Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of the meeting held on: Monday 25 February 2008 at 13h 30 at the Alphen Council Chambers

Present

M. Thompson COCT   (Chairman)
B. Thomson COCT
C. Haskins COCT
D. Gibbs COCT – Biodiversity
M. Mulder COCT
T. Persent COCT
R. de la Cruz COCT
Z. Cilliers COCT
G. Davis SANBI
J. Forsyth FOCUGB
M. Nofke Wetland Solutions
S. McCallum ZVT
G. Lawson ZVT
C. Giljam ZVT / Friends of Park Island   (Minutes)

Apologies

J. Botes COCT
C. Sheasby COCT Nature Conservation
V. Marincowitz ZVT

Absent

Cllrs
L. Brunette CHRA
Friends of Constantia
Friends of Die Oog
Friends of Tokai Forest

1. WELCOME / APOLOGIES AND ATTENDANCE REGISTER
Martin Thompson, as Chairman of the SRCF welcomed all.

2. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
Approved

3. ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO INCLUDE UNDER ‘GENERAL’

A Sewage spills
B Illegal landfills
C Formal approval for Projects
D World Wetlands Day – report back

4. RIVER INSPECTIONS [ALL]

4.1 River Inspection Process
Natalie Newman had regrettably relocated to Australia leaving no comment on the latter.

Exploratory walking/recording of the rivers within the SRC was still considered the most effective way of recording the status of the latter.

4.2 River Inspection Checklist
A river datasheet adapted from the WC Wetland Inventory study undertaken under the auspices of the Western Cape Wetlands Forum had been adapted as a template checklist for all to appraise and give comment on by March 14 2008
Action;
All

4.3 River Inspection representation
River inspections should be carried out by a core of officials representing engineering, maintenance, water quality and bio diversity wherever possible. Representatives from ‘Friends’ or environmental groups active in the selected inspection ‘section’ should also be invited to add to local knowledge, continuity and to empower future knowledge ‘feedback’ in between formal inspections. It was felt 6/7 persons on any inspection would be practical. Frequency of inspections should be x 1 or 2 section/s per month with the time estimate for each being approximately half a day.

4.4 Recording of Information
The SRC should be analysed and river courses /sections catorgorised into manageable inspection ‘sections’. which would be documented/numbered for the purpose of data capture.
Action; City of CapeTown / Mandy Noffke

It would be preferable for continuity for the data capturer to be employed by the City of CapeTown and that person be present at all inspections.
Action;
City of Cape Town

A GPS to be used for accurate recording of data at selected collection points. 
Action;
Mandy Noffke

Photographic evidence would be recorded and attached where relevant to illustrate written data and species sightings. Action by appointed member/s of the inspection group.

The SRCF should be the custodians of all accumulated data which could be made available on request. Relevant data could also be displayed electronically on the new Environmental Website being developed by Dalton Gibbs.
Action; City of Cape Town and Dalton Gibbs

Pre a formal inspection all existing data on a river ‘section’ would be sourced, verified and documented ie referenced sewer and storm water lines, engineering/built environmental structures, relevant historical information/literature etc.
Action;
City of Cape Town

All new data captured on inspections should be appraised relevant to the SRCMP of 2003 Issues ie maintenance, water quality, bio diversity etc should be updated, re prioritised, budgets sourced for remedial action etc.
Action;
City of Cape Town

4.5 River Inspection General
All present believed that river inspections would be a valuable tool to:

  • date the ‘actual state’ of the natural and built environment

  • to assist with visualising the environmental potential

  • to take cognizanse of history

The criteria would be to enhance/take action on the following:

  • Bio Diversity

  • Infrastructure

  • Water Quality

  • Obstructions

SRCF plan for river regeneration/restoration:

  • collect and store data.

  • create an action plan based on the collected information.

  • promote access.

  • allocate responsibility for maintenance, funding and projects.

