Conservation

PROGRESS WITH OUR CLEANMARINE CAMPAIGN

Posted on the 30th September 2019

We have recently developed a PowerPoint presentation to give feedback on progress with the CleanMarine campaign. Herewith the bullet points as it stood at the end of September 2019. Illustrative images will be added at a later stage.

BIRDLIFE OVERBERG’S CLEANMARINE CAMPAIGN

BIRDLIFE OVERBERG’S MISSION
# To allow people in the Overberg with an interest in birds to become involved in bird-watching by participating in the typical activities associated with BirdLife South Africa and its international partners;
# To place strong emphasis on educational programs in order to get participants involved in the meaningful conservation of birds and their habitats;
# To market the Overberg as a top birding destination, thus contributing to the region’s already impressive tourism infrastructure. 

BIRDLIFE OVERBERG WORKSHOP IN SEPTEMBER 2017
THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS WERE REPRESENTED AT THE WORKSHOP
• BirdLife Overberg/ Cape, Somerset West, Stanford and West Coast Bird Clubs
• Dyer Island Conservation Trust/ Nature’s Valley Trust
• BirdLife South Africa/ Coastal Cleanup Conservation Trust/ Paddavlei Eco Group/ RAMSAR SA/ Rethink Single Use Plastics/ Whale Coast Conservation
• CapeNature/ Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Western Cape Government/ Environmental Division, Overstrand Municipality
• Private individuals 

THE FOLLOWING PROJECTS WERE IDENTIFIED AS PRIORITIES DURING A BRAINSTORMING SESSION FACILITATED BY DR MARK BROWN OF THE NATURE’S VALLEY TRUST

PROJECT 1: PROTECTING BREEDING SITES OF AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS AND WHITE-FRONTED PLOVERS ALONG OUR COASTLINE
The identification of key breeding sites of African Oystercatchers & White-fronted Plovers along Overstrand coastline went well during the previous two summers and we have a fair idea of key breeding sites along our coastline. It was decided to appoint “Oystercatcher Champions” – 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 shortly.

1.1 OYSTERCATCHERS RAISING CHICKS
Several members have taken photographs of breeding birds and adults rearing chicks. Progress was made with the collation of images to illustrate how the chicks develop until they fledge. Jenny Parson’s images of the breeding pair raising their chicks were well documented and disseminated through talks to bird clubs, the website and social media. The main feature of this was that it illustrated the extended period (90 days plus) during which these nesting sites, as well the area where the chicks are being reared need to be protected.

1.2 NEST WARNING SIGNS
Officials from the Environmental Division of the Overstrand Municipality agreed in principle to have their red nest warning placards signs eventually replaced to incorporate themes addressed in the placards developed by the Nature’s Valley Trust. At least three (3) placards will be put up around each nesting site and ropes will be used to further demarcate the area within which people or dogs should not be allowed. Discussions in this regard are progressing well and these placards will be rolled out for the next summer. The development of these placards will be financed through funds received from a grant from BirdLife South Africa and an auction at BirdLife Overberg’s 2019 Xmas in July fundraising event. Liezl de Villiers indicated that she might also be able to assist financially as she has a budget for signage. This effort will be supported by a variety of educational campaigns.

1.3 LARGE BEACH BEHAVIOUR POSTERS
It was agreed in principle that these posters initially developed by the Nature’s Valley Trust will be adapted and erected at the Kleinbaai harbour, and the beaches at Grotto, Onrus, Hawston, Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay and Pringle Bay. Quotations for the development of these resources have been received and sponsors are being sought. These posters will be put in place for the summer of 2020/ 2021 due to a current lack of available funds.

1.4 THE ZONING OF BEACHES FOR DOGS
Officials from the Environmental Division of the Overstrand Municipality agreed that a zoning system for dogs on beaches will have to be put in place. Such a system has been implemented with great success at various sites along the South African coast such as Sedgefield, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley. The implementation of this system will however be dependent on the changing of by-laws and this matter is apparently being investigated by the municipality. The development of posters, educational and information campaigns and the like and the financing thereof will be undertaken once the by-laws have been changed. 

PROJECT 2: MONTHLY COASTAL CLEAN-UPS
2.1 THE METHODOLOGY
Monthly coastal clean-ups have been undertaken during most months since October 2017 and previously between 2006 and 2008. Reports on these are being published on a regular basis. The results of the quantities of items gathered are submitted to Plastics SA and the Oceans Conservancy in the USA. Many more volunteers are needed. We express our sincere appreciation to our managers Elaine Odendal and Helé Oosthuizen, to Plastics SA for the provision of equipment and to the People n Planet campaign of Pick n Pay for their sponsorship.

