Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of the meeting held on: Monday 13th November 2009 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers

Present

Martin Thompson (chairman) :                 CCT - Catchment, Stormwater and Roads Management (CSRM)
Suretha Dorse                                        CCT - ERMD
Nicole Andrews:                                     CCT - ERMD
Cassandra Sheasby :                             CCT - ZNR
Cherry Giljam (secretary minutes):           ZVT/Friends of Park Island
Gavin Lawson :                                       ZVT
Jean Fillis :                                            Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Janice Behr :                                         Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Valerie Morris :                                      Renaissance Solar
George Davis :                                       SANBI
John Green :                                          WESSA & Friends of Tokai Forest
Louise Kihrade :                                     Friends of Kirstenhof  Wetlands
Jean Fillis                                              Friends of Kirstenhof  Wetlands
Dennis Davey :                                       Friends of Die Oog
Pauline Pearce :                                     Friends of Die Oog
James Forsyth :                                     Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts
John Green :                                          WESSA & Friends of Tokai Forest
Mandy Noffke :                                      WESSA
Brian Ratcliffe :                                      FOCVGB
Liz Brunette :                                         Constantia Hills Res. Ass
George Davies :                                     SANBI

 

Apologies

Leighan Mossop :                                  TMNP
Candice Haskins :                                 CCT - CSRM
Sharon McCallum:                                 ZVT

 

1. WELCOME / APOLOGIES & ATTENDANCE REGISTER
Martin Thompson, as chairman, welcomed those present to the last meeting of 2009.

2. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
Approved without change.

3. ACTION ITEMS FROM LAST MINUTES
The principles of the Source to Sea have been embodied in the Spatial Development framework. The next step is the public process which will comprise of a Workshop and Open day. The latter have now been confirmed.
ACTION MT to circulate details of the above mentioned

4. ADDITIONAL ITEMS UNDER GENERAL
BR Historic Furrow below Scillery and Silverhurst Trail
LB Discussion on gabions /safety / maintenance
JG Discuss the proposals for the Tokai Forest Picnic Area

5. SEA LEVEL RISE – Sakhile Tsotsobe [topic for another meeting]

6. NEW CITY POLICIES ENHANCE WETLAND MANAGEMENT presented by MT in the absence of Candice Haskins [this is a brief overview, the full presentation can be made available on request]

Process for water quality treatment on individual sites larger than 4000sq meters or 600 sq meters of impervious area. The mapping process focused on wetland areas the ‘model’ developed initially on the desktop.

Wetlands, inclusive of water courses were classified into 4 levels. Both natural and man made i.e. dams were mapped. A process of prioritization followed where the wetlands were ‘ranked’ and ‘rated’. These were allotted a status from critical, valuable but needing ecological support, size, condition and even special value features i.e. supporting a high level of bio diversity.

This model was overlaid with the hydrology study of the area to complete the analysis.

They looked at Flood Plain and River Corridor Management with particular reference to the effects of pollution on the latter. To do this they considered flood lines, regimes and buffer requirements and the socio economic impact of the surrounding areas and its implications on a prospective management plan. Preserving a substantial buffer zone around some water bodies may be more effective than just adhering to the flood line. The idea is to promote sustainable development around the water bodies i.e. guideline 10 - 40 meters along a water course, up to 75metres for a wetland.

The policy should create a framework for easy assessment of proposals by categorizing new development. This could assist prevention of civic utility development in borderline areas and make it unnecessary to specify around critical wetlands i.e. Nature Reserves, because of their protected status

JG asked if this local management plan would be adopted by the ‘higher authorities’ i.e. Province? If we categories development at a local level would they ‘Province’ listen i.e. the vital seepage area on the Porter Estate. He gave the Westlake School proposal as an example, the latter was well below the 100 year flood level! 

MT replied that decisions made on the old policy cannot be retracted. They used limited criteria i.e. ‘could the building be evacuated in an emergency’ without taking the full environmental impact into account.

Successfully managed water courses/wetlands i.e. Silvermine should be promoted as shining examples where best practice policies promote water quality and a sustainable diverse environment.

