Zandvlei Trust

Porter Estate to Soetvlei inspection 27 July 2009.

We all met at Chris Botes SANP office on a very warm mid winters day, forecast 25 degrees C. The idea was to drive up the mountain to a point above Porter Estate where the beginings of a seep has formed after the plantation block was harvested 5 years ago. We would view the area we would walk and drive to follow the natural water flow line down to Soetvlei. John Green, James Forsyth and Brian Redpath believe this is the critical link required to link the Constantiaberg to the Princessvlei for many user groups in the Source - to - Sea project operating as a sub committee of this Forum.

Then we went down to the old Porter Estate reformatory and farmlands to view the various canals and furrows used to divert the water courses across its land for previous agricultural practices. We found a small dam which none us was aware of and had not picked up on the arial photos by us. The base of the dam was leaking / seeping water down the slope into another wetland with a large pond, this drained into a concrete and brick canal and eventually into the natural water course through the planations. Wetland Solutions and Working for Wetlands had done some work clearing trees and invassive vegetation from this water course. The recovery is evident and very welcome.

Then we drove down to the area next to the Stone Church on the border of Uitsig Estate. Here we viewed the canaled water course which flows under Orpen Road and into Soetvlei. The poplar grove is growing in the natural water course.

We then drove to the Maths and Science Institute and inspected the infilled area, where very little has happened about the removal of the illegaly infilled area of Soetvlei. Then on, past the controversial provincial lands transferred to the national government the day before this years national elections. All to do with housing proposals. We end the inspection at the current privately proposed development abutting Soetvlei and james and Brian explained the process which has taken place so far and what some meetings have decided todate with the developers, the various City departments and Ratepayers and interest groups.

A very interesting and worth while exercise as most had not been onto all the sections of land which this water course flows through.

Those participating were Martin Thompson, Candice Haskins, ? Bodenstein from the City, Chris Botes from SANP, John Green (WESSA and Friends of Tokai), Philippa Huntley (WESSA), Marie Abraham (Wetland Solutions),
Brian Ratcliffe (Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts), James Forsyth (Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts), David Muller (Zandvlei Trust) and Gavin Lawson (Zandvlei Trust).

Discussing the areas we will visit on the                Chris Botes explaining where the Granite Fynbos has
inspection trip. We were taken in 4 x 4 vehicles     recovered 5 years after the pine and gum trees were
up the mountain to start.                                      harvested.

Standing at an area where a seep has started.            Looking back at Constantiaberg with the "Waterfront" 
                                                                               in the centre above the plantation line. The seed stock
                                                                               has recovered.

Looking out to follow the line of the natural flow       John Green explaining all the sections of land owned by
area down towards the Soetvlei area.                      SANP, Provincial government, and the various private 
                                                                           land owners.

Looking towards Zandvlei and False Bay. The Hotentots Holland Mountains in the background.

In the centre of the picture is the Dreyersdal waterbody between the M3 freeway and Main Road Tokai / Retreat.

The recovery of the Granite Fynbos after 5 years. There was numerous insect life flying 
and skuttling about, with small reptiles and rodents present while we were standing there. 
Sand Plain Fynbos is immediately below the Granite Fynbos down the slope.

On the Porter Estate looking back up the slope         Looking down the slope with the "new" dam to our left.
where we had
come from.

Chris explaining the width of the corridor at this point.  Some Alpacas live here too with a very large woolly
                                                                               sheep.

They are curious creatures, eyeing us as we       The horizontal green line is the "new" dam wall from below.
drove past.

This small pond in the wetland course has a         John pointing out the run of the canals or furrows.
variety of alien invassive plants in and around it.

One of the canals with a good stream of water.  This is the Porter Estate "Morning Market" adjacent to the
                                                                      canal and wetland area.

A T- junction in the canal at the side of a road.       A very large stone pine tree.

This is the wetland which Working for Wetlands teams     Some recovery of scurpus, restios and Arum
cut down invasives and non wetland type vegetation          in flower. Evidence of porcupines eating the 
                                                                                    arum cormes was present.

Discussing the restoration work and how the present            An unusuall cast iron box in the middle 
trees are too close with no buffer zone.                               of the plantation. No one kew the purpose
                                                                                       or origin.

It even has an opening door with a lock.         On the border of the Uitsig Estate inspecting the furrow and
                                                                  the poplar grove in the natural wetland next to the Stone 
                                                                  Church off Orpen Drive.

At the Maths and Science Institute at the infilled section of the Soetvlei wetland. 
Looking back towards Constntiaberg where we started off earlier in the morning.

At the last stop, the proposed new housing area.         This is called the Berlin Wall in Soetvlei, an illegally built.There is a BMX track illegally built by locals.       wall into the wetland.

Brian Ratcliffe explaning the proposed layout and     James  Forsyth explaining how the different "land
how it would encroach into the wetlands.                  owners" need to carefully consider the impact and
                                                                            functioning of the wetland.

                                                                                                                                               

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