Draft minutes for the Meeting on 25 November 2013.
CAPE Estuaries Programme: Implementation of the Estuary Management Plan (EMP) for the Zandvlei Estuary, Muizenberg, Cape Town.
Minutes of the 10th Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF): 13:30, 25th November, 2013, Zandvlei Sports Club / Yacht Club. ZEMF 10 Minutes ver A 20131126.
Summary of follow-up actions.
1. Welcome and introductions
Participants were welcomed to the meeting by Sandra Fowkes, the Chair of the Forum. A list of participants can be found at Annex 1 and a copy of the Agenda at Annex 2.
Apologies were received from Councillor D’Alton, Candice Haskins, Garnet Prince, Muzzamiel Gamieldien, Phumla Ketani-Poort, and Ken Findlay.
Following a request from the Chair for good news, JG reported that freshwater mullet had been found in the most recent fish treks and, in general, there are large numbers of small fish in the estuary.
2. Adoption of the Minutes of the 8th ZEMF Meeting
The minutes of ZEMF 9 were adopted with one minor change. Adoption was proposed by GL, seconded by DW.
3. Matters arising from the Minutes of the 9th ZEMF Meeting.
3.1 Sewage Spills
Although the DEA & DP officials were not present, AT of the Water and Sanitation Branch reported that as far as he was aware, no meeting had been arranged. It was agreed that LJ would follow up with DEA & DP.
JG reported that there had been another sewage spill in the Sand River canal area earlier that day, but that it was not expected to have a significant impact.
SF then reported that at a recent meeting (October, 2013) of the Sand River Catchment Management Forum, it had been reported that Pollsmoor was discharging water with very high levels of E.coli into the Westlake River (in the millions of counts/100ml). There is concern that these high levels might be impacting on Zandvlei, even though it is a long way down river. This seems to be supported by the fact that the most recent monitoring results for the past few years do show an increase in E.coli levels at the north end of the estuary. Although it was unclear exactly what the nature of sewage treatment facilities are at Pollsmoor – and why there should be any discharge into the river - it was suggested that it could be due to lack of proper maintenance which is a general problem at the prison. However, it was also reported that DWA is putting pressure on PWD to correct the situation.
There was a brief discussion on the possibility of putting containment/retention dams around pump stations to prevent spills from reaching the estuary. AT indicated that containment on the surface was likely to lead to back-ups within the sewers with consequent overflows further up the line. AT also indicated that a lot of the problems arose as a result of people disposing of solid objects and rags into the sewer system.
3.2 Support for the Forum
SF reported that although there were no commitments in terms of financial support as yet, in future, arrangements and minutes for meetings of the Forum would be made by the new member of the Reserve staff. LJ agreed to provide a summary of all the relevant information.
3.3 Status of Contingency Plan
DG did not attend so this item was held over until the next meeting.
4. Mouth Management / Siltation
At the previous meeting (ZEMF 9) it was agreed that, as outlined in the paper by Andy Killick, siltation at the mouth was becoming a major issue and that:
What then transpired was that, following attempts to make contact with Piet Huizinga, SF, in collaboration with MT, convened a small workshop on the 11th of November at the SANParks Research Centre. DW reported back on the outcomes of that workshop as follows:
Following a presentation by Piet Huizinga on the mouth dynamics of the estuary, and the impacts thereon of both the weir and the canalisation of the mouth, a number of possible solutions were put forward for discussion. These included:
Following discussion, the following were amongst the steps agreed:
1. The weir will be lowered by another 10-20 cms during the next winter season on a trial basis (it is currently at 0.6m AMSL) with monitoring aimed at evaluating potential impacts;
2. The possibility of including periodic dredging of the mouth into the mouth management protocol and/or list of pre-approved maintenance activities by Catchment Management must be explored with DEA & DP.
3. Should periodic dredging of the channel be approved for inclusion as a maintenance activity (and thus exempt from an EIA), then such dredging should be re-instituted as soon as possible.
4. An EIA to explore longer-term solutions for mouth management should be initiated as soon as possible. Such an EIA should include:
Given the scope of the EIA, consideration should be given to undertaking it as a joint initiative of a number of City departments (ERMD, CSRM and Water and Sanitation). Mechanisms to facilitate this should be explored with the HODs.
MT then reported that he had already initiated:
The subsequent discussion included the following points:
5. Pondweed Management
5.1 Planning for 2014
JG reported that he had been in contact with the IYC and obtained the dates of all events scheduled for 2014. In addition, he had looked at the tides and got tentative dates for mouth breachings. Based on this information, he had compiled a draft harvesting programme for 2014 and had been able to highlight events which might clash with spring tides/mouth breachings. Although dates for canoeing events had not yet been obtained, water levels are not as critical in this case.
