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THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG WORKSHOP ON THE COASTLINE AND ESTUARIES - TALK SUMMARIES & SPEAKERS

Posted on the 22nd August 2017

THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG WORKSHOP ON THE COASTLINE AND ESTUARIES - TALK SUMMARIES & SPEAKERS
DATES: 2 and 3 September 2017
VENUE: Community Hall, Mollergren Park, Main Road, Hermanus

RSVP: Reserve your spot by obtaining the registration form from Elaine at mwjasser@mweb.co.za or 082 455 8402

Kindly note that final arrangements with directions to the venue and the like will be forwarded to all participants by Wednesday 30 August. 
TALK SUMMARIES AND INTRODUCING SPEAKERS

The committee members of BirdLife Overberg decided to prioritise the spending of our available funds and future fund-raising and conservation efforts. We have organised this workshop with the view of getting as many individuals and agencies in our region to do presentations on conservation efforts along our coastline and estuaries. We will also invite representatives of the other clubs of the WCBF to come & participate as observers.
In the long term we want to roll out and sponsor meaningful and sustainable conservation and educational campaigns along our coastline and estuaries. We have invited a variety of prominent speakers to share their experiences with us and from this we will decide on our future efforts during the final session.

TALK SUMMARIES AND INTRODUCING THE SPEAKERS.

SATURDAY 2 SEPTEMBER
08h30 to 09h00: Registration and coffee/ tea
MORNING SESSION – Chairperson: Anton Odendal
Saturday (09h00 to 09h15) “Welcome and introduction to the goals of the workshop” – Anton Odendal of BirdLife Overberg

Saturday (09h15 to 10h00)
Keynote address: “ShareTheShores: mitigating the impact of people on beach breeding birds, with a focus on successes with educational campaigns” – Dr Mark Brown of the Nature’s Valley Trust.
Talk summary – Every summer, residents and visitors flock to the beaches, and often take their companion animals with them to enjoy all the beaches have to offer. However, this is also the time of year several sensitive bird species, like African Black Oystercatchers and White-fronted Plovers pair up and breed on our beaches. Over the last four summers, NVT researchers have investigated the impact that disturbance by people and dogs may have on breeding performance in these birds, and used the data to come up with innovative mitigation and intervention methods that, coupled with high impact education and awareness programs has seen an increase in the breeding success in these birds. In this talk, Mark will explain the lessons learnt from NVT’s work, and discuss how similar work can and should be done all along the coastline.
DR MARK BROWN
Mark has a PhD in ornithology from UKZN, and has published 80 peer reviewed scientific papers, written about a dozen book chapters, and is a contributing author on Robert’s VII. He is Program Director of the Nature’s Valley Trust, and an honorary researcher at UKZN. Mark holds a Y2 rating with the National Research Foundation, is an Associate Editor for Ostrich and the open ornithology Journal. He has given over 100 public talks, supervised 30 postgraduate students, and is passionate about getting people informed and involved on the biodiversity issues we face.

African Penguin & Seabirds Sanctuary, Kleinbaai
African Penguins - Images by Anton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday (10h10 to 10h50)

Focus on the work of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust
- “The rehabilitation of seabirds at the African Penguin and Seabirds Sanctuary” – Brenda du Toit
- “The environmental education manual being implemented in local communities”– Pinkey Ngewu.
Talk summary – The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) in Gansbaai serves as a custom-designed, world class, marine bird rehabilitation centre in the Overstrand area. We provide temporary rehabilitative care to diseased, displaced, injured, oiled and abandoned marine birds with special focus on the endangered African Penguin. Marine bird rescue, rehabilitation and release form part of the conservation management plan to conserve and maintain African Penguin populations. Through continued research, education and awareness programmes, we aim to mitigate human impacts on seabird colonies.
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s Environmental Education Programme known as DEEP works with dedicated groups of young learners from a disadvantaged background and runs for three years to monitor and evaluate the impact and growth of each and every individual learner. Our aim is to expose these young learners to the field of science and conservation and serve as a forerunner for future skills training. An education manual for the second year students has been created to enhance the learning programme.
BRENDA DU TOIT
Brenda has been part of the team in various ways for eight years, passionately sharing the work of the marine biologists, handling media, customer relations, fundraising and playing a supportive role in different ways.
PINKEY NGEWU
As Dyer Island Conservation Trust Administrator, Pinkey handles day to day operations and fundraising but her key passion lies in education. Her work with the DICT’s Environmental Education Programme (DEEP) is having an impact on the students with who she works long term.

