REstoration | Community

Goukou Resilient Rivers Project


Goukou River Catchment, Hessequa Municipality



2018 – 2021


DOB Ecology, Cape Nature; Local stakeholders, Hessequa Municipality, CASIDRA, Working for Wetlands

Total number of hectares cleared of Invasive Alien Plants

Total number of jobs created

Total number of persondays worked

Project Objective:

To reverse biodiversity loss and connect fragmented habitats of the Goukou River system through wetland restoration and clearing of invasive alien plants.

This project focuses on restoration of an ecologically valuable riparian system – which is largely located on private land – where limited or no systematic invasive plant eradication programmes are being implemented.

Invasive alien plant infestations are increasing rapidly and have a severe impact on the water supply to downstream communities, pose a great fire risk, and are a threat to South Africa’s natural biodiversity.

Project Implementation:

Wetlands and rivers are amongst our most precious natural systems, however much of them are extremely compromised by alien invasive plants, erosion, and loss of biodiversity. Like other river and wetland restoration projects, the Goukou Resilient River Project undertakes river and wetland restoration through the removal of invasive alien plants. There is however also a focus on holistic rehabilitation of these river and wetland ecosystems through doing erosion mitigation work, and developing rehabilitation methods for replanting and stabilising these systems with natural vegetation.

The project also has a strong focus on job creation and upskilling of staff and has provided work for an average of 50 individuals over the last 3 years.

Activities and deliverables:

  • 700-hectare mountain catchment and 350-hectare lowland riverine habitat to be cleared of invasive alien plants
  • Active rehabilitation of disturbed Palmiet wetlands
  • Improved wetland functioning in the river system; increased water run-off released into river and estuary
  • Training and employment in ecosystem restoration of currently unemployed people through independent contractor teams
  • Strengthened network of partners mandated to sustainably manage the Goukou River System
  • Progress towards a comprehensive Ecological Reserve determination of the Goukou River System

Invasive Alien Plants (IAPs)