Figure 1. Weyers River Wetland
The wetlands are critically important for water storage, dry season river flows and biodiversity conservation.
Threat: Invasive alien plants which destabilise the wetland soils, dry out the wetlands and replace valuable wetland plants.
Objective: (1) To remove invasive alien plants such as black wattle and stink bean; (2) Keep all the wetlands clear of alien plants, and; (3) Identify solutions for erosion in the wetlands.
Opportunity: Some landowners are already investing in invasive plant clearing but with a coordinated approach much more of the objectives can be achieved.
Figure 2. Pseudobarbus asper (smallscale redfin). Figure 3. Sandella capensis (Cape kurper).
The rivers of the area are special in that they contain at least three endemic fishes that occur nowhere else in the world, one of which has yet to be given a scientific name. The local rivers are also critical water security for farmers.
Threat: Dense invasive plant infestations on riverbanks, the loss of water and the loss of river habitat suitable for endangered fish.
Objective: (1) Ensure the spread of alien plant biocontrol agents (such as wattle seed eating beetles); (2) Remove small but critical patches of alien plants which threaten the system, and; (3) Eventually eradicate all alien trees from the river system in the long term.
Opportunity: Biocontrol agents for Black Wattle, Hakea, Stink bean and Sesbania are available and can help prevent the spread of alien plant infestations.
Some have already been released into the area by the project.
Figure 4. Veld burning in the Mountain Fynbos.
The mountain areas are the source of all our water and must be managed to ensure maximum rainwater infiltration, reduce fire threats and support our world-renowned Cape Flora. Inappropriate veld burning can be a threat to personal property and have serious liability implications. Furthermore, fires at the wrong time can threaten endangered plant species, promote alien plant seedlings and reduce rainwater infiltration – all unwanted outcomes.
Threat: Uncoordinated fire management and alien plan infestations (mostly Hakea).
Objective: (1) Apply a burning programme that matches the ecological requirements of the fynbos AND that will ensure maximum rainwater infiltration; (2) Apply a practical fire burning programme that will facilitate the control of alien plants and reduce fire threats to farms, and; (3) Assist landowners with the control of Hakea, Pine and Black wattle from the mountain catchment area.
Opportunity 1: Many landowners in the area have great experience with burning and many are already members of the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association.
Opportunity 2: Biocontrol agents can be spread in the area to slow down alien plant seed production.
Figure 5. Areas for connectivity which can be maintained as critical ‘micro’ corridors.
RENOSTERVELD AND THICKET
The remaining fragments of renosterveld and thicket are critically important for ensuring that ecological connectivity is improved or maintained in the area. The main action is to develop mini corridors which will be at a later phase of the project.