GOURITZ E-NEWS

2017/2 

The GCBR worked tirelessly for almost the entire year on the submission of proposals for the funding of eight projects to be implemented over a 3 – 4 year period.  The funding was approved by DOB Ecology on 29 November 2017 and implementation will commence from early 2018.

In addition to the crucial volunteer effort that has brought us thus far, the GCBR is now in a position to appoint a small core team on a full time basis as well as project-related staff and service providers. These people will support and implement an expanding portfolio of catalytic field projects, spanning ecosystem restoration of river catchments, wetlands, ecological corridors, and environmental education - to name but a few.  The Board, as presented at the November Forum meeting, will continue to provide oversight, strategic guidance and connections to relevant networks.  We also plan to reinvigorate and formalise the advisory committee, which will comprise of volunteers who bring experience, expertise, stakeholder interests and advice on proposals/issues/matters of concern.

The highly successful open Forum/Members format will remain intact.

The three core positions being recruited now are:

Chief Executive: reporting to the board, responsible for overall leadership, coordination and integration of project efforts/results, public and peer-group representation, operational accountability.

Programme Development Specialist: reporting to Chief Executive, responsible for project development, grant prospecting, innovation and acquisition and quality of reporting.

Learning and Evaluation Specialist: reporting to the Chief Executive, holds responsibility for drawing and communicating lessons from GCBR’s projects which have learning investments linked to an evaluation system.

Detailed information about the GCBR, about the three positions and about the process for submitting applications can be found at www.gouritz.com and shall be available from 18 December 2017.  The closing date for submission of applications is Monday 15th January 2018.

Enjoy the reading of the last newsletter for 2017 and may you all have a pleasant and blessed festive season and a deserved break.  Drive carefully and remember: Save Water!

WF Botha

Chairperson

News from our projects

Jobs for Carbon

#Spekkies leaping ahead

#Spekkies leaping ahead

12/7/17
#spekkies has had a very successful few months, both in terms of sales and exposure for the product and the project. Andre Britz and Luami Zondagh were interviewed on the Kyknet television show “Grootplaas” regarding the Jobs for Carbon and #spekkies projects. To watch the interviews follow the link at the bottom of the home page. Both Andre and Luami were also interviewed by Radio Sonder Grense (RSG: [Luami](https://agriorbit.com/radio-bewaringsprojek-vir-spekbome/); [Andre](https://agriorbit.com/radio-rehabilitasie-projek-vir-spekbome/)). The successful knowledge-sharing and public promotional event “For the Love of Spekboom” was held at the Green Shed in Wilderness in October. The event received much positive feedback, and the format is planned to be duplicated in other regions across the GCBR in the future. The event was organized due to popular demand for a demonstration about the value and uses of spekboom. The GCBR took the opportunity to not only share knowledge regarding spekboom, but also to inform the attendees about the GCBR and its various projects (with a focus on the Jobs for Carbon restoration program), as well as creating awareness about the extremely harmful effects of plastics in the natural environment, and demonstrating practical ideas to change harmful plastic-promoting habits.   Download the full report below.
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Progress with Jobs for Carbon Phase 2

Progress with Jobs for Carbon Phase 2

12/7/17
The Jobs for Carbon teams are making great progress for the 2017-2018 project year, which will see the planting up of 50 hectares of degraded land with spekboom. With only three landowners left on whose land they need to plant, they have thus far finished planting in the whole Bosrivier valley – which is a total of 19.25 hectares planted thus far. The valley will be a great and easily accessible example of the project, as all the sites are easy to see from the road, and the valley is close to Vanwyksdorp.  The New Year will see the close of the projects, with the last remaining properties – which are situated close to the Bosrivier Valley - being planted up in time for the project close at the end of February.
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Environmental Education

Herbertsdale Green Roses blossoming in Stilbaai

Herbertsdale Green Roses blossoming in Stilbaai

11/10/17
 Herbertsdale Primary have recently established an environmental or “Green Club” at their school.  This is the first outing as “The Green Roses”. The aim of this outing was to expose the learners to a different environment, to show new perspectives, to generate an interest in the outdoor world, to spark curiosity in the natural world and of course to explore and transfer information. The visit to Stilbaai started at the Tuin op die Brak, where we met with Arrie Combrinck our educational field guide for the day.  Arrie  took us through the Botanical Garden where there is a specific focus on medicinal plants and succulents.  Once we had seen the Botanical Garden we headed for the Blombos Museum.  Arrie spoke about the Blombos Cave and the archaeological findings, the origins of man and all the artifacts that show the evolutionary man’s progress in terms of tool making and other survival skills. Read more about the other site visits in the report below compiled by Monica Vaccaro.
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Green Roses growing into leaders