There was then some discussion as to whether there was a need for rigid adherence to the schedule. It was agreed that although the schedule should not be adjusted in an ad hoc manner, whether harvesting should actually take place on the scheduled dates will depend on other criteria – for example, the prevalence of pondweed. These criteria need to be further developed and JG will take the lead on this.
JG was congratulated on his efforts to plan for 2014 and thereby implement the recommendations of the TWG.
5.2 Adoption of Recommendations of Pondweed TWG
The final recommendations of the TWG – circulated as Annex 3 to the minutes of ZEMF 9 – were adopted unanimously.
6. Any Other Business
6.1 Report-back on Provincial Estuaries Workshop
SF reported on a workshop which was convened on the 20th November by the new Chief Director: Sustainability of DEA & DP.
EMF’s are not mandated by law. As a consequence, municipalities regard them as an “unfunded mandate” and there is no or very little budget available to support them.
The Province is thus looking for “strong partnerships “– especially with civil society -around estuaries management. It is clear that civil society provide the eyes and ears on the ground. But the reality is that there is a cost to civil society to enable them to participate in the Forums and contribute to management. There is a real issue on how funding to run the EMFs will be provided.
Another issue has been that in some cases, where EMF members have not been happy with the outcome/s of EMF deliberations, they have circumvented these structures and made complaints to eg politicians/ ward councilors. It is key that the politicians be encouraged to refer any such complaints back to the Forum.
At the conclusion of the workshop the following requests were put to the Province:
1. Hold gathering of EMF chairs
Role of ZEMF
The Zandvlei Reserve Manager stated that the support provided by ZEMF has taken a weight off the shoulders of the Zandvlei Manager and staff.
6.2 Report on IAS Management Plan and EMP Update
Invasive Species Management Plan
LJ reported that the Invasive Species Management Plan – which covers the entire reserve – had been completed about two months ago. The plan provides an overview of the invasive species in the Reserve and identifies priorities based on the following criteria:
The priorities include high risk areas, hot spots and species. Most of the management actions are to be implemented by the Invasive Species Unit (ISU) of the and/or Reserve Manager, with support from SANBI and CapeNature. There are, however, some aspects where community involvement is envisaged. These include:
1. Prevention – boat cleaning (Zandvlei Sports Club)
2. Early detection/monitoring
3. Control – fishing days/competitions targeting aliens – fishing clubs
4. Education & awareness-raising – pet trade, nurseries, fishermen.
Status of EMP Updating process
The updated EMP is expected to be completed within the next few weeks. It identifies the following Priority Issues/Actions for the period 2014 – 2018:
Most of the priority issues are already addressed in supplementary plans – or will be in future. Thus the EMP itself includes just a summary of the proposed actions, while the supplementary plans which provide more detail will be attached as Annexes.
A question was raised about the use of the intermediate contact recreation water quality standard (1000 E.coli counts/100ml) for Zandvlei rather than the direct contact recreation standard (0 – 130 counts/100ml) given that people do seem to swim in the estuary on a regular basis. It was suggested that since the water quality seldom achieves the latter, consideration should be given to erecting permanent health warnings.
6.3 Vlei By-law
Zandvlei stakeholder meetings on the draft by-law were held in October and the feedback received was generally positive. There will be a second, more formal comment period at a later date.
6.4 Objectives and Planning of Forum Meetings for 2014
After some discussion it was agreed that Forum meetings should take place on a quarterly basis and should preferably be timed to link into the meetings of the Provincial Coastal Committee (the next one being on the 20th February). Technical Working Groups – such as the Pondweed TWG – could meet in between the Forum meetings as required to deal with specific issues. DW agreed to take over as Chair of the TWG on Pondweed (following KF’s resignation at the previous meeting).
Forum meetings were scheduled for 5th February, 7th May, 6th August and 12th November.
Issues proposed to be addressed during 2014 include:
The AGM will be held on the evening of Thursday, 13th March, 2014.
6.6 Law Enforcement
JG reported that the new Marine and Coastal Unit set up by Arne Purves was finding its feet and had had a number of successful operations in the area recently.
The meeting closed at 15:50.
List of Attendees at the 9th Meeting of the ZEMF on 28th August 2013.
CAPE Estuaries Programme: Facilitation of the Estuary Management Plan (EMP) for the Zandvlei Estuary, Muizenberg, Cape Town
10th Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF)
List of Commonly Used Acronyms