First river inspection to be on the Princess Kasteel River led by Mandy Noffke starting at the Tokai Arboretum at 9h30.
Date and Action
Martin Thompson

Copy of Safe to Sea, Shand Report and SRCMP to be provided to all on river inspection
Action
Martin Thompson

5. PUMP STATIONS [Brian Thomson]

5.1 – 5.4

5.5 General Issues

5.5.1. Sewage Spills
Forum members were most concerned about the collective impact of repeated sewage spills within the catchment predominantly due to electricity outages. 128 pump stations were identified as critical within the metro. Six generators were obtained, four of which are located in the Sand River Catchment Questions from the floor asked what volumes and time frames would take the ‘natural environmental system’ to a point of critical impact?

Instead of having overflows recorded annually SRCF would like specific information per event ie Affected pumpstation, environmental area, date, time, volume, weather conditions, length of time to react to spillage, method and length of time of the dispersal of sewage, quality of water tested after event?

Dalton Gibbs asked how the amount of accumulated nutrients locked into the system could be assessed and how can saturation point be predicted ahead of time, to avert catastrophy? Many nutrients come into the system unseen and undocumented.

Forum members asked if CSRI or SS could not only measure the level of pollutants in the waterbody but were they accredited and equipped to remove such pollutants? There are now products on the market to break down e coli, bind nutrients ie phospherous and improve the oxygen content of the waterbody. The latter would also reduce the human health risk of contaminated water.

The Forum would like to explore the nature of such biological products, how they function, what they cost and who is accredited to use them under what environmental conditions?
Action Martin Thompson – A possible topic for further discussion

6. HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS [James Forsyth]
James Forsyth has accumulated a wealth of documentation on the catchment. All the documents will be held by the SRCF for ongoing reference and can be accessed by members on request.

[Please obtain the definitive list, authors and publishers directly from James and include here]


Local Council of Constantia Valley

Constantia Valley - Riverine Open Space Study - Phase 2 - Spaanschemat, Grootbosch Kloof & Prinskasteel Rivers

Ninham Shand - December 1993  -  2144/6123

Overview
This comprehensive Riverine open space study was completed in December 1993 by Consulting Engineers Ninham Shand in association with MLH Architects and Planners and Bernard Oberholzer Landscape Architects.
“The Riverine Open Space Study of the Constantia Valley was identified in the Constantia Valley Growth Management and development Plan (MLH et al, 1962) as one of the three immediate action projects which required attention. The rapid urbanization of Cape Town resulted in increased pressure on the existing residential area, public open spaces and agricultural areas on the urban fringe. The goal of this study is therefore to derive a practical management plan for the riverines open space system, aimed at its restoration and conservation through the implementation of environmentally friendly actions and a soft engineering approach.” 
The report includes the findings, the proposed actions and recommendations of Phase 2 of the study. A reach by reach analysis of the rivers have been made and the outcome of the study indicates the desirability of developing continuous or circular walking, cycling and bridal paths which incorporate the forests of Table Mountain and De Hel, down to the Tokai plantations.

The study is still valid and is the definitive open space study for the Constantia valley. The Bibliography is comprehensive. The Guidelines section relates to the actions proposed in the study and relate to;

  • Site planning

  • Runoff Control

  • Erosion Control

  • Pollution Control

  • Weed control & Revegetation

  • Trails and Signage Design

  • Engineering Design

STATUS; Partially implemented and ongoing.

UPDATED ENVIRONMENTAL SURVEY AND CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR DE HEL, CONSTANTIA NEK

Dr C R Mc Dowell March, 2004

Commissioned by: the Friends of Constantia Valley Green Belts & The Table Mountain Fund

Overview
Environmental Survey
Conservation Management Plan for De Hell
First study referenced in Constantia Valley Riverine Open Space Study

Status; Requires Funding

MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE EXTENSION OF THE CORE CAPE FLATS FLORA CONSERVATION SITE IN THE LOWER TOKAI FOREST

Dr Patricia M. Holmes November 2004

Commissioned by: The Friends of Tokai Forest
Funded: C.E.P.F

Overview
This document is for the restoration of Cape Flats Sand Fynbos in the Lower Tokai Plantation. The plan highlights the fact that Cape Flats Sand Fynbos is critically endangered and that controlled burns will be the most effective way to resuscitate the land once the plantation pines have been clear felled.

The document also contains a list of local indigenous plant species for terrestrial (Sandplain and Foothill) and wetland riparian habitats in the Tokai area

Status; Partially implemented and ongoing.

THE SOURCE-TO- SEA MANAGEMENT AND REHABILITATION ACTION PLAN FOR THE PRINSKASTEEL / KEYSERS RIVER SYSTEM 

Prepared by: Wet Land Solutions, The Freshwater Consulting Group and Clear Cut Solutions.

Funded by: The Table Mountain Fund August 2006

Overview
As biodiversity issues gain more impetus within the public arena there has also been an increasing awareness of the possibility of using this catchment as a means of conserving a relatively moderately impacted riverine ecosystem from its source to the sea. Unlike most of the urban rivers of Cape Town, the Keysers River is canalized only within a relatively short section, and even then, canalization has made use of armourflex and other means of lessening the severe impacts associated with concrete canalization. The river provides many opportunities for rehabilitation, as shown by the number of individual efforts that are taking place throughout the catchment. There also exists a strong will among the different stakeholders to create not only a biodiversity corridor, but one that is also accessible to the public. In recognition of the above, WET-LAND Solutions, in association with the Freshwater Consulting Group and Clear Cut Contracts, were appointed by the Table Mountain Fund / WWF to compile an Action Plan for the Prinskasteel / Keysers River system, with a view to making recommendations for rehabilitation and management measures that should be implemented to improve biodiversity and amenity functions. The present report provides a summary of the ACTION PLAN that was developed as a result of this finding opportunity. The Action Plan itself is intended to function as a cohesive management tool to ensure that any funding that becomes available in the future for this catchment can be appropriately and expediently accessed to maximize the benefit to the catchment and its users.

Status; A number of weirs have been constructed that have been highly effective during the heavy rains of 2007. Extensive planting has taken place.


7. PAMPHLETS [Martin Thompson]
Joy Garman had produced a pamphlet aimed at private property owners living adjacent to the catchment’s rivers. The title is Do’s and Don’ts of river management and is aimed at educating property owners and obtaining ‘buy in’ to best practice methods.

The pamphlet entitled ‘Factors concerning Water Level Management in Zandvlei’ by Martin Thompson had also been prepared and will soon be available for general distribution to interested parties. The content of the pamphlet was also published in the December 2007 issue of the Marina News to specifically inform Marina residents of commonly asked questions on the topic.

1000 copies had been printed [split run Eng/Afri] at a cost of R7000

8. GENERAL

8.1 Water Quality Issues [Candice Haskins]
A bizarre incident occurred in the Keysers River just south of the Military Road Bridge where a lorry load of animal intestines [probably from cattle] had been found illegally dumped in January 2008. At the time of discovery it was quite well decomposed and could not be removed. This incident highlights the difficulty in monitoring and measuring pollution in the catchment.

Quarterly Water Quality monitoring was continuing at all the usual sites.

Biological Monitoring was taking place at 6 sites in the SRC and similar results were being recorded as for 2006/2007.

Alien aquatic weed habitats on the Westlake River in Kirstenhof, where bio control was being used, were being studied by students from Rhodes University. Their observations noted that where bio control suppressed the growth of certain species other species not affected by the bio control would blossom and fill the gap in the habitat. i.e while bio control is effective to a point, where several species are present in a waterbody, the same ‘growth mass’ will remain sustained!

Candice will present a paper at the Water Institute of SA Conference in May 2008 on River Health and Bio Diversity Management.

8.2 Zandvlei Action Committee [C. Sheasby]
Cassy was absent but please find attached the minutes from the last ZAC meeting

8.3 Reports from Friends’ groups
James Forsyth Friends of Constantia Valley
The Friends were hoping to rehabilitate the wetland at Wolverkloof by eradicating the alien vegetation and replanting the area with appropriate indigenous trees.

How do they get local authority permission?

Would they need a bulldozer and if so how would they fund it?

Action; what due process should be followed for the latter? City of Cape Town?

The road that runs to farms alongside the freeway on city land requires landscaping. The friends would like a study done on what mix of trees should be selected to replant the slope, suggestions Witteboom and Silvertrees? They would also like to construct a formal path across the POS and erect signage promoting a partnership between the Friends and the City of Cape Town.