Green Roses growing into leaders

10/15/17
 On Friday 8th of September we visited the Green Roses with the intention of handing over their leadership badges and planting trees for Arbor week. There was a special assembly held whereby the whole school gathered with the staff.  There was a brief talk about the new leadership roles.  Learners in grade 4 and 5 were inspired to look up to these roles and positions and know that they too will get to be future leaders.  The juniors were encouraged to be respectful and to cooperate with their leaders.    Each team came up and were handed the badges which they proudly pinned on their uniform. There were two educators that offered their mentorship to the teams.  We are very happy that the educators are keen to drive and assist the learners.  We would like to thank Ms Veronika Muller and Ms Lizelle Labuschagne for stepping into mentorship roles for the teams. Download the full report below.
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Green Butterflies meeting, planting and botanising

Green Butterflies meeting, planting and botanising

9/22/17
 On 5th September we held a special training and structural meeting with the Green Butterflies.  The committee ran the entire meeting observing the correct protocol. ITEMS OF DISCUSSION: Team leaders gave feedback of the projects they manage. Everything seems to be running smoothly except for the bathrooms (solutions were discussed) - school will look into the situation We took a look at new projects developing from the seeds and the Spekboom as well as the start of the Botanical Garden Project. The structure and new leaders were appointed for these Projects.  These projects will keep the learners busy with work during their weekly meeting on a Thursday.  Formalizing the staff leadership mentorship. The introduction of champions or mentors from Jobs for Carbon team to facilitate the projects and assist the leadership. Download the full report below.
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water wise ways

Artificial wetland a sewerage filtering system

Artificial wetland a sewerage filtering system

12/7/17
The constructed wetland project in De Rust has seen successes and challenges over the course of 2017, however as the year draws to a close the project is well on its way to realizing its ultimate goal of returning the unusable wastewater - at the De Rust Sewage Works - as safe, clean water back into the natural catchment systems. Earlier stages of the project saw the construction of five long “floats” that were installed in the fourth (second-last) treatment dam of the De Rust sewage works. The floats are constructed from shade-cloth and old cool drink bottles, which create a support structure on which the “watter-scrubbing” Phragmites australis (fluitjiesriet) and Typha capensis (bulrush) plants can be mounted. The support structure is made by creating a “pillow” from the shadecloth, using old, dry  Phragmites australis or Typha capensis biomass. Empty and sealed cool drink bottles are stitched into the sides of the “pillow” for stabilization and floatation.  Phragmites australis or Typha capensis are then attached through the floats, with the roots hanging down below the float into the water, and the “above ground” biomass of the plant protruding from the top of the float, above the water. Read more in the attached report.
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A spring party for the local environment

A spring party for the local environment

12/7/17
Thanks to the Garden Route Casino Conservation Trust (GRCCT), the GCBR is engaging with approximately 120 households in KwaNonqaba and 20 in D’Almeida, measuring water usage, auditing leaking/broken pipes and taps, and fixing those. Audits were done by five workers to ascertain where household water is leaking, which leads to water waste and high water bills.  The team then moved in to fix the water leaks, which were mainly caused by leaking outside taps and toilet cistern failures.  The team was capacitated to understand the value of water as a scarce resource, and whilst auditing and fixing, they do informal awareness raising in the identified households.  Workshops to augment the water-scarce-message will be held in December 2017, and each household will receive a Wonderbag as water saving mitigation tool. For more information and photos refer to the attached document. 
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Land management and agriculture

Sustainable harvesting guidelines released for Honeybush "bergtee"

Sustainable harvesting guidelines released for Honeybush "bergtee"

12/7/17
Technical documents which present existing knowledge used to develop recommendations towards best practice in the wild honeybush industry have been compiled by Gillian MacGregor (University of Rhodes) with financial support by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. Honeybush refers to the various plant species belonging to the genus Cyclopia, and covers those species which are commercially used to produce tea. The principle thinking behind the guidelines is the fact that the rate of harvest should not exceed the rate of regeneration.  As a first attempt at developing a formal set of guidelines for the wild harvesting of honeybush, the focus has been on Cyclopia intermedia (bergtee), as this is by far the major resource of the honeybush tea industry.  Download the series of documents covering (1) an overview of the honeybush industry, (2) the harvesting guidelines for Cyclopia intermedia (bergtee), (3) the implications of fynbos ecology for Cyclopia species, (4) applicable legislative and policy framework, and (5) a review of wild plant harvesting guideline type documents and relevant literatures, below. 
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The effect of predators on small stock in the Karoo

