30 January, 2008

Wetlands Poster

Click on the poster to display a larger image

This poster has been produced for learners - 1000 have been printed.
800 are being distributed via the City of Cape Town's YES schools programme and
200 via WCWF and WESSA.



This year our aim is to get the wetlands message to as wide an audience as possible for world wetlands day. We are targeting 3 main groups: decision makers (in business and gov), the general public and learners. With the help of many stakeholders, particularly WESSA, the City of Cape Town and Simonsvlei Wines, the Forum is doing the following:

Advert to address the general public to raise awareness:
The Forum is placing an advert in the Weekend Argus and Die Burger. Both newspapers will carry editorial on wetlands, how important they are to the environment and people and the threats they face.

Message to decision makers:
A “Happy Wetlands Day” e-card is being sent to decision makers in government, local municipalities and business. The message encourages thought about the decisions made in the course of business, development and planning.

Material for learners:
1000 of the Ramsar posters with a mini poster produced by the Forum are being put up in schools, community notice boards and at Universities.

The Forum has created its own blog: www.wetlandsforum.blogspot.com



In celebration of World Wetlands Day the Friends of the Liesbeek invite you to join them on a walk and talk around the wetlands of the lower Liesbeek. On Friday 1 February meet at 6pm on the Durban Road Bridge, Mowbray. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a jersey. Dogs with poop scoops welcome. No charge.

Liz or Dave



The programme below will take place at Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Fisherman's Walk Road, Zeekoevlei. Dates: 4 and 8 Feb 08

The target group for World Wetlands day is Grade 4-7. Learners can bring a snack and a drink with for a short break after the walk.

The itinerary for the visit:
* Introduction to Rondevlei
* A walk along the pathway using bird identification charts to identify birds at the bird hides
* Identification of animal spoor along the pathway
- Short interval
* Discussions about the animals and plants associated with the wetland, specifically at Rondevlei.
* Discussion about the importance of Wetlands in nature
* Discussion about it’s importance to humans.
* Threats to Wetlands and how to help.
* Walk through the museum.

Bookings are essential:
Bronwen Foster
Tel.: 021 706 2404,
Email: Bronwen.Foster@capetown.gov.za



Zandvlei Trust members will be assisting the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve staff from 28/01/2008 to 08/02/2008 on the week days, when the Metrorail Edutrain will be bringing between 80 and 100 learners per day to Zandvlei to learn about the importance of Wetlands, celebrating World Wetlands Day.

Selected schools (by the Edutrain staff) from across the Cape Flats from as far as Tulbach, Wellington, Stellenbosch come to Zandvlei. The unique aspect of Zandvlei is that it is the only Reserve within walking distance to a railway station (public transport) in the Metropole.

Contact person:
Gavin Lawson
phone / fax 27 021 705 5224
email glawson@xsinet.co.za



The Hout Bay Heritage Trust has initiated and sourced funding for three wetland restoration projects for WWD08:

1) Linking Coastal Wetlands

Aim: To establish a corridor linking two rehabilitated wetlands within the Coastal zone of Hout Bay.
Dates: January - August 2008

2) Kronendal Project: Alien Removal in Hout Bay Wetland

Aim: To ringbark and poison the Gray poplar trees invading the western portion of the Hout Bay Wetland

3) Good Hope Sub-Council Ward Project: Cleaning up of Hout Bay Wetland

Aim: Clearing rubble adjacent to wetlands, maintaining the board walk and cutting of alien Spanish reeds.

Contact person:
Justin O’Riain
Tel: 021 6503645



Rotating poster display that goes from business to business in the light industrial area along the Keysers River to raise awareness and encourage participation in the Keyers river restoration project. Also aims to raise general awareness about wetlands.

Contact Person:
Mandy Noffke
021 7856871



Glencain Education and Environment Support Enthusiasts

Els River clean up, talk and walk. Date: 2nd Feb 08

* 09h00 meet outside the Sothern Right Hotel. Work Party to clean up the triangle of public land & the Els River in front of the Southern Right Hotel, Glen Road, Glencairn.
* 11h00 Refreshments at the Southern Right Hotel
* 11.45 Paul Jaques will give a presentation about the old water mill. Presentation in Southern Right Hotel.
- Break for Lunch - At the hotel, or take a picnic to the ruins of the Water Mill or have a well earned rest at home
* 16h00 Meet at the Water Mill. Paul will talk us through the ruins.

Then, those who are energetic will walk down the Els River to the Sea
* 17h30 Re-Assemble at the Southern Right Hotel for Drinks and Snacks

A big “Thank you” to the Southern Right Hotel

Contact person:
Cilla Bromley
021 782 6400
e-mail: cilla@bromley.co.za



Table Mountain National Park staff will lead an interactive wetlands walk and talk for grade 6 and 7 learners from Ukhanyo Primary School at the Noordhoek Wetlands bordering Masiphumelele (approx 60 learners).