Onrus at Onrus 1 - Image by MC Botha
Onrus at Onrus 2 - Image by Ronel Botha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday (11h15 to 11h45)

”The annual False Bay Nature Reserve BIRDATHON” – Dale Wright, the Western Cape Conservation Manager for BirdLife South Africa.
Talk Summary – BirdLife South Africa has a long standing partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club to assist with various aspects of the conservation of the False Bay Nature Reserve IBA. This Important Bird and Biodiversity Area hosts one of the largest congregations of waterbirds in South Africa. One of the partnership’s activities is the False Bay Birdathon: Fun Walk and Festival, which is hosted annually and attracts a great crowd. I will explain the set-up of the Birdathon, which focuses on environmental education whilst taking participants on a walk through the Reserve.
DALE WRIGHT
Dale Wright joined BirdLife South Africa as the Regional Conservation Manager for the Western Cape in February 2012, and currently manages a variety of projects across the region. He as previously worked for WWF-SA and also managed a large protected area in Tanzania from 2007 – 2010. He has completed a MSc in Conservation Biology at UCT. 

Saturday (11h55 to 12h20) “The Cape Whale Coast Hope Spot and some initiatives being planned for the future” – Liezl de Villiers of the Environmental Division of the Overstrand Municipality

Talk summary - Our local communities are dependent on healthy oceans for their livelihood, recreational activities and tourism ventures, therefore the CWCHS long-term aim will be to focus on uplifting educational processes related to coastal issues, improved eco-friendly and informed tourism and to create a community that will drive to protect the coastline on which we and the future of our children are so dependent. There is, therefore, an over-arching need to develop a culture of accountability and shared responsibility for this wondrous place we call “Home”. Promoting this changing culture is a priority goal in the CWCHS.

LIEZL DE VILLIERS

Liezl de Villiers has a degree in Nature Conservation and an Environmental Auditors qualification. She has a deep love for indigenous forests. She started as a field ranger in CoCT. From there she became a Section Ranger in Table Mountain National Park. She then moved into environmental education and spent two years at CapeNature's De Hoop Nature Reserve. From here she moved on to being the Reserve Manager of Newlands Forest at South African National Parks. She also worked for Water Affairs and DEA as a Catchment Manager for 10 years in the Berg/Overberg Area, which included the Overstrand Working for Water Project. Eventually mountain and sea brought her to Hermanus where she now is the Environmental Manager for the Overstrand Municipality for the past 8 years. Here she has found her life, her love and her new home.

13h00 to 13h45: Lunch

Saturday (13h00 to 13h30)
“BirdLife South Africa’s work on estuaries in the Western Cape” – Dr Giselle Murison, Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Project Manager, BirdLife South Africa.
Talk summary – BirdLife South Africa’s Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Project seeks formal protection for a severely under-protected ecosystem: estuaries; while testing and developing innovative approaches for achieving this protection. The project is focused on the expansion and proclamation of Protected Areas through Biodiversity Stewardship at three high priority estuaries, identified as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in the Western Cape: the Berg River Estuary IBA and the Cape Whale Coast IBA, including the Bot River-Kleinmond and Klein River estuaries, and on improving conservation action at all sites to further enable their maintenance and management. This includes inputting into the various management plans, and working with landowners and partners to help tackle the environmental issues they’re currently facing, such as erosion and the spread of alien vegetation.
DR GISELLA MURISON
Dr Giselle Murison is the Project Manager for BirdLife South Africa’s Western Cape Estuaries Conservation Project. She studied at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, before receiving her PhD in Applied Ecology from the University of East Anglia; after which she was West Yorkshire’s Biodiversity Coordinator for five years. Giselle is an avid and lifelong birder.