The effect of predators on small stock in the Karoo

8/20/17
Two young French researchers, Marine Drouilly and Dr Marion Tafani, are doing research in the Karoo to find out what influence predators such as jackal, caracal, baboon, and to a lesser extent leopard, have on small stock such as sheep and goats. They addressed a Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) meeting at the Oudtshoorn Research Institute. Drouilly, who is doing research for a doctorate, and Dr Tafani, who is doing post-doctorate research, explained some of the results of their ongoing research on the Karoo Predator Project in an area consisting of 22 farms in the Koup area near Laingsburg. They work under die direct supervision of Prof Justin O’Riain, an ecologist. Read the full article drafted by Tisha Steyn that was published in AgriOrbit on 27 July 2017 (https://agriorbit.com/effect-predators-small-stock-karoo/), or download it below.
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Nuwe spesie ontdek in montagu

Montagu Malva gedoop

Montagu Malva gedoop

12/11/17
'n Klein wildemalvatjie is in 2006 net buitekant Montagu deur Jan en AnneLise Vlok ontdek.  Die diep sanderige habitat waarin die plantjie voorkom het 'n paar maande vantevore gebrand en dit was hier werklik ‘n geval van ‘om op die regte tyd op die regte plek te wees’. Die plantjies is nie maklik om raak te sien nie - mens moet op jou knieë afsak om hulle ten volle te kan waardeer. Individuele plante staan omtrent 10 cm hoog wanneer hulle blom, en het ‘n knolletjie onder die grond vanwaar hulle herspruit na brand. Die blare bestaan uit drie lobbe (amper soos dié van ‘n tuinsuuring (Oxalis spesies)), is sowat 15 mm lank en 10 mm breed, maar rooierig en droog wanneer die plante in blom is. Die blomme is uitsonderlik – wit, met twee diep wyn-rooi kolle en fyn rooi-pers are in die blom se keel. Met hulle tuiskoms is Jan en AnneLise se vermoede bevestig dat die spesie ongewoon is – hulle kon geen gepubliseerde naam vir die spesie vind nie. Die eksemplaar is aan Dr Bettie Marais – spesialis op die Hoarea-groep binne die genus Pelargonium – gestuur. Sy het onmiddellik terug laat weet dat dit ‘n nuwe spesie is. Lees meer oor die benaming van die spesie in die artikel wat deur Engela Duvenage vir Die Burger geskryf is.
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game farm management

Habitat monitoring on game farms

Habitat monitoring on game farms

12/7/17
Game farmers and ranchers who get permits from CapeNature to introduce extralimital (alien to the area) wildlife species must take note of the fact that they undertake  (in writing) to do habitat monitoring after the introduction of the desired animals.  This monitoring is outlined in the risk assessment report that the farmer has to get an expert to do in order to get approval for the introduction of extralimital wildlife. Conservation Management Services (CMS) (Ken Coetzee, Wallie Stroebel and Bruce Taplin) have done many such risk assessment plans for game ranchers in the GCBR and beyond but they are concerned that none of the game ranchers appear to be doing the required monitoring. To date CapeNature have been lenient about this but CMS fears that renewals of Adequate Enclosure Certificates, applications for game transport permits  and in fact all kinds of permits will in future only be issued if the landowner (those who have permitted extralimital animals) has been doing the required habitat monitoring and can show the results. We do not recommend that CapeNature be tested on this, the consequences could be damaging to the industry in general, the GCBR in particular, and to everyone involved. The relevant game farmers and ranchers are urged to consult their plans, see what monitoring was approved for their particular operation and then get it done. The techniques are really simple and will not take up much time to implement and help is but a telephone call away.
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marine environment

