Plan to combat aliens threatening Plet’s water supply
THE ABUNDANCE of alien vegetation in Plettenberg Bay’s catchment area is presenting a grave threat to the town’s future water supply.
And unless the non-profit organisation attempting to avert the crisis can raise R500 000 in the next 50 days, it will lose the R8.2 million grant the government has earmarked for the clean-up operation.
Research by the Garden Route-based Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative indicates that unless the situation is rectified, the Keurbooms stream flow will be reduced by 95 percent.
The speed with which the vegetation is spreading is indicated by the fact that in 2000 half the fynbos of the Keurbooms River catchment had been invaded, and in the next decade it will have almost completely infested the area.
In 2010, flow at the Keurbooms weir dropped below 300l/second, and Bitou Municipality was declared a disaster area.
Eden to Addo has consequently embarked on a clearing project that covers a critical catchment area for the Keurbooms River, upon which Plettenberg Bay, with a population of some 50 000, depends.
According to initiative spokesman Pamela Booth, the government has dedicated the funds to the project in recognition of its importance. However, the funds account for only wages and equipment, and require that Eden to Addo covers project management costs.
“We are looking to implement the project in April next year.
“We have been making a lot of contacts overseas for funding, but the truth is this is a massive undertaking,” Booth said this week.
She explained that the project involved way more than “going in with chainsaws and cutting down the plants”.
“We are exploring numerous bio-control methods, for example introducing weevils that eat the seed of the alien plants.”
Eden to Addo will be training and employing 100 people to clear alien species. – Garden Route Media