Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of meeting held on Tuesday, 22nd October 2013
at 09:30 at SanParks, Cape Research Centre.

Present
M Thompson           CCT CSRM                    (Chairman)
B Ratcliffe               FOCVGB
G Lawson               ZVT
J Fillis                    F O Kirstenhof Wetlands
C Haskins              CCT CSRM                    (Secretary)
C von Witt              WESSA
S Fowkes              ZEMF
J Forsyth               FOCVGB
J Rawlings             FOCVGB
M Noffke                WESSA
T Mmachaka          DWA
B Mtandana           DWA
E Herdien               DWA
G Topley                CCT Health
L Brunette              CCT Cllr
S Hollermann         TMNP
J Gericke               CCT Zandvlei Nature Reserve
L Stafford               CCT Biodiversity Management Branch
S Braid                  Aurecon
E Hobbs                F O Kirstenhof Wetlands.

Apologies.
The following tendered their apologies: Ann Coltham, Sharon Mc Callum , Malcolm Cupido, Louise Kinrade, Melissa Tang, Suretha Dorse, John Fowkes, Chandre Rhoda.

1. Welcome / Apologies / Attendance Register
The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting (see list above) and handed out copies of the Agenda and handed out previous minutes to those that requested them.
The following tendered their apologies: Ann Coltham, Sharon Mc Callum , Malcolm Cupido, Louise Kinrade, Melissa Tang, Suretha Dorse, John Fowkes, Chandre Rhoda.

2. Approval of Previous Minutes
The minutes from the previous meeting were scanned and approved without change. 
Regarding Action Items : Martin Thompson said that Nicola Okes had been contacted and would attend a meeting next year to provide further input regarding her PhD study on otters.

3. Making collaboration work – Sand Catchment Case Study (Louise Stafford – Invasive Species Unit, City of Cape Town)
Louise undertook an interesting presentation. A few key points are highlighted below:

  • The Westlake River is a good case study in this Catchment as it has several of the invasive aquatic plants present in the system.

  • Emerging weeds have no biocontrol agents so only physical control methods are possible and this can be quite destructive to the instream and bank environment if machines are used. Control is costly because the plants re-grow.

  • It is felt that physical methods should not be used on species which do have active and effective biocontrol agents e.g. hyacinth, kariba weed, pistia

  • Stormwater and the Invasive Species Unit (ISU) do planning together – creates synergy, shared efforts etc

  • There are multiple stakeholders in the catchment and this provides a unique opportunity for alignment and balance of both environmental and socio-political objectives.

  • Legislative environment is not always ‘enabling’ – CARA: landowners must manage aliens on their property but often simply have no capacity to do so. NEMBA: invasive species regulations not law yet.

  • City By-law relating to invasive species in planned. Currently the Invasive species policy is going through MAYO and thereafter a by-law will be drafted.

  • Sand Catchment – generally wealthy e.g. Constantia environs so funding is not generally prioritised for these areas.

  • The Biocontrol Rearing Facility at Westlake is to be upgraded and will supply whole W Cape with agents – not just City.

  • Water hyacinth has 8 biocontrol agents including the newly released grasshopper.

  • Biocontrol is not a ‘silver bullet’ – management of invasive plants needs to be done in conjunction with manual control where appropriate. Water quality influences the success of biocontrol releases since in heavily impacted / nutrient enriched waters, the growth rate of plants outstrips that of the agents.

  • Spotter network for tracking locations of existing and emerging invasives:
    see www.capetowninvasives.org.za

  • Plan for Sand Catchment includes initial team cleaning and some limited follow-up with green wardens being established to continue into the future.

  • Sand River Working Group – to be involved with planning and ensuring synergy. Mandy Noffke is the chairperson. The Group can provide feedback to both the 
    Catchment Forum and Friends groups as appropriate.

Questions and Comments
Cllr Brunette: Working group is focussed on the ISU but other role players are also needed e.g. stormwater. Louise agreed that this is true.
Earl Herdien (DWA): What about forming partnerships with commercial entities e.g. to use biomass? Louise replied that it is not always cost effective to do so. It is also not advisable to create a market that is dependent on the supply of material from invasive species since ultimately that could dwindle as control of the species becomes more effective.
Jean Fillis: Is there a control agent besides Lysathia for parrots feather since the agent only eats the top of the plant which leaves the rest to rot in the water? Louise replied that there isn’t. One needs to be patient and do further releases of Lysathia if they move away. Eventually the plant begins to thin out.
Cllr Brunette: Is there budget for communications with residents, nurseries etc? Louise replied that there is limited budget. Posters have been produced. The website capetowninvasives.org.za is planned and will assist with communication and awareness raising.

4. Tokai Forest Restoration Trail (Sandra Hollerman – SANParks)
Large areas of pine trees are being removed in the Tokai area e.g. around the CRC offices. The plan to create a corridor between the mountain and Cape Flats acid sandplain fynbos is thus progressing well. The restoration trail has had many partners including SANParks, Friends of Tokai Park and SANBI with funding from Old Mutual 2 Oceans. There is a landscape plan covering the pathways which include a 4km perimeter pathway. 1000 plants with 20 endangered species have been planted and interpretive signage has been produced. The launch of the trail was end of September 2013. The project has been very successful after initial very negative sentiments from some role players/interest groups.

5. Ann Coulton – sent apologies and will provide feedback during the course of 2014.

6. Compliance and enforcement – protection of rivers and wetlands with reference to the National Water Act (Samantha Braid – Aurecon)

  • Samantha introduced herself explaining that she has a background in compliance and enforcement stemming from her previous work with the Green Scorpions in Gauteng.

  • Enforcement driven rehabilitation is very different from initiative driven rehabilitation projects. Former is reactive, focussed on small areas, short term, landowner responsibility with limited funds.

  • She described the general enforcement process using a flow diagram. If a non-compliance / contravention has taken place a warning letter is issued and then a compliance notice / directive. The wording of these letters is important and should match.

  • The National Water Act (NWA) refers to water resources which refers to the physical water (liquid) and the watercourse which refers to the environment in which the water is found. These are distinctly different and important to consider when interpreting the various sections of the Act. For example the “aquifer’ as defined in the NWA refers only to the rock in which water is found and not the water itself. It is anticipated that this will be addressed in future amendments of the Act.

  • There are many different pieces of legislation which refer to water at the national, provincial and even municipal (by-law) levels.

  • It is problematic that a large amount of budget is used for EIA processes and often this amounts to more than the actual project in question – this sometimes results in non-compliance since construction projects go ahead in the absence of authorisation and then the fine for non-compliance are simply paid (cheaper in the long run!).

  • NWA protects the resource/ watercourse through Resource Directed Measures - RDM (protection of the environment) and Source Directed Controls (regulation of the use of water, licensing etc).

  • RDM includes the determination of Present Ecological State (PES) classes A – F, Desired State (Classes A – D), Reserve (basic human needs and ecological reserve), Resource Quality Objectives (the variables that are monitored to ensure that Desired State and Reserve are maintained.

  • Water Use Regulation is to ensure the core values of the NWA namely equity, sustainability and efficiency.

 

Priority uses in terms of the NWRS (2004) are as follows:

  • Reserve

  • International obligations

  • Poverty elimination

  • Strategic users (e.g. Eskom)

  • Commercial consumptive use (e.g. agriculture)

  1. Source Directed Controls (SDC) to achieve the management class defined in the RDM

  2. Section 21 water uses – note that some refer to water resources while others refer to the watercourse (e.g. S21 c and i).

  3. Fines - NEMA 2013 proposed amendments with increased fines to a maximum of R10 million per contravention.

  4. Compliance – key directives are from:

  • NWA s19(3), 20(4), 3(1

  • MEMA s28 (4), s31

  • ECA s31

7. NWA Section 19 and 20 (Earl Herdien)
Earl provided a handout to the forum members (see annexure). Section 19 deals with remedying effects of pollution while section 20 refers to control of emergency incidents. Martin Thompson asked whether DWA could assist with the long standing pollution issues in the Westlake River emanating from Pollsmoor Prison in terms of these sections?
Gideon Topley (CCT Environmental Health) said that water quality tests were generally very poor e.g. E.coli 70 million counts/100ml.
Sandra Fowkes said that civil society is particularly concerned about this issue and requested that the Forum be kept up to date with developments.
Cllr Brunette asked whether civil society can get involved with enforcement? Martin said that this was not possible as it is a government function but that the public can lodge complaints at local police station.
Gavin Lawson commented that the pollution from Pollsmoor has been ongoing since the 1990s.
ACTION: Earl Herdien to get in contact with Gideon to discuss this matter further and provide the Forum with feedback.

8. Various Issues
Since time was available item 8a was discussed.

8a. Zandvlei Nature Reserve – The Plan (Joshua Gericke – City of Cape Town, Biodiversity Management Branch)

Joshua informed the Forum members about the past, present and future plans and status of Zandvlei NR. The current reserve extent includes some of the coastal areas of the False Bay Ecology Park. In total 222ha are to be declared as a provincial contract nature reserve in terms of the Protected Areas Act. The original extent of the reserve was a mere 22ha (Bird Sanctuary circa 1978).
The staff complement has expanded and currently includes: 6 permanent posts, 1 temporary student post, 18 non-city posts.

Problems / challenges include: water quality, pondweed management, sedimentation, crime (especially in the northern area which creates a stigma on the reserve), under-utilisation, potential threat of the R300 road.

Plans for the future include: a second weed harvester is needed to manage pondweed, improved flushing (future of sewer pipe and rubble weir?), dredging and sedimentation (mouth and also around influent rivers – both require authorisation and significant budget).

10. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting will be held on 18th February 2014.


Annexure – 2 handout pages from Earle Herdien (DWA)

 

 


                                                                                                                                                

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