Cape Town Invasives News

Community partnership formed to look after the Sun Valley Wetlands

Community partnership formed to look after the Sun Valley Wetlands

Brigantine Pond inside the Sun Valley Wetlands (Photo: Karen Gray-Kilfoil)If we give our very best to all the children of today, and if we pass on our planet in the fullness of her beauty and natural richness, we will be serving the children of the future. 

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Forming partnerships with various communities of the City of Cape Town is a powerful means of caring for our environment in such a way that future generations inherit a healthy environment. The partnership between the City’s Environmental Resource Management Department’s Green Jobs Unit, and the Sun Valley Echo Watch was formed in October 2013 to manage and improve the Sun Valley Wetlands.

The Sun Valley Wetlands is situated in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, east of Ou Kaapse Weg and runs parallel to Chebec Cresent and Brigantine Avenue. These wetlands are otherwise known as Loch Venus, an un-channelled valley-bottom wetlands of 5.84 hectares. The impacts or threats that face these wetlands are nutrient enrichment as a result of stormwater run-off, alien plant invasions, illegal dumping and litter. Another huge pressure on the wetland is caused by the illegal occupants and wood sellers on Dassenberg as their activities are a source of water pollution. The wetland is of biodiversity significance as it is listed as a Critical Biodiversity Area, category 1 and it is also a Western Leopard Toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus) breeding site.

Linda and Xolani proudly displaying their bags of litter collected from around the Sun Valley Wetlands (Photo: Karen Gray-Kilfoil)The Sun Valley Echo Watch, consisting of volunteers from the community in partnership with the City of Cape Town’s Green Jobs Unit aims to ensure the health of the Sun Valley Wetlands. The Sun Valley Eco Watch is an environmental group who wish to upgrade and maintain the green areas in Sun Valley so that they are more practical for playing, walking, relaxing and more attractive for residents and local wildlife. Volunteers from the Sun Valley Eco Watch supervise a small team consisting of two green wardens, Linda Gxilayo and Xolani Sneli. The green wardens are responsible for  controlling invasive plants, collecting litter and planting locally indigenous plants.

Over the last three months they have collected over 60 bags of litter, cleared stands of the alien invasive plants port jackson (Acacia saligna), sesbania (Sesbania punicea) and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius). They painted over graffiti, opened up pathways that have been overgrown with vegetation and informed the Eco Watch of activities in the wetlands area.

Future plans include the removal of old fencing, digging out bulrush, Typha capensis, which is chocking up a section of the wetland, create pathways in identified and agreed-upon areas of the wetland in partnership with SANParks and the community, as well as on-going alien invasive plant clearing.

For more info on the Sun Valley Eco Watch: