Conservation

COMMENTING ON DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENTS

Posted on the 13th April 2020

A GENERAL NOTICE TO BIRDLIFE OVERBERG CLUB MEMBERS
The unrealistic and unsustainable time spent on BirdLife Overberg work and commitments were discussed fairly comprehensively in the annual report of 2019 and at the AGM of 2020. Some isolated comments were made about conservation projects and the CleanMarine campaign that should not be part of bird club activities as we do not have the capacity or funding. This issue will be discussed in a separate document that will review the historic development of BirdLife Overberg – this to get everyone on the same page. 

It has become evident that the CleanMarine campaign cannot be terminated or for that matter even be scaled down. There are simply too many responsibilities and commitments to a variety of partners, collaborators, sponsors and volunteers. Over and above this there are several agencies and organisations wanting to use feedback from some of the different projects forming part of CleanMarine as case-studies for possible implementation in other areas. For this reason regular updates and reports on progress with the various projects are regularly given to both BirdLife Overberg members and meetings of the Western Cape Birding Forum, the latter being attended by representatives of the majority of bird clubs in the province. The two most recent reports in the regard can be viewed on the website.

Many discussions were undertaken with a variety of individuals, many being club members and others being part of other bird clubs or conservation agencies. The following outcomes are put forward based on the issues mentioned above:

• The CleanMarine campaign will have to continue in its current form (once the Covid-19 lockdown period is over) and many more members and/ or other volunteers should be encouraged to assist in this regard.

• Several issues such as the organising of the majority of normal club activities and the maintenance of the club website (including the writing of trip reports) will have to be delegated. 

• The charity golf days are cancelled with immediate effect and alternative fundraising efforts that are less time consuming and in which many more members participate should be investigated.

• Commenting on development projects and environmental impact assessments will be reduced dramatically. Anton will in future only comment on such issues that are directly related to the Vermont salt pan, the Onrus River and estuary and the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. This applies with immediate effect. Members are encouraged to participate in such commenting processes around their own home patches, or to at least refer such problems to individuals or organisations that are in a position to do so. A number of these development proposals tend to quiet down for a while, only to flare up again sometime later. Kindly take note of such happenings and contact us to receive comments on previous reports if this occurs. Pay particular attention to the proposed brewery development in the Rooiels and Betty’s Bay area, the “elephant sanctuary” outside Kleinmond and the application for permits to drive on the beaches at Arniston. Contact us if any support is needed in this regard. 


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