GDACE commissioned an Environmental Management Framework (EMF) for south-west Tshwane (that’s us) and north-west Johannesburg (that’s Diepsloot, part of Kyalami, Mnandi, Lanseria, etc). This is over and above the EMF done by Tshwane and one will “inform” the other.
The first public meeting took place in Hills and Dales on Thursday 29 May, attended by about two dozen people. Before the meeting started one of the SEF consultants stood looking out over the veld. “I had no idea there was still such wonderful open space in Gauteng!” she exclaimed. “Are you aware of how valuable this area is in terms of GDACE’s C-plan?” The C-plan (Conservation Plan) maps all areas in Gauteng in terms of their importance for conservation.
The EMF “is a decision support tool, aimed at describing the environmental attributes of an area, assessing it in terms of relative sensibility to development….and guiding environmental decision-making.” It will therefore “be used to proactively plan development in a sustainable manner … ensuring continued progress towards sustainability.”
Worth bearing in mind: “With respect to biodiversity, South Africa has the highest known concentration of threatened plants and the highest extinction estimates for any area in the world. About 20% of biodiversity in Gauteng is not protected including examples of species where no other known population exists anywhere in the world, for example, Juliana's Golden Mole.” (Government report)
Rhenosterspruit CAN make a difference…
One of the issues that will be discussed at the NACSA conference is the question of incentives for those landowners who make an effort to protect and conserve their land.
The Western Cape and KZN have several initiatives already in place and at a recent meeting of the Gauteng Conservancy Association and GDACE, officials said that they wanted to attend the NACSA conference in order to find out more how KZN and Western Cape go about protecting biodiversity. They also said co-operation with conservancies is high on their agenda and they want to strengthen their relationship with conservancies in Gauteng.
The programme for the NACSA conference was sent to all in the RNC last week. Plus a request to become part of the Power of Ordinary People (POP!) by contributing towards the costs of making the conference possible. Several people responded – and my heartfelt thanks to all of you, especially the Orbells! At times, we all need to know that we have support from unexpected sources. A much needed “riem onder die hart”.
Two local companies have been most generous in their support: Norman Jeffery of Water Health Systems and PPC, Laezonia, courtesy of the manager, Henk Wilz.
PPC is sponsoring two speakers: Willeen Olivier of the Department of Environment and Tourism (DEAT) who will give an important presentation on biodiversity stewardship and the Department’s objectives for conservancies, and Carin Bosman, a fiery speaker (ex-Director in Department of Water Affairs and Forestry), on water remediation and its role in sustaining biodiversity.
Henk Wilz has always been supportive of community activities, particularly in Hills and Dales.
Many thanks to Norman and Henk – much appreciated.
The following Conservation Calendar events have taken place this year:
Grass Walk, Organic Farming course, Bat evening (a wonderful talk by Nigel Fernsby of Hennops), a Waste Management/Recyling course and a Tree Walk. Bird walks, Heritage outings, Geology talks etc are in the pipeline.