Urban Design should be ‘Water sensitive’ and key to this is creative management of Stormwater, Water Supply and Sewerage. Sustainability can be achieved through managing urban drainage systems, natural systems, traditional water storage systems and groundwater.

International terminology SUDS [Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems]

7. RIVER WALK REPORT Nicole and Suretha from Prinskasteel Tributary and Buitenverwachting Wine Estate on 4 November 2009 [Detailed report available on request]

The natural water course had altered over the years. Buitenverwachting Wine Estate had created an artificial channel for water run-off along its boundary, which ran directly down the mountain. The latter did not have sufficient capacity causing a great deal of erosion and excessive amounts of silt that ran down onto Orpen Road and the Soetvlei System.

Problems identified on the day:
Vineyards planted to enhance sun exposure rather than take cogniscience of the drainage lines.The road and drainage channel ran directly down the slope along the boundary line. The concrete and stone lining of the above was badly degraded. Occasionally water was directed from the channel into neighbouring property sometimes with adverse outcomes. High velocity of water created the biggest problem and should be dealt with by the land owner

Some suggested solutions

  • The run off should be re directed into the existing wetland area on the property

  • The secondary vlei area should be utilised for further water infiltration

  • An hydrology engineer should be employed by the estate to propose a management plan for the estate including assessing water uptake and flow around the gum trees at the top of the estate, how the road could be re directed, how to best direct the run off to existing vlei areas and the neighbouring properties, how to best upgrade the existing channel into Soetvlei.

LB commented that all the roads crossing the newly cultivated vineyard area were eroded which explained the excess silt in the channel. She had actually witnessed the deluge of silt/water in the area during an extreme winter rainfall event and felt that top interaction was needed.

JG commented that all proposals to date ignored the natural contours of the land. This was aggravated by the property boundaries. He believed an holistic plan should be sought by all the property owners affected and top interaction was needed for this to happen. It should include San Parks as a matter of urgency who are currently reviewing the Picnic Area. The acid fynbos corridor needed to be realigned as part of this process as it was fundamental to biological flow integration.

ACTION MT
Needs to register the SRCF as an I&AP before the 13th December for the Tokai Forest Picnic Area. Facilitate a meeting with all the affected property owners with Mr Carlisle + Mr Bredell re issues .Write a report to Buitenverwachting giving them reportback on inspection, comment, plan and the way forward. This will include recommending a reputable hydrogical engineer.

8. FRIENDS GROUPS REPORT

8.1 Kirstenhof JF: The friends had concentrated on the Wetland Area and the Orange Road Causeway.

Successes

  • Rowland and Leta Hill Trust had donated R15,000 for alien clearing

  • City parks had assisted with tree clearing

  • Mark and Mandy, Bishopscourt ratepayers and Jan Botes had donated indigenous plants/slips, Julia, milkwoods, while WESSA had financed a well point and some new flower beds. Anonymous donors, Pole Yard, all assisted, while local residents subsidized their gardeners to assist with pathway repair on an ongoing basis. 

  • They had 10 volunteers on Do it Day, had facilitated a couple of river walks in addition to a monthly community action day held the 3rd Saturday of the month.

Challenges

  • Vandalism of the children’s play park, wooden pedestrian bridges,

  • parrot feather infested duck pond,

  • dog litter and 

  • erosion where the alien trees had been removed leading to undercutting of the river banks in certain high flow areas. 

  • Their toadlets were still water based and they wondered if the water weed alien infestation was affecting them?

City council had undertaken to repair the wooden pedestrian bridges and since all discussion on the elimination of dog excrement is now banned from Forum meetings each group will have to find its own solutions to this tedious problem.

JG kindly suggested that the Friends took over from Tokai in being the recipient of the funds raised from the annual Newlands Rotary Carol Service in the Tokai Arboretum to be held this year on the 13th December at 18h00.

ACTION MT to circulate details of the above mentioned carol service to all relevant environment and ratepayer groups within the catchment. ASAP

8.2 Die Oog DD: The area containing Die Oog was developed in 1988 leaving fallow 1,7 hectare of land and a 200 year old small dam as POS which was so overgrown most folk didn’t know of its existence. 20 years ago local residents cleaned the area, fencing the periphery with a gate for access.