Caspian Tern - Image by Anton
African Oystercatcher with chick - Image by Charles Naude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday (13h40 to 14h10) 

“A water course / wetland rehabilitation programme for the Mill Stream in Stanford” – Sheraine van Wyk of Whale Coast Conservation
Talk Summary - The Stanford Mill Stream improvement Project explores rehabilitation action and an adaptive management strategy informed by improvement and hydrological studies, one year’s monitoring data (mostly using citizen groups) and community engagement. Intervention meetings involved presented findings to stakeholders and community members. Issues of social inequality, division and misunderstanding were addressed. Complex problems were deliberated and ideas for solutions surfaced. This created the opportunity for learning and cohesion. The next phase involves the creation of a maintenance management plan, informed by the specialist studies and community intervention, and projects addressing socio-material challenges within the context of the ongoing Mill Stream project.
SHERAINE VAN WYK
Sheraine is the Eco-Learning manager at Whale Coast Conservation, Hermanus, where she has led the Environmental Education department since 2008. She taught Life Science and Mathematics at a various high schools for 10 years. Sheraine has a Masters degree in Environmental Education, an Honours degree in Botany/Ecology and an education diploma. She is currently completing a doctoral degree in Environmental Education through Rhodes University.

Saturday (14h30 to 15h00)
“The Padda – Skilpadsvlei proposal review” – Tracy Sampson, Environmental Control Officer, Directorate: Biodiversity and Coastal Management. Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. Western Cape Government.
Talk summary – The Paddavlei Eco Group submitted a report to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in which they appealed for assistance with the rehabilitation of the vlei and surrounding habitat. The request outlined the vision for the Paddavlei and surrounds which includes the removal of alien invasive vegetation, the rehabilitation of the vlei and assistance with management of the area. The PEG also submitted a PAIA request to the Department which will be explained during the presentation.
TRACY SAMPSON
Graduated with a National Diploma in Nature Conservation in 1991 from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I did my in-service training at the University of the Western Cape under the mentorship of Barry Low, where I stayed for 6 years. I then moved to CapeNature where I took up a post of Education Officer at Potberg Environmental Education Centre. It was at Potberg that furthered my education and obtained a BTech in Nature Conservation. I then moved to Robben Island and then to the City of Cape Town where I was a Conservation Officer at the Helderberg Nature Reserve. I then moved back to CapeNature to take up the post of Conservation Manager at both Grootvadersbos Nature Reserve and the Cederberg Wilderness Area. Thereafter I was employed with the Department of Environmental Affairs as an Area Manager for the Working for Water Programme. I retained this post for 4 years, after which I moved to Hermanus as the Implementing Agent Manager for the Overstrand Working for Water Programme. I am now employed as a Control Environment Officer (I can actually say I’m a CEO) for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development planning. 

Ruddy Turnstones - Image by Anton
Hartlaub's Gulls - Image by Anton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday (15h10 to 15h25) 

“RAMSAR status for the Bot- Kleinmond estuary: a video presentation” – Johan Rothmann.
Talk summary – This short video is an overview of South Africa's 23rd and most recent Ramsar wetland, the Bot-Kleinmond Estuarine System. The targeted audience is the traveling community in Southern Africa. So relax, sit back and enjoy.
JOHAN ROTHMANN
Since retirement, Johan combined his background in IT with his hobbies: birding, photography, videography and travel. His latest project was to visit all the Ramsar wetlands in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, and Namibia, and promote these wetlands as potential tourist destinations. 

Saturday (15h25 to 15h45)
“Stony Point: The Origins of a Main-land Seabird colony” – Cuan McGeorge of CapeNature.
Talk Summary – I am certain that most of the audience attending your workshop will have some knowledge of the reasons why there is currently a massive decline in the African Penguin population alongside other associated pelagic bird populations – although I would wish to unpack some of more relevant historical events that may have compounded and then to have hastened this decline to present day numbers. To then highlight the origins and birth of Stony Point Seabird colony and to also share some of the seasonal variations that I have witnessed during my 8 year tenure at the location with some of the adaptive processes witnessed and some measures employed to help slow the population decline of seabirds breeding at this location.
CUAN MCGEORGE
Senior Field Ranger for CapeNature at the Stony Point Seabird Breeding Colony

