LMP Report 2012/03-2012/04

Monthly Report: March – April 2012

Liesbeek Maintenance Project

Jason Mingo

Maintenance of the canal and pathways:

The maintenance team, joined by members of the Kadar Asmal team managed to clear areas of alien plants along the Liesbeek Trail, between Sans Souci and Arbor Road. These alien plants included the White Ginger Lily, Wondering Jew, and Indian shot. The clearing of these areas was done manually and no pesticides were used.

Maintenance of the pathway was required along many sections of the trail, with much of the work consisting of trimming back overgrown vegetation. These sections include, downstream of Belmont Bridge, the rehab site next to Belmont Bridge, trail running next to the NG Church, and the trail stretching along Albion spring.

At the section at Albion spring, many of the bushes were trimmed to allow the lamps to shed more light on the path as it is becoming darker earlier in the evening and lighter later in the morning.

Cleaning the river:

Every Thursday the team did a “clean sweep” of the river from the south side of the N2 to the end of the trail along Sans Souci Road. Our efforts have been greatly enhanced thanks to the purchase of litter pickers, from the Litterman Company, which is a proudly South Africa company. These litter pickers are essentially long, giant tongs that help the team pick up small to medium sized pieces of rubbish with out bending and getting their hands dirty – a potential hazard in certain sections of the river.

Due to the continued presence in the Valkenberg area, clean-ups were also done around the areas where vegetation was cleared. The boat will be used in this area within the first week of May, to allow us to clean next to the banks and in the river more efficiently.

The situation of the railway siding has not progressed further due to the cancellation of the previous community police forum meeting. I will look to bring the issue up in the next meeting in May.

Working at the rehab site, “Newlands Pool”:

Work on site was slow for the majority of March, and included mainly weeding. In April work began on the maintenance of bank stabilization, with the first heavy rains having damaged some sections of the banks that have not been fully planted. Cut stumps from felled trees from the Valkenberg area were used to help with stabilizing the bank, species that were cut included weeping willows, grey poplars and cestrum.

Planting will be happening towards the end of April, with more information on planting discussed below.

Planting along the river:

Valkenberg:

The team was able to finish clearing the area along the bank that was to be re-planted. A team from the Working for Wetlands group began planting on the 3rd April and finished on the 19th April. The plants they were planting were mainly low growing shrubs and succulents (e.g. sour fig, restios, Cyprus), with a few bigger shrubs (wild dagga – Leonotis leonurus) interspersed between them, to add a bit more structure and variation to the area. Approximately over 2000 plants were planted in this area, all of them small seedling plants. We are still waiting for a full species list from the Working for Wetlands group.

The team has maintained this area through weeding and watering the plants on a daily basis, resulting in a low die-off and hopefully we can see this area blossom over the winter months.

Through much orchestration and pleading, the City has delivered a small truck load of wood mulch that we have distributed on approximately a third of the planted area, and we are hoping to receive more in the near future.

Plants from Cllr Iversen ward allocation:

A number of species of plants were purchased using Cllr Iversen’s ward allocation for alien clearing along the Liesbeek River. As a result we have a approximately 20 species of low to tall growing shrubs and succulents as well as 10 species of trees to be planted along the river in Cllr Iversen’s ward which extends from Paradise Road to Alma Road in Rondebosch. A full detailed species list will be available once confirmation has been made on the species that have arrived.

The majority of these plants will be planted at the rehab site, with the minority being spread next to canalized sections of the river. Through the ward allocation fertilisers, compost and bone meal were also purchased to ensure the best chance for the plants to survive along the river.

Alien Clearing:

With the increased numbers added to our team through the addition of the Kadar Asmal project, we have been able to radically increase our efforts and scope of clearing out areas of alien vegetation. This is clearly evident along the river from the Bishopscourt Village Garden to the junction between Riverside Road and Kirstenbosch Drive, where once vast areas of White Ginger Lily thrived along the river, and now we are surely and efficiently removing them along this section of the river. The presence of this species has been almost totally removed in and around the Bishopscourt Village Garden, and we have cleared approximately 200m2 in a small flood-plain, just before the junction at the aforementioned roads. This should aid in water flow come the heavy winter rains, by cutting and removing the ginger the water will be able to flow into this flood plain and not be directed into the bank which has been undercut in the past floods. No herbicide treatments were used, only physical removal of the plant and all its roots. All thanks must go to our team and the Kadar Asmal team for their hard work in successfully clearing these areas. Continuation of aline removal in this section will commence at the end of April and beginning of May.

While numerous trees were removed by the City at Valkenberg, a number of Cestrum trees were left behind. Ntobeko dealt with these trees by using the cut-stump method with 3% Mamba solution.

General:

–          Thanks to the article published in ObsLife at the beginning of April, a resident of the area, Valerie Elder, has donated 10x30dm3 bags of compost. We have already begun to use the compost for the planting which began on the 23rd April.

–          Rawson Properties has donated some of its resources to clean the slip way on the side of Belmont Bridge. Cllr Iversen is very keen on clearing up this area and neatening up the trail.

–          Stark Ayres and Kirstenbosch National Gardens are willing to donate us plants in May. I have sent them our species lists and they will let us know closer to the time what they can donate. Ntobeko will visit the National Garden to remove saplings of some of the indigenous trees to plant along the river.

–          Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a company providing data, news and analytics to the renewable energy sector, will be joining the team on the 25th April to help plant trees acquired from the SANParks Nursery.

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