8.4 Major Developments
None to report on

8.5 Payments for minutes preparation
GL asked JF whether they could find finance within their budget to sponsor the writing of the minutes for the Forum. CG had obliged on a volunteer basis for some time but personal work commitments often made this difficult. GL suggested that Sharon McCallum write the minutes in future if they could be funded. JF seemed to think they could accommodate this request.

8.6 Formal approval of Projects
The Forum would like to know how developers manage to waiver applications for services. It appears that some EIA’s are breaking the rules of Provincial Legislation.
Action; Request Joy Garman to research

8.7 Illegal Landfills
JF reported on the illegal landfill on the site of the Institute for Mathematics in Firgrove Road. A contractor from the V&A had requested permission to dump soil at the abovementioned site supposedly as top soil for the college sports fields. It appears to have been a scam as repeated loads of ‘builders rubble’ are still being dumped on site on the wetland edge.
Does the land belong to Province?
Is Amanda Frans the person to whom this misdemeanor should be reported?
Where and who polices such infringements?
Action; Request Joy Garman to research

8.8 World Wetlands Day – reportback
The Wetlands Forum created a ‘blog site’ to be found at wwwwetlandsforum.blog.com which contains a lot of relevant information on the SRC including poster maps illustrating the Keysers River. The wetlands Forum provided a good focused example of what can be achieved by a constructive division of duty between the roleplayers.

9. NEXT MEETING

Monday 26 May 2008 at 13h30 at the Alphen Chambers


The  Zandvlei Action Committee.

Minutes of the quarterly committee meeting held at the Zandvlei Yacht Club on Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 14:00.

1. Opening and welcome
Cassy Sheasby welcomed all present and opened the meeting. Faisca Hare was introduced to the committee from the Environmental Health Department.

Attendance Register
C Sheasby         CS
Cllr Qually          DQ
B Salies             BS
M Thompson      MT
L Harrison          LH
T Persent           TP
C Giljam            CG
G Lawson          GL
J Sher               JS
F Hare              FHa
F Howa             FH
A Taylor            AT

Apologies
R de La Cruz     RDLC
L Swart             LS
C Haskins         CH
D Gibbs            DG
M Cupido          MC
G Rowe            GR
L Dixon            LD
S Fowkes         SF
P Bilby             PB
C Erasmus       CE
P Joubert          PJ
R Maclean        RM

Minutes of the previous meeting
No changes to previous minutes.

2. Water levels
JS reported that the water level was too low for the regatta. It was at 1.05m when last measured by Catchment Management. The mouth would be opened on Monday 18 February. TP said it would be closed on 21st depending on the high tide. DQ requested that the opening and closing provisional dates be put up on the Zandvlei Trust website and possibly be inserted into the Zandvlei Trust newsletter and Marina newsletter. TP to supply these dates to CS. Action TP

3. Water Quality
Sewerage spill occurred at Zandvlei on 2 February. The power tripped which turned on the back up generator. When the power returned, the power surge caused a fault on the circuit board and the sewerage did not get pumped. On 4th a sample was taken by Scientific Services. The levels of sewerage were high in this sample. A second sample was collected on 6th February and showed acceptable levels. CS requested that Catchment Management buy some of the biological agent that can be kept at the Nature Reserve for when these sewerage spills occur. CS has approached her supervisor DG on this issue and he supports the idea. CG suggested a meeting to discuss the future prevention of sewerage spills especially with the increasing power outages and load shedding. CS asked about the Environmental Health department putting up signage when there are sewerage spills as the public has a right to know. It was discussed and decided that the best signage to use would be the temporary type of signage that estate agents use that can be removed when the risk of contamination subsides. BS to fix “sechi” disk for CG. Action MTBS

4 Pondweed
CS was astounded at the lack of complaints! JS forwarded her thanks on behalf of the Yacht Club to Parks. BS reported that the one kingfisher was in for repairs and the other was working. DQ reported that the tender was being finalised for replacements but had no specifics on number or if they would be contracted out etc. TP explained that when the water levels are higher, the weed is less visible and less of a problem.

5 Litter traps
Sand river canal was last cleaned in December. Continued cleaning by contractors of the litter traps taking place. Generally people were happy with the result. Litter catch net needs to be replaced soon.

