Committee Feedback

For up-to-date news, activities and calendar of events please visit www.crocodileriverreserve.co.za  

This biodiversity stewardship project aims to provide formal conservation protection for the area of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, and beyond. 

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Chairman's Report 2008

It is 21 years since the forerunner of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy – Kareebosrand - was created in 1987 – the first conservancy in what is now Gauteng.  

Achievements of the 2008 year

Conservation

Conservation calendar:  One of the priorities stated at the 2007 AGM in November was to initiate regular environmental activities during 2008.  More than 15 walks, talks and courses involving trees, bats, leopards, snakes, stone circles, birds, organic farming, recycling, grasses, history, scorpions, spiders and other fascinating goggas have taken place or been booked into next year already.  See monthly e-newsletter, VeldTalk.
Veld and land management:
Alien eradication – hundreds of hectares treated for Pom-pom by Lynne Clarke and her teams.  On the “east” landowners cleared their own properties.
Wetland rehabilitation and erosion:  Assistance from Gauteng conservation authorities.
Working on Fire:  Meetings have taken place, exploring the possibility of a team of 25 stationed on Northern Farm
Exploring Stewardship and Protected Areas agreements:   RNC has initiated meetings with Gauteng conservation authorities and conservancies to explore more protected status for conservancies in terms of national biodiversity stewardship legislation and targets.
Egoli Granite Grassland:   This critically endangered biome is found in Hills and Dales and Doornrandje.   Gauteng conservation authority is investigating using large portions of these grasslands, which would then be managed as nature reserve, as offsets for the losses of similar grassland areas elsewhere now being destroyed by developments.
Environmental Management Frameworks (EMFs).  These are “studies of the environmental attributes of an area to guide environmental decision-making”.  Three EMFs are happening in our area (Ward 48)  -  commissioned by Tshwane, the Gauteng conservation authority (GDACE) and the Cradle of Humankind which is proposing most of the RNC as its buffer.

Lobbying

Official tour.  This is an annual event to make officials aware of the attributes of the RNC.  Twenty officials from Gauteng, Tshwane, Mogale, the Cradle and DWAF (Water Affairs) were taken on a day’s tour of the RNC in May.
Setting up and/or attending meetings with Tshwane and provincial authorities to ensure the RNC stays informed about policies, guidelines and decisions impacting on the RNC.
Expanding the RNC membership.   Welcome to new members: the  Henrys (DR), Alpha Conference Centre (KH), al Fiume/River Place, Werner Begere and Janet Webber (Hennops),  Alan Kennedy and partners (DR), the Dawsons (Hennops) and the Chapmans (RSE).

Communication


VeldTalk is sent monthly to 350 RNC residents plus 200 officials and other conservancies.
Website:  Set up and maintained by Mercia Komen.  www.rnc.za.net and www.rhenosterspruit.co.za.
Public meetings:  Authorities are using the RNC to host meetings and to disseminate information.  (The Tshwane EMF feedback meeting:  Saturday 2 August in Hills and Dales.)

Marketing and promotion

Conservation Calendar:  The events are highlighted in VeldTalk and on radio stations’ diaries.
AA Magaliesberg Map:  The RNC appears prominently on this map (80 000 copies, 2008).
Mail&Guardian Greening the Future:  The RNC was short-listed for a merit award.
Presentations  Talk to Wits students by invitation; guest speaker at Gauteng conservancies.
Guests:  Hosted conservancy delegates from Western Cape, North-West and Kenya.

Development Monitoring

The RNC is registered as an Interested & Affected Party (IAP) for all development applications in and adjacent to the RNC.  Since 2004, 20 applications.  For each, comments or objections are submitted and public meetings and Tribunal hearings are attended.

Fund-raising

The purpose of the events organised by the RNC committee is two-fold:  conservation awareness and fund-raising.  A good example was the Bat Evening (Nigel Fernsby) which netted R1 200.  We hope the coming Ride the Rhenoster will be an excellent fund-raiser.

General

Negotiations are underway to incorporate Diepsloot Nature Reserve (Northern Farm) into RNC.
The court case between Wraypex (developer of Blair Atholl) and members of the RNC is scheduled for 14 – 24 April 2009.  The summonses against the RNC total R210 million.  

Results of activities in 2008 year

Conservation activities

An ever-increasing awareness of the RNC and its value to a larger area of Gauteng
fund-raising for the RNC
extending environmental education to a greater circle
providing opportunities for RNC members and residents to learn about their unique area and conservation issues in interesting and entertaining ways
showing responsible environmental stewardship.

Communication

Keeping members informed of events within the RNC
promoting the RNC to many outside people and organisations
growing a base of support within and beyond the area
positioning the RNC as a vibrant and proactive region and destination.

Lobbying

Higher profile among officials and government agencies
ability to give input into future planning and the character of this area
informed residents
positioning the RNC as a proactive region that is practising proper stewardship
using the special attributes of the RNC to convince officials and government agencies of the value of maintaining the area as open space
gaining allies among officials and government agencies in the campaign to keep the area as a conservation zone
growing membership and thus increased support for, and involvement in, community-based conservation.

Marketing / Promotion

Building a position for the RNC as a relevant environmental institution with valuable experience

Development monitoring

A position for RNC in the development community and government agencies as a force within conservation and a voice for development that is compatible with a unique greenbelt area
a tough proponent of legal development approaches and processes.

Helen Duigan, Chairman  -  082 657 2120:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                27 July 08