Liesbeek Maintenance Project Report
By: James Cooper (Project Manager)
The River Team
The project has hired a new staff member, Ntobeko Dyani, who began work at the beginning August. His job description is a team supervisor, but he will only fall into this role after two month of working with the team and getting to know the river and scope of work. He has a degree in Horticulture and environmental management and his supervision of the team will enable the Maintenance Project Manager to spend more time on planning and communication with other City departments and interested parties. The other 3 staff members continue to work 3 days of the week.
The manager conducted the first staff evaluation forms with each team member in the first week of August. This is a basic form that evaluates the productivity and general attitude of each team member and helps to identify strengths and weaknesses. It also helps to get a better idea of where the employee sees himself in the future so that we can look to provide the relevant training and skills development to help them achieve their goals. The evaluations will continue to be done on a quarterly basis before the staff signs their new 3 month contracts.
Friends of the Liesbeek applied for Grant in Aid funding to clean the banks of the Liesbeek in the Observatory area. The application was accepted and we are currently looking to hire two more staff members in order to form another team which will undertake these cleaning activities every Friday.
Fig. The four staff members working hard
Litter trap project
Phindile has chosen to do an assessment of the amount of litter entering the Liesbeek from storm water drain outlets and the amount of litter found along different sections of the River. The team spent a number of afternoons constructing three litter traps. The design is to stitch plastic bottles and shade netting around a length of rope so that the trap can float on top of the water and catch any litter coming down the river. After installing two of the traps we found that a lot of the litter was being forced under the traps by the pressure of the water and that we were only trapping very buoyant objects. To combat this we removed the traps and then attached wire hooks along the length of the shade netting. The team reinstalled the traps and we have had very positive results with the traps catching almost all the litter coming down the river. An audit of all the items is being done on a weekly basis and the results will be compiled in a separate report. Phindile will also provide a report on the water quality at the Cities water testing site near Hartlyvale for the year.
Fig. The team constructing litter traps
Fig. The litter trap in the river at Newlands
Another aspect of Phindiles project is conducting SASS5 surveys along the Liesbeek, from the Arboretum to Mowbray on a monthly basis. Ntobeko joined Phindile for the part of the survey in Newlands to introduce him to SASS and water quality. Phidile will again provide a report in his final project.
Fig. Ntobeko and Phindile conducting a SASS5 survey
Design and preparation of signage
The team has begun construction of the signs they designed last month. We have only been able to construct one of these signs up to this point due to unfavourable weather on a number of occasions. The sign we have constructed is made entirely from bottles and glass found in the river. We played with the idea of creating a mosaic around the wooden plinths; our first attempt was to create a crab around the plinth. This is a really interesting idea and we will continue with the mosaics of many different species on the signs to come.
Fig. Sign base made of bottles and glass crab mosaic
Rehabilitation site behind Newlands Swimming Pool
The team extended the rehabilitation site in the second week of August. The site has been extended into an area where the slopes of the banks are much steeper. The area was first cleared of all alien vegetation, which included Nestershums and Kikuyu grass. Due to the nature of the banks the area had to be stabilised, using natural fallen branches found on the river, creating a step effect. All the remaining plants and bulbs were planted.
During this the original site was intensely weeded and watered and I am happy to report that we recorded 15 Lacanalias in flower. Seven Chrysanthemoides and 5 Pelargoniums also flowered. This site will be continuously monitored and should begin to function as a natural system that is able to seed and produce new individual plants.
Fig. Team stabilising the banks
Fig Team removing alien vegetation and debris from the site
Litter clean ups
The team continued with weekly cleans from Newlands Swimming Pool to the siding in Rondebosch and undertook monthly cleans at Paradise Park, Riverside rd and River Park.
The team has completed weeding all the flowerbeds from Roslyn Park in Rondebosch up to South African Breweries in Newlands.
Cleaning Alfred stream
Most of the leaves have fallen off the alien deciduous trees so team have only had to clear the grid at Alfred stream once every two weeks.
The team have been trimming the paths regularly in Rondebosch due to the sudden spring growth.
There has been no canal maintenance this month.
Alien vegetation removal
The team concentrated on removing Kikuyu grass and Nasturtiums from the rehabilitation site behind Newlands Swimming Pool. The team also removed Balloon Vine, Moth catcher and Ivy during daily activities.
Other City department activities
City parks installed 6 Poop Scoop signs along the Liesbeek trail, from San Souci Rd to Riverside Mall.
Fig. one of the Poop scoop signs on the Liesbeek trail
Roads and Storm water
Roads and storm water department continue to collect our Tuffy bags every Friday or Saturday at sites along the Liesbeek.
Displaced people Unit
There were reports of vagrants in the Observatory area. The team went to investigate and found that the vagrants had already been removed but the mess in the area was still terrible. We spent almost an entire day cleaning and filled 35 bags of rubbish.
Fig. Team with 35 bags of litter in Observatory
The manager has been able to organise herbicide training for the team which will commence before the end of the year. This was possible thanks to our partnership with SABI, Early Detection and Rapid Response, who we worked with in clearing Purple Loosestrife earlier in the year. The idea is that the Liesbeek team will undertake the training and then form a Purple Loosestrife clearing team which will be funded by the Early Detection and Rapid Response Unit, to do follow up clearing of Loosestrife annually. This will give them valuable experience in mapping and alien invasive species control.
James added one article to the website entitled Jewels of the Liesbeek. This is a photo gallery of some of the beautiful sights along the Liesbeek.
The most interesting sighting this month had to be that of two remote controlled sailing boats cruising around in the Liesbeek in Observatory. Two sailboat enthusiasts wanted to ‘test the waters’ as it were to see if the Liesbeek was a suitable site for their purposes. The sailboats had no problem but the Maintenance team will have to clear the water in the area on a regular basis for this activity to be sustainable.
Fig. the two sailboats in a healthy breeze
Fig. a close up of one of the boats