Nurdles – lentil-sized plastic pellets

Nurdles – lentil-sized plastic pellets

12/12/17
Stormy seas the 10th of October 2017 caused a marine container to spill vast numbers of plastic nurdles in Durban. Nurdles are tiny plastic particles used in the manufacture of products. The shipping company has accepted responsibility for the spill along the KwaZulu Natal coast. However, winds and coastal currents carried the pellets closer and closer. The nurdles have been reported from Nature’s Valley, soon the Garden Route and Stilbaai followed, with latest reports from Hermanus. Just as other plastics, these plastic pellets are incredibly harmful to all marine life and has to be removed from beaches as a matter of urgency, Tersia Marais of  S.M.A.R.T in Mossel Bay has coordinated volunteers to assist with collection and arranged drop-off points (as per poster) for the collected nurdles. South African Association of Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) suggests sieves or shadenet to collect the nurdles (more information on the poster). Tersia urges all beach users to assist with the clean up campaign. “Ons doen 'n beroep op al ons vriende  wat in die Suid-Kaap woon of kom vakansie hou - as jy tyd het, neem 'n kombuissif of kinder visnet en 'n emmer en gaan na die strand naaste aan jou. Op die hoogste hoogwatermerk sal jy tussen all die ander dinge wat die see uitspoeg klein, vaal balletjies wat amper soos BB koeeltjies lyk, sien lê. Die goed word "nurdles" genoem. Hulle is lewensgevaarlik vir die meeste mariene diere. Dit het in die see beland agv 'n storm gedurende Oktober in Durban se hawe en spoel nou ook aan ons Suid-Kaapse strande uit. Strande in die groter Mosselbaai area wat erg deurloop is Gouritz, Boggomsbaai, Vleesbaai en Grootbrakrivier. Maak 'n verskil en help om die nurdles op te tel. Daar is verskeie versamelpunte in Mosselbaai waarvan die Shark Lab by die Punt, die maklikste bereikbaar is. Vergeet van die TV, Facebook, Twitter, ens. vir n paar uur; geniet die vars seelug en red 'n seeskilpad deur pro-aktief te wees.” Inligting saamgestel deur Tersia Marais van S.M.A.R.T (Stranded Marine Animal Rescue Team). Laai die dokumente hiernaas af.
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Kids love Fin

Kids love Fin

12/7/17
Fin and his friends have been delighting kids in the Mossel Bay area this year with the 'Keep Fin Alive' puppet show, sponsored by Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve and Garden Route Casino Community Trust and supported by Oceans Research. Sharks play a vital role to keep our oceans healthy, but are a difficult animal to conserve as they’re not as charismatic as other animals. The puppet show aims to teach youngsters that sharks are not the monsters the media portray them to be, and that they’re a very important part of the ocean ecosystem. Teachers from the various preschools describe it as “wonderfully entertaining and informative puppet show", “kids love Fin and his friends and the cool facts they learn”, “the puppeteers did a FINtastic job entertaining the kids”, “It was great to see that a couple of the reluctant kids, who were scared of sharks before the show, warm up to the characters”. South African Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, is also a '#Fin Hugger'.  Learn more about our 2017 events in the attached document.
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community conservation projects

Community food garden project in Vanwyksdorp

Community food garden project in Vanwyksdorp

11/10/17
 On the 17th October 2017 Andre Britz went to purchase a few seedlings for the gardeners in Vanwyksdorp from Kobus se Kwekery and as he was paying, he told the story of the community gardens in this little town. It is then that Kobus decided to donate 1400 seedlings to the KOS IN DIE KAROO project. Andre had a meeting with the gardeners at 5pm in order to share the seedlings and plan for the next month. There were 15 gardeners at the meeting. There is a need to put some structure into place as the movement is gaining momentum. Two leaders were chosen to coordinate the project: Melvin Oosthuizen and he will be assisted by Rika. Seedlings were handed out. A decision was taken to hold a gathering every first Tuesday of each month. The aim of the monthly gathering is to share knowledge and to do demos.  Ideally every month there should be a new garden or two. Read more in the 
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partnerships

Trans Gouritz MTB event kicks off!

Trans Gouritz MTB event kicks off!

12/7/17
We had a great weekend with the 1st Trans Gouritz MTB Tour supported by GCBR and TriSport from 10-12 November 2017. This event is intended to become an annual promotional tour to raise awareness about the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve and support for its spectacular scenery and biodiversity. This year a handful of braveheart volunteers rode the entire route as a trial run for the future. Starting and ending at Great Brak, the circular route goes over 3 mountains, the Langeberge, the Rooiberge and the Outeniquas with the Gouritz River traversing the region. Sponsorship by the Garden Route Casino Community Trust has enabled the GCBR and TriSport to stage this spectacular new event for 3 years. “Die toer is geskik vir CycloCross-fietse en kan beskou word as uitstekende voorbereiding vir die Epic-fietstoer,” sê Sonja Otto, stigter van Trisport Events. “Boonop word fietsryers by die eindbestemming vertroetel met ‘n massering, asook lekker kos en KleinKaroo gasvryheid tydens die toer." Read more about the event in the document below.
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upcoming events during 2018

GCBR FORUM get-togethers 2018

Please book the following dates for information-packed meetings:

  •  20 February 2018
  • 15 May 2018
  • 14 August 2018
  • 20 November 2018

 

trans gouritz 5 day mtb tour

A 5-Day MTB Tour from 23-27 May 2018.

Cycle over 3 mountains in 5 days, the Langeberg, the Rooiberg and the Outeniqua Mountains and criss-cross the Gouritz River and its tributaries over 5 days. This  is an exciting Non Technical MTB and CycloCross Bike Stage Event.  

For more information and to enter, contactwww.trisport.co.za.

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