7 years ago the ‘Friends’ created an ‘oasis’ within the urban context that could possibly attain status as a City of CapeTown Nature Reserve in the future. Cape Nature assisted by culling the rabbits, mallards and carp.

Successes

  • Have been the rehabilitation process that has replanted the indigenous vegetation,

  • repaired the dam wall,

  • introduced local fauna,

  • an electricity supply and generally made it a pleasant destination to visit and enjoy nature.

  • It also has value in an environmental education context.

Challenges

  • Have focused on the high nutrient levels / water weed in the dam, which it is suspected has caused, the death of stocked fish and the cyclical disappearance of the large Ibis colony.

  • The dam is usually the focus of the Leopard Toad research project because of their prolific numbers in the area but this year even that activity has been curtailed and there is no sign of toadlet’s emerging yet.

8.3 Constantia Valley Greenbelt BR: The ‘Friends’ had focused on the Grootboskloof area planting 28 carefully selected/positioned indigenous trees along the river bank. Working for Wetlands supplied the plants some of which had to be replanted after being damaged by out sourced council contractors. The latter were making a good impression rebuilding some of the walkways.

Challenges

  • Close to the river flow some erosion was evident, threatening to collapse the banks while some gabions were ‘back washing’ and eroding underneath the wire baskets, becoming a danger.

  • River shaping had been successful despite vast quantities of granite silt being deposited to a width of 45 meters wide in the ‘paddock area’. SD had written to Property Management to ascertain the responsibilities of land lease holders re infestations of alien growth.

  • LB complained about the skill levels of the Council Tender Contractors, saying that they frequently do more harm than good, ring barking trees and mowing over newly planted vegetation. Sometimes their equipment and safety gear is grossly inadequate. What is in their service agreement, does the City monitor their performance, and can they be penalized for damage done? Maybe some areas do not need to be mown.

ACTION LB to get a meeting with Wayne Steyne to discuss further

ACTION MT to invite more council officials to Forum meetings to discuss Training, Supervision and Communication between the policy makers and those who ‘make it happen’. Maybe even WESSA needs to be included!

8.4 Zandvlei Trust GL:

Environmental Education. – Cherry Giljam and Sharon McCallum continue to support the EEC at the Nature Reserve every week, helping Mark Arendse with the after school environmental classes. Zerilda Primary, Steenberg Primary and Steenberg High, have regular classes and outings.
Cherry will report in more detail below.

Westlake Wetlands Walkway Garden, Main Road, Lakeside. - Una Hartley
Una continues to do outstanding work in the garden with the limited help she has.

Westlake Rutter Road Pond. - John Fowkes
Booms made from 2 litre plastic bottles bound at the top of fine mesh netting, weighted at the bottom to hang like a curtain in the water. These are spanned across sections of the Keysers and Westlake rivers and open water bodies in the Westlake Wetlands to trap and contain the hyacinth.
The group together with Working for Wetlands, Zandvlei Nature Reserve and DWAF are helping with the control and management of the hyacinth. DWAF have introduced bio control this month, a moth.

Hacking Group. - Gavin Lawson
We are working on a section of Old Boyes Drive, City of Cape Town property, which links the Muizenberg to Zandvlei as a conservation corridor. We will be working this area for some time as it is densely populated with exotic vegetation.

Kite Festival - October
The Kite Festival was a success considering the weather conditions for the weekend. ZVT members had a tent with the Nature Reserve displays and the staff was promoting local conservation, planting local indigenous plants and environmental education for all age groups.

Do-it-Day at the Reserve. - September
ZVT trying to promote a culture of volunteering helped co-ordinated the day at the Nature Reserve, with Romeo Paulse (2009 pratical student).
Tygerberg Hospital pathology dept (23), Tygerberg hospital medical students (11) together with a few ZVT members helped clear 85 bags of vicia from the Nature Reserve.
The Reddam High School (26), removed 12 bags of litter together with tyres, shopping trolleys, a washing machine were some items removed from the Sand River. They also cut down Port Jackson and Rooikrans invasives on Wildwood Island.

More detail of all these activities can be viewed on the ZVT website.

Environmental Education CG 
Key to successful EE is identifying a committed teacher at the school who will ‘engage’ with the opportunities the programme offers and the dedicated EE officer. A volunteer from the local community for each group would also be nice for continuity and to assist the EE officer.
Increasingly finance for transport is an issue and even if the school is within walking distance there is not sufficient time for the afternoon extra curriculum groups to walk. Sponsorship for a ‘transport fund’ would very helpful.

To sustain our groups we have been having more EE classes at school where we are promoting water wise and Cape Flats Fynbos gardening at school which has the benefit of reaching more pupils who would otherwise not get involved with the topic. We have 1 ‘outing’ a term for each group i.e. a mountain hike, visit to explore rocky shores, assisting with the Leopard Toad patrol at night, Cheetah experience etc
We use the donated canoes [Woolworths and B Nicolson] to great advantage when ever practical. The children learn a new and very physical skill and have the added experience of observing the environment from a different perspective.

Further information on the activities and curriculum offered, statistics on learners to the reserve etc can be obtained from our dedicated EE officer Mark Arendse GZENR 021 701 7542

Park Island CG : City Parks do a litter clean up and mow the paths approximately twice a year. Management of the GZENR are very supportive with policy decisions but have lacked the manpower to address most issues affecting the island. This year they have repaired the x 2 wooden pedestrian bridges and supplied herbicide to spray some of the ever increasing areas of Kikuyu grass.

Successes
The ‘Friends’ have financed, trained and supervised x 2 laborers from Capricorn LINK approximately 10 to 16 days a month to clear alien vegetation, litter, do path maintenance, repair bank erosion, ground preparation and planting out of appropriate indigenous species each winter [2009 we concentrated on the ‘bird garden’ area] and maintenance of the ‘flower garden’ at the entrance to the island.

In the absence of CG, who initiated and has facilitated the rehabilitation process to date, a sponsor has been found to continue to fund the laborers next year. The laborers will be based at the old council building on the island. The fund will be managed through the Treasurer of ZVT and the ‘Friends’ will supervise the activities of the laborers on a daily basis. CS will be responsible for policy decisions.

Challenges

  • To get assistance from City Parks to collect the bags of litter and the cut alien vegetation, both left in stragetic ‘piles’. 

  • To mow the paths on a regular basis.

The 20 hectare island, now included within the GZENR, continues to grow in popularity as a recreational area being visited daily by approximately 60 - 80 people, many accompanied by dogs. It is now 10 years since the start of the rehabilitation programme and the strandveld fynbos is maturing well and is supporting an ever increasing number of fauna and bird life.

8.5 Keysers River partnership MN:

Successes

  • this year has seen the insertion of bollards and alien clearing.

Challenges

  • vandalism and illegal dumping.

The way forward - how can the necessary ongoing maintenance be funded/managed. A map of the area with a management plan attached listing priorities and costs of the various activities needs to be drawn up so that funding can be sourced.

8.6 Source to Sea MN :

Project is now complete after a year of assessment and planning.

Challenges

  • To consolidate the huge effort put into this project it is now necessary to relate the findings to Princess Vlei and continue the network of trails to this historic area.

  • Funding will be needed to make any of the proposals a reality. Perhaps a ‘Suite of projects’ needs to be developed for the SRC with attached budgets. The latter can be presented to local council/developers including the City Spatial Planning Dept and local civic groups.[ the Source to Sea presentation from the Wetlands indaba can be utilized for this purpose] in order to garner support and funding for the concept. The projects could also create local employment and skills training.

  • SRCF or designated members, should be the facilitators/co coordinators of the project/s and should also apply for the necessary funding.

ACTION MN to confirm a proposed meeting at the Barn, WESSA for 18 January 2010 to discuss funding opportunities and applications for selected projects. The latter need to be complete for submission in March 2010. MN to try and copy the Source to Sea presentation on DVD for circulation and presentation purposes.

9. DOCUMENT FILING GL detailed the report with tables of figures with various options available for the Forum members to discuss.