SUNDAY 3 SEPTEMBER

Sunday (09h00 to 09h45)
“Coastal cleanups along the Overstrand Coast, including those involving schools” - Antonio da Silva-Swart
Talk summary – I represent Coastal Cleanup Conservation: a group I started 12 months ago with volunteers along the Whale Coast. The aim of this group is to implement a sustainable programme of coastal cleanups along the Overstrand as well as do educational talks at Schools.
What is Marine Debris: Explaining a Gyre. I will present images of marine debris along our coast and explain how they end up there via gyres. What have I found along the coast during my cleanups: images. Statistics: What are the 10 most popular items picked up based on amounts. How long does it take for these items to biodegrade: images. How can you get involved: I will present some images on volunteers and what we do during a coastal clean-up. Some of these images show school learners involvement. What have we achieved in one year along our coastline.
ANTONIO DA SILVA-SWART
My name is Antonio da Silva-Swart. I am 52 and am an environmental anti-litter activist who hikes the coast of South Africa identifying marine debris hot spots. I live in Hermanus and head up a volunteer group called Coastal Cleanup Conservation. Over the past 12 months, we have done 22 cleanups along the Cape Whale Coast and we aim to do at least one cleanup every month.

Onrus coastal path on a Monday morning - Images by Elaine Odendal
Building site along the sea at Onrus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday (10h00 to 10h45)
“Plastic pollution in paradise – working towards clean beaches” – Dr Mark Brown of the Nature’s Valley Trust.
Talk summary – One of the big conservation issues globally at present is the problem of litter, and plastics in particular, pilling up in our oceans and polluting our beaches. While we don’t have as bad a problem as some parts of the world, there is a growing realisation that SA beaches are in need of help. The NVT teams has been running a research program for several years now, identifying particular user groups that contribute disproportionately more litter than other onto the beaches in Plett, and coming up with intervention and awareness programs to address this. Mark will introduce the projects, show some results, and stimulate discussion around how similar work can be done locally.

Sunday (10h55 to 11h10)
“Feedback on the success of fishing-line bins by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust” – Brenda du Toit
Talk summary – The Dyer Island Conservation Trust launched the fishing line bin programme in 2010 to recover monofilament fishing line that is responsible for many deaths and injuries of seabirds and other marine animals. The bins provide a unique icon in the fight against marine pollution and the Trust does regular beach clean ups and participates in educational efforts related to pollution.

Sunday (11h10 to 11h30)
Feedback on the success of Whale Coast Conservation’s development of the cigarette butt bin – Sheraine van Wyk of Whale Coast Conservation
Talk summary - The cigarette butt monitoring project, done in 2015 in Hermanus, provided information and statistics which motivated Whale Coast Conservation to create a campaign to address this pervasive hazardous waste item. A special purpose bin was designed and trialed and is being manufactured by Whale Coast Conservation. Various collaborations have been sought to install this bin at strategic places so that it serves a valuable purpose in reducing cigarette butts in the environment and creates awareness of the butt as a hazardous waste item. Preliminary findings on the project will be shared.

Sunday (11h40 to 12h10) "Monitoring and research on estuaries" – Pierre de Villiers, CapeNature Coastal Programme Manager

Talk summary - Estuary management has been identified as a priority for South Africa and has formally been legislated for in terms of Chapter 4 of the Integrated Coastal Management Act (2008). This Act stipulates that an estuary management plan needs to be developed for each estuary in South Africa. A National Estuarine Management Protocol (2013) guides the structure and content of the EMP as well as implementation processes. However it needs to be understood that in order to monitor implementation success a manager needs to monitor the impact of actions of the functioning of an estuary. In order to achieve this specific indicators need to be identified as well as Thresholds of Potential Concern (TPCs). Water quality as well as indicator species are used. The presentation will discuss some successes and gaps in this field.

PIERRE DE VILLIERS

Villiers M.Sc Fisheries Science Rhodes University/ Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism - Free State (1992 to 2006)/ CAPE Estuaries Programme Coordinator (2006 to 2009)/ CapeNature Coastal Programme Manager (2009 to present)

15h45 to 16h00: Concluding the session

Sunday (13h00 until closure)

A BRAINSTORMING SESSION ON THE ROAD FORWARD:
FASCILITATOR: Dr Mark Brown
ADMIN (MINUTES): Anton Odendal & Carin Malan
This will be a directed brainstorming session to come up with specific outcomes – what are the three top areas we want to initiate projects on to make a tangible difference, who would do them, and how would this be done. This will imply that the workshop ends with an expectation, with responsibilities, of work that will be done. 

Onrus estuary - Image by Anton
Hermanus old harbour - Image by Ronel Botha

 

 

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