6 Park Island
CG reported that the first session of contract cleaners did the job, however mixed the pondweed with the litter which made it difficult to use the pondweed and even more difficult to remove due to weight etc. CG reported that a contractor got a fish hook through his hand, she paid for him to have it removed at the hospital, however better safety gear must be enforced and the workers should not work in the water if there has been a sewerage spill in accordance with health and safety. Contractors’ supervisor must ensure that they abide by the health and safety act. Ricardo de la Cruz to be made aware of this. CG requested that a first aid kit be bought and seconded to a responsible person to be used for the contractors. RDLC to follow up. CG requested that the litter cleanups along the shores take place when the water levels are low as it is easier to access the litter in the reed beds. CS reminded the forum of her request to Parks to stockpile the pondweed at the depot for CG to use on Park Island. CS explained that the health and safety as well as safety equipment and clothing is the responsibility of the contractor, however contraventions of this need to be brought to RDLC attention. CG suggested that the contractors have their own keys made for the gate and that they leave their personal items in the gate house. BS confirmed that they did have a key and that they were already using the gate house. CG reminded CS about the kikuyu spraying. CS confirmed it would be the first job of the alien clearing contract team. CG requested that the Nature Reserve does not paint the Park Island benches with brown paint as the residents complained that they prefer varnish. CG asked about getting an owl box on Park Island. CS explained that erecting an owl box can have a damaging effect on rodent population. CS to contact the workshop team. CG asked whether a population count of Gerbils has taken place. CS said it hasn’t been done and is extremely difficult as they are underground, also is time consuming. CS and CG discussed the introduction of Knox’s Desert Lizard onto Park Island. CS explained that a genetics switch with Zeekoevlei lizards would take place during the year and at that time lizards would be introduced onto Park Island. Action  BSBS/RDLCRDLC

7. Tube worms
CS reported that student Sebastian Osborne would start a monitoring program of tubeworms and pipefish.

8. Mallards
CS reported that meetings with Cape Nature to help in a co-ordinated eradication programme were not successful, Cape Nature claims they do not have money or staff to assist. CS has ordered the sedative and has motivated for an alien clearing project team to be contracted to assist with this. CS to follow up. Staff undertook a mallard count. GL suggested bird monitoring grid blocks for the ZIMP monitoring.
Action CS

9. Fish
CS reported on the last fish trek in November. CS reported that a fish tag had been sent to the fish tagging monitoring program who had sent a lot of information to the Reserve. This info should be put onto the website. CS to get it to GL. CG requested a notice for the gate of Park Island about fish tagging and handling of Leervis. CS gave information about the fishermen that were caught on Zandvlei who were contravening four different by-laws/acts. CS handed out copies of the by-laws. CS suggested an awareness campaign be started with the Post Offices, issuing them with fishing pamphlets applicable to Zandvlei. JS questioned the process length of changing the by-laws, CS and CG discussed this, reported to be anything from 6 months to 2 years. Action CS

10. Channel Scouring
MT discussed the states of the sand bar, stated that no funding is available. Forum decided that the bar would be left untouched. CS to request Steve Lambeth to discuss the impact that the sand bar could have on fish migration into or out of Zandvlei. Action CS

11. Invasive Waterweed 
CS reported Constantia bulletin contacted her to get an article on TP clearing the hyacinth out of Westlake Wetland river opposite Orchards Village. They had a report that a resident reported having seen/heard the Leopard Toads being killed. She had a site meeting with TP, looked for Leopard Toads, there were none. CS reported back to the resident and Constantia bulletin. TP reported that the harvester has been requested to help clear the hyacinth at the confluence.

12. Signage
GL requested information on the budget available for signage. CS reported that signage for the whole area is on the capital wishlist for 2008/2009.

Other Business:

a. Weather Station
Nothing to report.

b. Boardsail Inn
Nothing to report.

d. Westlake Wetlands
CS: Reeds to be cut along the main road to the waters edge to help curb the vagrancy problem. GL reported that a hack had taken place at Bokmakierie Park which removed a large amount of vagrant’s rubbish.

13 Closure and date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for the 21 May 2008 at 14:00 in the Imperial Yacht Club.

                                                                                                                                   

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