2.2 INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEAN-UP & RECYCLE WEEK
Discussions were recently undertaken with the staff of the Environmental Division of the Overstrand municipality in view of developing a huge coastal cleanup along the entire Overstrand coastline for International Coastal Cleanup Day on 21 September 2019. We thank Steven Nlokwana and Marco Cornelius of the municipality for co-ordinating this effort – more than 20 agencies, clubs and schools participated. It is proposed that such efforts be repeated regularly on a quarterly and maybe even monthly basis. The BirdLife Overberg CleanMarine monthly coastal clean-ups can be used as a vehicle for this.

2.3 FIGHTING SINGLE USE PLASTICS
We are continuing with a sustained campaign to minimise the use of single use plastics and have recently reached the total weight of 100kg of plastics in ECOBRICKS. These plastics now do not go to landfill sites or pollute the environment and the bottles are being delivered to the People n Planet campaign of Pick n Pay and being used in a community development project in the Cape Flats. We thank all participants for their continued support in this regard. We will continue with our fight against FISHING LINE along our beaches and the use of PLASTIC STRAWS and BALLOONS.

PROJECT 3: EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGNS
3.1 The BirdLife South Africa bird of the year posters and educational resources of the last two years (the African Black Oystercatcher and the Secretarybird) have been disseminated to many schools in the region. This project will be ongoing.

3.2 TRAINING COURSES
A review of the CleanMarine campaign has also been incorporated into both the Flight for Birders and Flight Higher courses and has been presented in 14 courses until now. It will also be included in all future courses. Several members have also presented talks on related topics to a variety of bird clubs, school groups and other organisations. 

3.3 COASTAL BIRDS BROCHURE
The identification brochure on the common coastal birds of the Western Cape was revised to include text describing our conservation campaigns focusing on the African Black Oystercatcher. The new brochure was developed and printed through a grant from the IBA division of BirdLife SA. The use of these brochures and subsequent reprints will form the cornerstone of several of our future educational efforts in support of the CleanMarine campaign.

3.4 SCHOOLS COMPETITIONS – DICT
MARINE MONTH COMPETITION BY THE DYER ISLAND CONSERVATION TRUST. DICT in partnership with Overstrand Municipality, CapeNature and BirdLife Overberg run an annual competition with the schools along the coast from Kleinmond to Gansbaai. The aim of the competition will be to create awareness about our MARINE ENVIRONMENT, PLASTIC POLLUTION, AFRICAN OYSTERCATCHER and the CATCHMENT TO COAST. The competition celebrates MARINE MONTH.

PROJECT 4: FISHING LINE BINS
The last ten fishing line bins will be set up at identified spots along the Hermanus cliff path and at Sandbaai . This will imply that the entire Overstrand coastline will be covered after employees of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) had covered most areas east of Hermanus. Regular media releases and radio interviews will continue. Our thanks go to DICT & Plastics SA for the provision of the bins and other materials and for their ongoing support.

PROJECT 5: QUARTERLY CWAC COUNTS
Coordinated Water Bird Counts along the Cape Whale Coast estuaries were finally undertaken during July 2019 and the hope is expressed that these counts will be done on a regular quarterly basis. These replace the quarterly Big Bird Counts undertaken by BLO members over the last three years. The results go to the Estuaries Managers of BLSA & CapeNature for discussion at the meetings of the various Estuary Management Forums. These counts should enable the forums to make more meaningful decisions regarding the conservation of birds & other issues along these estuaries. 

THE FOLLOWING ESTUARIES APPLY: Palmiet River Estuary/ Kleinmond Lagoon/ Botriver Estuary (5 different sites)/ Vermont Salt Pan & Onrus Lagoon/ Klein River Estuary/ Uilenkraals River Estuary
The Tygerberg, Kleinmond, Hermanus and Stanford Bird Clubs, BirdLife Overberg, CapeNature and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust participate 

PROJECT 6: QUALITATIVE STUDY ON CIGARETTE BUTT POLLUTION
The setting up of cigarette butt bins along our coastline is under investigation and consultations in this regard were undertaken with various local organisations & Dr Mark Brown of the Nature’s Valley Trust. It was decided that an alternative plan to address the problem of cigarette butt pollution will have to be developed. A detailed project proposal for an in-depth qualitative study to investigate cigarette butt littering behaviour was developed and is currently being circulated in view of possible funding.

ANIMALS & BIRDS STRANDING NETWORK: Note should also be taken of talks on the possible development of a more integrated system of reporting the stranding and injury of sea creatures and birds along the Overstrand coastline. Several agencies are involved in these discussions.

FUNDRAISING
# It is evident that significant amounts of money will have to be raised in order to sustain and support these projects. The BirdLife Overberg committee is in the process of registering as a NPO & PBO. 

# Our usual fundraising efforts such as the annual Xmas in July dinner, the charity golf day and donations from members & others will however continue.

# We thank BirdLife SA, Plastics SA, the People n Planet campaign at Pick n Pay & several members for their support until now.


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