GEORGE NEWS - The Table Mountain Fund (TMF) and the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) are going to develop invasive alien plant control plans on selected sections of the Touw and Kaaimans rivers. "The Touw and Kaaimans rivers are vital to the environmental well-being of the Garden Route," says Cobus Meiring of the SCLI.
"Both the Kaaimans and Touw rivers, their respective tributaries (such as the Silver, Swart and Duiwe rivers) are of national importance, not only in terms of biodiversity conservation but also because they have their origins in a strategic water source area - the Outeniqua mountain range," he says.
"The Touw river system is a primary driver to sustain the high conservation value and world-renowned Wilderness lakes system. Both the Kaaimans and the Touw rivers have estuaries draining into the Indian ocean, where they serve as aquatic nurseries and a safe haven for millions of small fish species awaiting their journey into the open ocean to stock fish resources."
According to Meiring both river systems are high-value tourist assets and form the backbone of the natural infrastructure of the Garden Route. The Touw river is a vital source of fresh water to the agricultural sector in its upper catchment, as well as the provision of potable drinking water to the villages of Wilderness, Touwsranten and Hoekwil. As is the case for much of the Garden Route, the encroachment of
invasive alien plants have a detrimental effect on their health and ability to provide fresh water to communities, and to sustain life in the estuaries and wetlands on both the Kaaimans and Touw river systems.
The TMF and the SCLI intend developing invasive alien plant control plans to "assist landowners in clearing selected sections of the catchment and river systems, where maximum biodiversity benefits will be derived, and to shape conservation corridors", says Meiring.
SCLI is a public platform and think tank for landowners and managers with an interest in invasive alien plant management, water stewardship and land management. It is supported by the Table Mountain Fund (TMF), a subsidiary of WWF SA, and is also the secretariat of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).
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