This interpretive walk is on the 01 February 2008. After the walk, the learners will be invited to apply what they have learnt to enter a 'Ranger Challenge' competition: In groups of five they must pretend that they are Rangers and either write what about what they will/should do to
look after an indicated piece of the wetland, or draw a plan/map/picture that shows what they will do. The best group wins either a hiking trip to sleep on Table Mountain (People's Trail) or an overnight trip to West Coast National Park.

The awareness drive is ongoing in that a smaller group of interested learners will be helped by a teacher from the school and the People and Conservation Officer from the Park to form an eco-club which can 'adopt' a piece of the wetland close to Masiphumelele, which they will regularly visit with the rangers in the section to assist in its maintenance during the course of the year.

Future plans include that learners who remain inspired after the year and move up to the High School can be helped to start an eco-club at this school, and/or can join the new TMNP Youth Honorary Rangers program that is due to start up next year.

Contact person:
Crecilda van den Berg, Section Ranger for the Noordhoek Wetlands:
021 789 2456, or

Leighan Mossop, Senior Section Ranger for the Central Section of TMNP:
021 789 2457, or

Luyanda Lombo, People and Conservation Officer in TMNP:
021 789 2458


Cape Nature Porterville Area
Friday 1 Feb 08

Cape Nature guided tour of Jackalsvlei and Verlorenvlei wetlands for WfWetlands contractors. A talk about the importance of wetlands will be presented.

Heidi Nieuwoudt
022 9312900




Our next Co-ordinated Water Bird Count (CWAC) at the Botriviervlei and Kleinmond Estuary is due on Saturday, 2 February 2008. This coincides with World Wetlands Day, and what better way to contribute to the management of a healthy wetland!

We start at 07h00. The duration per section varies, but the last team usually finishes by not later than 12h00. We usually have a tea break during the count and a light lunch before we go home. Each person is responsible for bringing his/her own eats and drinks. Do remember that it is essential that everybody takes enough water or other liquid refreshments as it might be a very hot day. Also remember your sunscreen, hat and windbreaker, and, of course, your binoculars!

Mariana Delport
tel: 021 919 2282 or md@cape-ecotrous.co.za



The West Coast Field Studies Centre is proud to launch the Paarden Eiland Wetland Rehabilitation Project on the 02 February 2008, proudly sponsored by Totalgaz Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. and Total Corporate Foundation for Biodiversity and the Sea.

Details of the launch:

Place: Brooklyn Chest Hospital
Time: To start at 10:00 am
Theme: Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People

A group of learners has been invited to attend the launch. The learners will partake in various educational activities to learn more about the Paarden Eiland Wetland and the WCFSCs involvement in conserving and rehabilitating the wetland.

Contact person:
Jennifer van Niekerk,
tel (021) 511 2384 or 084 626 7404

Wetland information from DWAF Perspective

DWAF is the South African national Department of Water Affairs and Forestry

Compiled by Ms Nyamande T.B

The National Water Act (NWA), 1998 (Act 36 of 1998), regards the Minister of DWAF1 as the public trustee of the nation's water resources and therefore acknowledges the Department's overall responsibility for and authority over the nation's water resources.

The ultimate aim of integrated water resource management is to achieve the sustainable use of water for the benefit of all users now and in the future. Recognising this, it is important to note that the protection of the water resource is imperative to ensure sustainability of the nation's water resources in the interests of all water users.

a. Definitions (NWA, 1998)

i) Water resource includes a watercourse, surface water, estuary, or aquifer;

ii) Watercourse means 
  • (a) a river or spring;
  • (b) a natural channel in which water flows regularly or intermittently;
  • (c) a wetland, lake or dam into which, or from which, water flows; and
  • (d) any collection of water which the Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, declare to be a watercourse,
and a reference to a watercourse includes, where relevant, its bed and banks;

iii) Wetland means land which is transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface, or the land is periodically covered with shallow water, and which land in normal circumstances supports or would support vegetation typically adapted to life in saturated soil.

b. Uses of water

According to s.21 of the NWA, water uses include consumptive & non-consumptive uses.

Consumptive uses are:

(a) taking,
(b) storing,
(c) Impeding or diverting the flow r
(d) Engaging in streamflow reduction activity (SFRA);
(e) Engaging in Controlled activities

non-consumptive components are

(f) discharging waste or wastewater into a water resource or
(g) on land by irrigation,
(h) disposing of heated water,
(i) altering the bed and banks of water courses,
(j) removing underground water by mining, and
(k) for recreational purposes (NWA 1998).

Water Use Authorisations:

Water authorisations are regulatory tools and strategies to address equity, maintain sustainability and access of water for different water uses, without compromising the integrity of the water resource. The following are authorization, which are issued by DWAF:

• Existing Lawful Water use,
• General Authorisation,
• ad hoc licences, and Compulsory licensing),

Before issuing a licence, among other relevant factors, the Reserve needs to be considered.

The Reserve means that quantity and quality of water required –

• to satisfy basic human needs by securing basic water supply, as prescribed under the Water Services Act, 1997 (Act No. 108 of 1997) for now or future, taking water from, or being supplied from the relevant water resources; and

• to protect aquatic ecosystems - to secure ecologically sustainable development and use of the relevant water resources (NWA 1998).

NB: DWAF Wetland Task Group (DWTG), through the mandate of DWAF national office is compiling a Position Paper to serve as implementation requirements for various DWAF Directorates and all Regions and CMAs.


National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998)

City’s Youth Environmental School (YES) hosts Wetlands Awareness Programme

23 January 2008

The City of Cape Town’s Youth Environmental School (YES), co-ordinated by the Environmental Resource Management Department, will be hosting a Wetlands Awareness Programme from 28 January to 8 February.

The theme for World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2008, is Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People.

World Wetlands Day (WWD) was first celebrated in 1997, in celebration of the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Each year government agencies, non-governmental organisations and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits.

During World Wetlands Day this year, a few key topics that exemplify both the direct, positive effects on human health of maintaining healthy wetlands – such as the provision of food, clean water, pharmaceutical products etc. – and the direct negative effects of mismanaging wetlands that result in the impairment of our health and even the loss of life – such as through the effects of water-related diseases, burning peatlands, floods, and water pollution – will be highlighted.

The programme aims is to emphasise that the strong relationship between healthy functioning wetland ecosystems and human health underlines the importance of management strategies that support both the health of wetland ecosystems and the health of humans. And that the costs of poor management can be high. Wetland-related diseases, for example, claim the lives of more than 3 million people every year and bring suffering to many more.

The City will be supporting World Wetlands Day by hosting a Wetlands Awareness Programme in partnership with Metrorail’s Edutrain, the Western Cape Education Department’s Centre for Conservation Education, the Primary Science Programme (PSP), CapeNature and Century City Property Owners’ Association. The broader programme will comprise of the following:

Edutrain Programme:
Learners from the Urban Renewal areas of Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha will be travelling on the Edutrain to Zandvlei Wetlands Reserve where they will be learning and experiencing more about the importance of wetlands.

City of Cape Town Nature Reserves Programme:
Wetland education programmes will be running on several of the City’s Nature Reserves.

Edith Stephens Wetland Park Schools Wetlands Book Launch:
This guide to environmental activities for learners called: Learning about environment at the Edith Stephens Wetland Park for Grades 4 to 9 will be launched on 1 Feb at Edith Stephens Wetland Park. Learners will also use some of the activities in the book during their lesson on the day.

Delft Wetlands Programme:
CapeNature will be taking learners from Delft to the wetlands in their area to learn about the importance of wetlands and their uses and why we must conserve them.

Centre for Conservation Education (CCE) Programme:
Learners will be having lesson on the role of frogs in wetlands at the CCE.

Intaka Island Century City Wetlands Programme:
Learners will have a lesson and guided tour of the Intake Island Wetlands. Intaka, meaning ‘bird’ in Xhosa, is a unique example of nature conservation and property development co-existing in harmony and for mutual benefit.

TEL: 021 400-2201 FAX: 021 957 0023

CELL: 084 629 9305

021 552 6889

Minutes of the Wetlands Forum - 14 November 2008

The minutes of the Wetlands Forum of 14 November 2008 can be uploaded here


By Pat Reavell

In the S.W. Cape there are coastal fresh and brackish lagoons, as well as river systems all with some degree of protection. Small permanent dams have been formed recently by European settlers and contain a restricted aquatic invertebrate fauna, mainly of eurytopic and widely distributed species found elsewhere in cooler parts of South Africa.

However the natural seasonal winter pools , which dry up during the Mediterranean summer, contain many unique Western Cape endemics, mainly invertebrates such as; microcrustacea, water mites, a few water bugs, and many water beetle species endemic to this afromediterranean biome. These seasonal surface waters have lower temperatures than the permanent pools, and are covered by land plants during the dry season.

During the rainy season inundated vegetation triggers a microbial food base for a rapid succession of aquatic invertebrates many confined to these pools. The predatory backswimmer Notonecta lactitans and predatory diving beetles; Rhantus circurius, Hydropeplus trimaculatus, Primospes suturalis, Darwinhydrus solidus, Copelatus platynotus, and Andex insignis are characteristic . The lesser known water scavenger beetles or hydrophilidae contain even more species than the aforementioned Dytiscidae, and may contain many endemic species.

A range of flowering plants are confined to these pools, including the culturally important water hawthorn or waterblometjie. During the dry summer these plants either die back to underground storage organs, or become terrestrial.

A few frogs such as the cape river frog and clicking stream frog breed here and form food for various water birds.

From this brief report it should be clear that the protection of these pools is important. The major problem with permanent man made dams is that they contain predatory and disruptive alien fish such as bass, carp, and Mozambique kurper. Apart from changing the water clarity, the two bass species are voracious predators on most invertebrates. In the Helderberg Basin, there are some winter pools in Victoria flats an area which may be zoned for housing. Also AECI Heartlands property, and Lourens river floodplain have a few excellent winter pools. Sadly due to rapid housing expansion, many of the remaining pools are being lost thus a protection policy should be implemented for the remaining pools and ditches.