Racecourse section of the Table Bay Nature Reserve, and we are concerned that any development there may affect the nature reserve.
You may recall that Friends of Rietvlei appealed against the environmental authorisation (Apr 2011 Newsletter), as a result an amended environmental authorisation was issued in March 2012 which addresses some of the issues we were concerned about. In the meantime the Removal of Title Deed Restrictions has been approved; and currently an application for Rezoning to Sub-divisional Area with a basket of rights is under consideration by the City.
Friends of Rietvlei has made specific recommendations regarding the size of a biodiversity corridor between the two sections of the nature reserve; as well as the placement of a public open space corridor along the eastern boundary of the reserve.
Our indigenous garden at the bottom end of Grey Avenue is improving gradually under Gail McDonald’s keen attention. She needs assistance and is still looking for donations of suitable plants or snips, as well as any pair of hands keen to help her in the garden. Contact Gail on 082 937 8759.
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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