Conservation

REPORT FOR MARCH 2018: PROGRESS WITH THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG CAMPAIGN ON THE CONSERVATION OF OUR COASTLINE AND ESTUARIES

Posted on the 27th March 2018

REPORT FOR MARCH 2018: PROGRESS WITH THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG CAMPAIGN ON THE CONSERVATION OF OUR COASTLINE AND ESTUARIES
BACKGROUND
Members of BirdLife Overberg decided to prioritise the spending of available funds and future fund-raising and conservation efforts. For this reason it was decided to focus our efforts on the Overstrand region’s coastline and estuaries. A workshop on this was presented on 2 and 3 September 2017 in collaboration with the Nature’s Valley Trust. Funds to present this workshop were generated through the presentation of a Xmas in July event. Many of the region’s role-players showcased their projects at the workshop and Dr Mark Brown conducted a brainstorming session on the Sunday afternoon. The six projects discussed herewith were identified during the brainstorming session. The projects will be done as case-studies that will be reported to the Western Cape Birding Forum regularly in view of other clubs possibly implementing similar actions in their regions. Other clubs have already started considering involvement.
PROJECT 1
The identification of key breeding spots of African Oystercatchers & White-fronted Plovers along Overstrand beaches went well during the summer of 2017/ 2018 and we have a fair idea of key breeding sites along our coastline. It was decided to appoint “Oystercatcher Champions” before the next summer – these will be individuals at specific spots along our coast who will take responsibility for applying the educational campaigns at their home patches. Training on this should ideally be done by September.
Several members have also taken photographs of breeding birds and adults rearing chicks. Progress was made during March with the collation of images to illustrate how the chicks develop until they fledge. Jenny Parson’s images of two oystercatcher families at Pringle Bay are being used as basis for this overview and many of these fascinating images will be released with the March photo gallery of images taken by club members. Photographs by other people are also being integrated into this overview. Theanette Staal of APSS (The African Penguin and Seabirds Sanctuary) has reared a chick in rehabilitation and will make her images of the bird growing up available to us for incorporation into the overview.
The educational campaigns (posters, brochures, media releases, etc) developed by the Nature’s Valley Trust should be adapted for our purposes and implemented at the key breeding sites during the summer of 2018/ 2019. Quotations for the development of these resources have been received and sponsors will have to be sought.
PROJECT 2
Some members have participated in the regular summer CWAC count along the Botriver estuary in collaboration with the Tygerberg Bird Club. The undertaking of more regular Co-ordinated Waterbird Counts along the Uilenkraals-, Klein- and Bot River estuaries and possibly the Vermont Salt Pan is still under investigation. We will coordinate this effort with Dr Giselle Murison, the Estuaries Manager at BirdLife South Africa.
PROJECT 3
Fishing line bins will be set up at 50 sites to be identified along the Overstrand coastline. Several sites have already been identified. We have been very fortunate in receiving a sizable donation from the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) division of BirdLife South Africa and we could consider using part of this towards the production and erection of the fishing line bins.
PROJECT 4
The setting up of cigarette butt bins along our coastline is under investigation and consultations in this regard have been undertaken with Whale Coast Conservation, the Overstrand municipality and the Onrus Litter Ladies. An alternative plan to address the problem of cigarette butt pollution will have to be developed. Discussions in this regard with Dr Mark Brown of the Nature’s Valley Trust have been initiated.
PROJECT 5
The clearing of marine litter at specific problematic hotspots identified by Antonio da Sylva-Swart of the Coastal Cleanup Conservation Trust is ongoing. Six monthly coastal cleanups have already been undertaken and we express our sincere appreciation to Elaine Odendal and Helé Oosthuizen for managing this process. Reports on these monthly cleanups are being published on a regular basis.
The “Oystercatcher Hero of the Month award” for March went to the Onrus Litter Ladies. (See report on this on the website). Their certificate and a donation of R 500.00 were handed over at the monthly meeting. Antonio da Sylva-Swart will be the recipient in April.
PROJECT 6
The BirdLife South Africa Bird of the Year 2018 material & resources on the African Black Oystercatcher has been released and the link to this, as well as a summary of the resources was forwarded to members. It is hoped that this information will be distributed to as many schools as possible in our region. These posters are beautiful, very educational and practical and a bulk shipment of these has been received. It is proposed that at least two of the BLO identification brochures on the common birds of the Western Cape be disseminated to children at these schools. We could consider using a part of the donation from BirdLife South Africa for the production of these brochures.

GENERAL COMMENTS
The budgets for these various projects represent a minimum total of R 50,000.00 per annum, excluding the fact that a person or other agency will have to appointed to manage this process. The management of this process is currently being discussed by the committee and feedback on this will be given to members as soon as is possible. For this reason all attempts to gain sponsorship, media releases and discussions with collaborators are at present on hold.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to members and others who had supported our efforts until now and request all members to become involved in some aspects of the projects.
Anton
27 March 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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