SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM
Minutes of the meeting held on: Monday 13th November 2009 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers
Martin Thompson (chairman) :
CCT - Catchment, Stormwater and Roads Management (CSRM)
1. WELCOME / APOLOGIES & ATTENDANCE REGISTER
2. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
3. ACTION ITEMS FROM LAST MINUTES
4. ADDITIONAL ITEMS UNDER GENERAL
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:
Some suggested solutions
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.
8. FRIENDS GROUPS REPORT
8.1 Kirstenhof JF: The friends had concentrated on the Wetland Area and the Orange Road Causeway.
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.
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.
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.
Westlake Wetlands Walkway Garden, Main Road, Lakeside. - Una Hartley
Westlake Rutter Road Pond. - John Fowkes
Hacking Group. - Gavin Lawson
Kite Festival - October
Do-it-Day at the Reserve. - September
More detail of all these activities can be viewed on the ZVT website.
Environmental Education CG
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
12.1 Pamphlets MT
12.2 Flood lines
12.3 Historical documents JF to follow up on
12.4 Historic Furrow ref Old Sillery BR
12.5 Silverhurst Trail BG
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
12.7 Aquatic Weed MN
13 NEXT MEETING
Monday 15 February 2010 at 13h30 at the Alphen Chambers.