The Goukou Nursery Chronicles.
We’re going to build a Nursery we said…
What a wonderful idea…right…?
Little did we know…
Our very own Kezia portrays a visual journey of the development of the Goukou Rehabilitation Nursery.
Kezia is the Research and Rehabilitation Co-Ordinator and Nursery Manager for the Goukou Resilient River Project
The Goukou Resilient River Project is tasked to halt the biodiversity loss and rehabilitate wetland areas within the Goukou River Catchment.
The project was actively initialised in 2019 in the Riversdale district but planning started in 2018. It is currently in its research and development phase.
The Goukou River forms part of the Gouritz River Catchment which was identified as an area of priority by various Conservation Agencies.
There are many factors that drive the current instabilities and degeneration of our rivers and the challenge is to address these factors in an ever-changing socio-economical, environmental and political environment. It is vital to the success of such a project to establish an effective long-term rehabilitation plan with dedicated role players who will educate, mediate, implement and maintain the necessary changes.
Some of Our Challenges
- Monoculture and Chemical Farming
- Decline of self-sustainable living
For those who are interested in learning more about the important issues
Some key concepts with a few references:
Soil regeneration (Dr Elaine Ingham – Soil Microbes, John D. Liu – Loess Plateau in China)
Regenerative Agriculture (USA’s Gabe Brown, Dr Vandana Shiva)
Carbon Draw Down Initiative – https://www.drawdown.org/solutions
Netflix – Kiss the Ground movie
Reap versus cultivate (a term I use from observing current farming practices)
- Use the project as a platform for Scientific Research and Education.
- Initialise the halt of biodiversity loss in the upper catchment area of the Goukou River
- Establish sustainable methods of river and wetland rehabilitation
- Create awareness with farmers and other role players on issues like soil regeneration and regenerative farming methods and encourage them to get involved in a long-term rehabilitation effort
- Create jobs and supply training to members of the local community
- Build up a team with diverse knowledge and experience to ultimately become a service provider for future change
The Goukou Rehabilitation Nursery forms part of this research and development phase and strives to address some or all of the project’s objectives. It is situated within the upper catchment of the Goukou River where trials will be conducted to initialise the process.
The Nursery will serve a dual purpose:
- To provide specific indigenous plant species to the trial sites at the Klein Rivier Research Project and to other projects within the GCBR.
- To serve as a skills development facility.
The trial sites will be just big enough to establish the viability and efficacy of our planned rehabilitation and Alien Plant Management methods and to use the experience gained for bigger projects in the future.
First, we had to find a location for the Nursery within our project area but it also needed a house for me to live in. Yah right … I’d been looking for a place since January 2019.
Riversdale is your typical small town … in these small communities there is nothing more dangerous than an outsider! We are called “inkommers/ incomers” (and after 20 years of living here you will still be an “incomer”).
A Piece Of Land
So finding a piece of land with a house to rent proved to be near impossible but after a year of searching, many disappointments and crazy frustration, things fell into place and on the 2nd of November 2019 we found the perfect location and a weird “house” aka a revamped stable. Well, I was just too happy about it to see all the cracks, wet foundation and uneven floors … The land was right next to one of the rivers that flow into the beautiful Broomvlei wetland and also close to the rehabilitation sites.