Conservation

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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Report to DWIP on Initiatives to Control Alien Invasive Plants

To date the RNC has focussed almost exclusively on Pompom and Verbena. Other alien invasive pants like Seringa, Lantana, and invasive Cacti are present but have not been addressed in any meaningful way. The RNC controls Pompon and Verbena infestation at the same time, both alien plants have a strong foothold in the conservancy; they are often found together, have overlapping seasons and can be controlled with the same pesticides.

 

To manage the large area we have identified one focal person east and another one west of the Jukskei River. The role of the focal person is to mobilize educate and support local landowners, to distribute herbicides and lend out equipment. We aim to obtain chemicals and equipment from government where possible, alternatively we buy in bulk. We have a cost recovery policy for our distributions but in some years (including the 2010 season) run a loss. We prioritize serving our membership but also support any local resident and where possible interested parties well beyond the borders of the RNC. For the past several years we managed a team of ‘green soldiers’ that concerned members could call on to fight Pompom and Verbena in their area. This is a very resource draining service, we only ever reach a small portion of the, land and it is not clear whether this service can be sustained. We use electronic communication to educate and mobilize our members and the wider community. To this end we use our e-mail distribution list; VeldTalk – our monthly newsletter; an internal website and an external website. Our e-mail distribution list reaches our membership; VeldTalk has a circulation of 1500 subscribers (500 resending in the RNC, all Gauteng conservancies, government officials, professionals working on environmental issues, and interested members of the public); The internal website meets the information meets of our members; whilst the public website (http://www.rhenosterspruit.co.za/) promotes the RNC and environmental issues.

We only have limited success in monitoring what residents do with respect to the control of alien plants on their land and the record keeping of the services we provide has so far been far from perfect. Our pompom response on 2010/11 started later and was less intensive than in previous years. That being said our specific activities in the 2010/11 season included:

  • One mobilization and education e-mail to our membership
  • One article in VeldTalk
  • Bulk purchase and distribution of herbicides to 16 local land owners, some of which also received sprayers and protective equipment on loan.
  • Referrals of 3 land owners to a bulk supplier; one or which (a Gerhardsville resident) purchased the chemicals and organized his own mobilization and distribution meeting.
  • Managing a team of 5 ‘green soldiers’ to clear over 200ha of Veld, cutting in excess of 200 bags of flower heads.
  • Contributing to the DWIP Pompom blitz campaign of 10 December: (a) giving a talk at the assembly of a local primary school; (b) putting up posters at all local shopping centres, many petrol stations and selected businesses and conference centres; (c) distributing pamphlets at a residential estate; (d) Posing in full pompom gear at a busy intersection holding up a bunch of Pompom, speaking to commuters and distributing pamphlets.
  • When logging on to our internal website members are greeted with a large banner dealing with Pompom, two clicks away they find (a) general information on invasive plants; (b) a guide to fighting Pompom, Lantana and Seringa; and (c) a detailed guide on fighting Pompom.
  • One click away from the home-page of our external website visitors find an article on conservation which includes a photo of Pompom and describes the weed as likely to be the greatest threat to grasslands in Gauteng.

Working with Government

As RNC we believe that working with the relevant government departments is important and can be mutually beneficial. We peruse shard objectives, and believe that government can expand its reach by working through conservancies, conservancies can assist government with planning, mobilization, education, innovation and research, government can assist conservancies by enforcing compliance with regulations and by supplying herbicide and equipment and potentially by giving access to Working for Water teams.

In the 2010/11 season our experience with working with government has been mixed.

  • We continued being active participants in the DWIP meeting.
  • Through DWIP we participated in the Pompom blitz campaign of 10 December as described above.
  • We used our network with western Gauteng conservancies to develop a position paper on the roles of conservancies for DWIP.
  • We provided feedback to the draft DWIP strategic Plan.
  • Through DWIP we developed contacts with SANBI that led to us hosting a field visit to survey Euphobia Esula in the area.
  • Through DWIP we met and engaged with some highly committed and supportive officials. This was very encouraging and in turn strengthened our resolve to control alien invasive plants.
  • Through DWIP we received Pompom posters and some pamphlets.
  • Whilst in previous years we had received herbicide assistance through GDARD, in 2010/11 it was decided that we should receive them from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Unfortunately, despite complying with the administrative requirements and traveling to Pretoria for collection we were told that the department cannot support conservancies, but only supports private land owners.

Planning Ahead

As RNC we have recognized that our invasive plants initiatives need to become more strategic and need to be intensified. On 10 May an RNC task team met and developed an action plan that contained the following elements: - We will:

  • Produce a year calendar for Alien Invasive Plant control
  • Produce a minimum of six articles per year on alien invasive plants for VeldtTalk
  • Maintain the two support centres for residents in the west and the east of the RNC
  • Seek ways to utilize the RNC website more effectively for alien plant control.
  • Continue engaging government through DWIP
  • Mobilize government to assist us with compliance enforcement
  • Continue to explore research partnerships.

Contact Information

  • Chairperson: Helen Duigan, (082) 657-2120, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Alien plants portfolio western RNC: Fransa Cole, 082 902 9149, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Alien plants portfolio eastern RNC: Niko Knigge, 079 844 55 47, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy

Report to DWIP on Initiatives to Control Alien Invasive Plants

Pompom Season 2011, 20 May 2011

 

 

The Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy

 

The Renosterspruit Nature Conservancy (RNC) located in western Gauteng spans over 10 000ha of grasslands, bushveld, savannah, rivers, ridges and mountain. The RNC includes Doornrandjes, Hennops River, Hills & Dales (Rietfontein), Kalkheuvel, Rhenosterspruit, Riverside Estates, Roodekrans, Schurveberg and Vlakfontein. The RNC is a voluntary association, financed by its members and by fundraising through organizing educational events. The RNC is governed by an elected committee made up of volunteers who in turn elect the chairperson.

