Before and after photos to be added as well as newspaper articles.
After we had rehabilitated the below wetland (Seaview) we had a good idea on how to tackle any future projects. Once we had identified our next project (Cow Corner Wetland) we got all the interested parties together at the wetland in question. Besides Dendro members we had working for wetlands members, the Municipal/Environmental Directorate of the municipality, forestry officials, the local DA councillor and a business representative.
A public meeting was advertised and businesses in the area pledged money and services as support. At the meeting on the 17th February 2012 Lloyd gave a slideshow on the Seaview Wetland which had now been rehabilitated. Carla gave a talk on what was envisaged here and Working for Wetlands gave a slideshow on the importance of wetlands. The 25 people present agreed to start work on the wetland the following week, the 25th February. In the meantime posters were put up at the businesses and fliers dropped off at houses in the area. This format seems to work well so stick to the basics, find a wetland to rehabilitate and get cracking!
After an inspection and visit by the Dendrological Society and other interested parties on the 14th December 2009 to the wetland, it was decided to embark on a rehabilitation project. We decided to start with a 600 square metre area on the Northern edge of the peat bog land which was overgrown with Port Jackson Willow, Inkberry, Spanish Reed and Rooikrantz. Work on clearing the aliens started immediately.
By the beginning of March 2009 all the aliens except for the Spanish reed had been felled. Besides members of the tree society Lloyd employed a labourer who was instrumental in removing large amounts of the alien bush. A chainsaw was also used to cut down the massive Rooikrantz trees.
The biggest challenge was the Spanish Reed which was attacked by volunteers from the Dendrological Society and some extra labourers. It took a whole week but eventually it was cleared. The reed was allowed to grow back from the underground rhizomes and when it reached a metre in height it was sprayed with a growth hormone which causes the reed to grow very rapidly and die. This process was repeated three times and eventually the reed’s underground supplies started to run out. It is an on-going process. The regrowth of the other aliens also had to be removed as the fertile seeds germinated in their thousands. This is probably the most important part as to allow regrowth would make it worse than when you first started.
On the 29th July 2009 members of the tree society got together and planted 50 trees in the cleared area. The trees are doing extremely well as one good thing exotic Acacia trees do is fix Nitrogen into the soil. Add the ready supply of water from the wetland and growth is extremely fast.
Cow Corner Wetland
After the meeting mentioned above in “How to start a Campaign”, 50 people arrived to offer their services with eight chain saws and a four wheel drive tractor! There were also some professional tree fellers whose companies had volunteered their services. Local business support was overwhelming and besides financial help food and drinks were supplied to the volunteers. The place was abuzz with the sound of chain saws and the aliens tumbled down. Members of the tree society were present to ensure that the indigenous trees were not mistaken for aliens, very important! We managed to clear 80% of the aliens and ride away three trucks full of rubbish.
In the weeks in between our next alien removal on the 31st March the Metro rode away truckloads of the felled aliens. Once the last invaders had been removed we were ready to dig holes and plant trees. This took place on the 28th April and two auger hole diggers were supplied and forty large trees that were donated were planted and watered. Poles were put up around the trees and very importantly plastic pipes were cut and put around the stems. If this is not done they succumb very quickly to being ring barked by the grass cutters and their weed eaters.
Regrowth control is on-going and the site should be visited at least once a month. It is much easier to pull out the trees when they are still small. It is very important to appoint a “custodian” who keeps an eye on the project. Some of the money raised from the local businesses was also used to fund a labourer when the workload becomes a bit much for the custodians. After two years most of the alien seed had sprouted and been removed and the site becomes much easier to keep under control.
Parson’s Vlei Wetland
After a request from Working for Wetlands to launch a campaign to clean up the vlei, Carla and Lloyd climbed in. We followed much the same modus operandi with the Parson’s Vlei Wetland at Bridgemead. Site inspections were held, public meetings advertised and held and volunteers again cleared away the aliens and planted trees. Besides the Dendrological Society and Municipality the Bird Society, The Friends of the Baviaanskloof and the Wildlife Society were also enlisted. This beast proved quite an undertaking and four clear ups were needed before the trees had become established and most of the aliens had been removed. The project is on-going at this stage.