MT thanked GL for his time in researching the information. There was a lot of general discussion on who should own, host and maintain such a dedicated website. GL indicated that he may be able to oblige if funding could be found.
LB asked that the Forum be more specific about the information the Forum wished to show on the website. She suggested we ask the wine estates within the catchment to fund the project.

An opportunity to promote eco best practice/water quality with viticulture, tourism, history, recreation and upliftment/skills training of previously disadvantaged areas and people?

10 ZANDVLEI FISH DATA CS [A list of Zandvlei Fish Species and a graph on fish trek research conducted at the Zandvlei Estuary Mouth was circulated to all and can be obtained on request]

The Zandvlei Fish Species list indicated 6 alien and 23 indigenous fish types in the estuary.
The fish treks/surveys have been conducted on a quarterly basis since 2003 by Steve Lambeth from Marine and Coastal Management. They can only follow trends and usually do not know what causes a species type to implode.ie This year they are once again finding junior White Steenbras a species that all but disappeared after the construction of the Marina da Gama in the 70’s - they speculate that chemicals exuding from the construction process led to their demise but now that the eco system has stabilized they are once again adapting to the habitat. Baby leervis are another example of a magnificent species that is increasing in numbers. The species list indicates that the present management of the estuary with the increased tidal infusions is also having a positive effect on the fish.

Higher up the estuary where the water tends to be less saline alien Mosquito fish, Large mouthed bass and Sharp tooth catfish are plentiful. The latter is very hardy able to ‘walk’ overland and is the ultimate predator. These alien species pose a serious threat to other indigenous species especially the endangered leopard toad. They are voracious feeders on toad/fish eggs and toad lets. Shaun Mar has intimated that he would like to do his doctorate on ‘The study of the effects of alien fish in the Catchment’ with particular reference to the Sand River, which would give greater insight to the extent of the problem.

With all the accumulated data available no one has quantified the monetary value of the Zandvlei Estuary as a hatchery/nursery to the line fish industry. Since the latter is in serious decline it is imperative that more research is done and that ‘responsible action’ is taken to safeguard this precious resource for the future.

ACTION GD would like this topic to be included as a presentation for a future Wetlands Forum

11. RIVER WORKS LEGISLATION SD [An electronic copy will be added to the minutes]

Maintenance and rehabilitation are excluded from the new legislation.

This guideline originates and has been drafted in the Western Cape, this version being subject to change. It has, however, been an example of how good communication and shared objectives between the different departments can draft such positive legislation.

12. GENERAL

12.1 Pamphlets MT
The ‘Rivers and wetlands in our backyards’ full colour, folded to DL size pamphlet has been printed and distributed by CoCT and very informative and attractive it is too. The same can be said of the illustrated full colour DL size pamphlet and A1 educational poster on the Endangered Leopard Toad. Contact Mark Day for copies.

12.2 Flood lines
A map of the existing floodlines in the Catchment was displayed.

12.3 Historical documents JF to follow up on

12.4 Historic Furrow ref Old Sillery BR
On the Source to Sea plan 5 erven have been acknowledged as having Grade 2 historical significance next to and below Peddlars on the Bend. Access to the furrow as POS is being sought from the developers including the old oak trees alongside the walkway. If the latter are to cede the land they will want some compensation from council. This process has been negotiated 4 times and an EIA has been completed. McKay has submitted plans called Old Sillery for the section of the furrow buried below Peddlars.

12.5 Silverhurst Trail BG
The latter comes to a dead end at the shared Public open Space and Private open Space. The affected land owner is prepared to ‘swop’ land with council so that the trail can follow the old Spaanschemat river line upstream to join Pear Lane and on to its source.

ACTION would the relevant council authority clarify the position with the affected land owner so the land swop can be formalized

12.6 Grootbos Kloof MN
The council own 80% with Mr Mago being the sole private owner. Pressure should be put on him to cede the wetland.

12.7 Aquatic Weed MN
MN has been appointed to study where the latter is located within the city and how best it should be managed. MN was to undertake a pilot project as part of the process. Baseline data had already been supplied by DWAF for the pilot study and the SRC had been appointed as the designated area.

13 NEXT MEETING

Monday 15 February 2010 at 13h30 at the Alphen Chambers.

                                                                                                                                    

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