 

Alien Invasive Plants Control

 

To date the RNC has focussed almost exclusively on Pompom and Verbena. Other alien invasive pants like Seringa, Lantana, and invasive Cacti are present but have not been addressed in any meaningful way. The RNC controls Pompon and Verbena infestation at the same time, both alien plants have a strong foothold in the conservancy; they are often found together, have overlapping seasons and can be controlled with the same pesticides.

 

To manage the large area we have identified one focal person east and another one west of the JukskeiRiver. The role of the focal person is to mobilize educate and support local landowners, to distribute herbicides and lend out equipment. We aim to obtain chemicals and equipment from government where possible, alternatively we buy in bulk. We have a cost recovery policy for our distributions but in some years (including the 2010 season) run a loss. We prioritize serving our membership but also support any local resident and where possible interested parties well beyond the borders of the RNC. For the past several years we managed a team of ‘green soldiers’ that concerned members could call on to fight Pompom and Verbena in their area. This is a very resource draining service, we only ever reach a small portion of the, land and it is not clear whether this service can be sustained. We use electronic communication to educate and mobilize our members and the wider community. To this end we use our e-mail distribution list; VeldTalk – our monthly newsletter; an internal website and an external website. Our e-mail distribution list reaches our membership; VeldTalk has a circulation of 1500 subscribers (500 resending in the RNC, all Gauteng conservancies, government officials, professionals working on environmental issues, and interested members of the public); The internal website meets the information meets of our members; whilst the public website (http://www.rhenosterspruit.co.za/) promotes the RNC and environmental issues.

 

We only have limited success in monitoring what residents do with respect to the control of alien plants on their land and the record keeping of the services we provide has so far been far from perfect. Our pompom response on 2010/11 started later and was less intensive than in previous years. That being said our specific activities in the 2010/11 season included:

·One mobilization and education e-mail to our membership

·One article in VeldTalk

·Bulk purchase and distribution of herbicides to 16 local land owners, some of which also received sprayers and protective equipment on loan.

·Referrals of 3 land owners to a bulk supplier; one or which (a Gerhardsville resident) purchased the chemicals and organized his own mobilization and distribution meeting.

·Managing a team of 5 ‘green soldiers’ to clear over 200ha of Veld, cutting in excess of 200 bags of flower heads.

·Contributing to the DWIP Pompom blitz campaign of 10 December: (a) giving a talk at the assembly of a local primary school; (b) putting up posters at all local shopping centres, many petrol stations and selected businesses and conference centres; (c) distributing pamphlets at a residential estate; (d) Posing in full pompom gear at a busy intersection holding up a bunch of Pompom, speaking to commuters and distributing pamphlets.

·When logging on to our internal website members are greeted with a large banner dealing with Pompom, two clicks away they find (a) general information on invasive plants; (b) a guide to fighting Pompom, Lantana and Seringa; and (c) a detailed guide on fighting Pompom.

·One click away from the home-page of our external website visitors find an article on conservation which includes a photo of Pompom and describes the weed as likely to be the greatest threat to grasslands in Gauteng.

 

 

Working with Government

 

As RNC we believe that working with the relevant government departments is important and can be mutually beneficial. We peruse shard objectives, and believe that government can expand its reach by working through conservancies, conservancies can assist government with planning, mobilization, education, innovation and research, government can assist conservancies by enforcing compliance with regulations and by supplying herbicide and equipment and potentially by giving access to Working for Water teams.

 

In the 2010/11 season our experience with working with government has been mixed.

·We continued being active participants in the DWIP meeting.

·Through DWIP we participated in the Pompom blitz campaign of 10 December as described above.

·We used our network with western Gauteng conservancies to develop a position paper on the roles of conservancies for DWIP.

·We provided feedback to the draft DWIP strategic Plan.

·Through DWIP we developed contacts with SANBI that led to us hosting a field visit to survey Euphobia Esula in the area.

·Through DWIP we met and engaged with some highly committed and supportive officials. This was very encouraging and in turn strengthened our resolve to control alien invasive plants.

·Through DWIP we received Pompom posters and some pamphlets.

·Whilst in previous years we had received herbicide assistance through GDARD, in 2010/11 it was decided that we should receive them from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Unfortunately, despite complying with the administrative requirements and traveling to Pretoria for collection we were told that the department cannot support conservancies, but only supports private land owners.

 

Planning Ahead

 

As RNC we have recognized that our invasive plants initiatives need to become more strategic and need to be intensified. On 10 May an RNC task team met and developed an action plan that contained the following elements: - We will:

·Produce a year calendar for Alien Invasive Plant control

·Produce a minimum of six articles per year on alien invasive plants for VeldtTalk

·Maintain the two support centres for residents in the west and the east of the RNC

·Seek ways to utilize the RNC website more effectively for alien plant control.

·Continue engaging government through DWIP

·Mobilize government to assist us with compliance enforcement

·Continue to explore research partnerships.

 

Contact Information

 

·Chairperson: Helen Duigan, (082) 657-2120, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

·Alien plants portfolio western RNC: Fransa Cole, 082 902 9149, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

·Alien plants portfolio eastern RNC: Niko Knigge, 079 844 55 47, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.