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FEEDBACK ON THE CLEANMARINE PROJECTS IN AUGUST 2019

Posted on the 27th August 2019

PROGRESS WITH THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG CLEANMARINE CAMPAIGN ON THE CONSERVATION OF OUR COASTLINE AND ESTUARIES: REPORT FOR AUGUST 2019
BACKGROUND
This report needs to be read against the background of our initial project description at this link:
http://www.westerncapebirding.co.za/overberg/conservation/617/_birdlife_overberg_projects_aimed_at_protecting_our_coastline_and_estuaries

PROJECT 1: PROTECTING BREEDING SITES OF AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS AND WHITE-FRONTED PLOVERS ALONG OUR COASTLINE
The identification of key breeding spots 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” 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 shortly.

1.1 AFRICAN BLACK 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 during which these nesting sites, as well the area where the chicks are reared need to be protected very well.

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. 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 informal auction at BirdLife Overberg’s 2019 Xmas in July fundraising event. 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 PROPOSED ZONING OF DOGS ON BEACHES
Officials from the Environmental Division of the Overstrand Municipality agreed that a zoning system for dogs on beaches will have to be developed in time. This 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. 

1.5 GENERAL COMMENT
The development of the four projects mentioned will clearly be dependent on available funding and this issue is addressed at the end of this report and in other documentation and budgets. It will further have to be supported by extensive media campaigns and educational programmes. The BirdLife Overberg identification brochures on the common coastal birds of the Western Cape developed and printed through a grant from BirdLife South Africa will play a crucial role in this regard.

PROJECT 2: REGULAR CO-ORDINATED WATERBIRD COUNTS (CWACs) ALONG THE OVERSTRAND ESTUARIES
Comprehensive CWAC counts along the Cape Whale Coast estuaries were finally undertaken during July 2019 and the hope is expressed that these counts will be repeated on a regular quarterly basis. This will replace the quarterly Big Bird Counts undertaken by BirdLife Overberg members over the last three years. These counts are currently being coordinated by Carin Malan and the results are forwarded to Dr Giselle Murison, the Estuaries Manager at BirdLife South Africa and Pierre de Villiers of CapeNature for discussion at the meetings of the various Estuary Management Forums. The standardised protocols prescribed by the Animal Demography Unit at UCT and BirdLife South Africa are used for the counts. These counts should enable the Estuary Management Forums to make more meaningful decisions regarding the conservation of birds along these estuaries.
The various estuaries in the Overstrand being counted are:
# Palmiet river mouth

# Various sections of the Botrivervlei (These counts have been done for the last 21+ years by the Tygerberg Bird Club and partners)

• Botriver bridge to Benguela Cove

• Fisherhaven to Benguela Cove

• Fisherhaven to Meer-en-See

• Arabella Estate to Rooisand

• Rooisand area

• Kleinmond area

# Vermont salt pan and Onrus lagoon (Ad hoc counts from the past are available)

# Kleinriver estuary – the area around the mouth (Ad hoc counts from the past are available)

# Kleinriver estuary – the upper reaches at Stanford

# The Uilenkraals Estuary

Some of the organisations involved in these counts include the Tygerberg, Kleinmond, Hermanus and Stanford Bird Clubs, BirdLife Overberg, CapeNature and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

PROJECT 3: ERECTING FISHING LINE BINS ALONG THE OVERSTRAND COASTLINE
The last ten fishing line bins will be set up at previously identified spots along the Hermanus cliff path and at Sandbaai soon. 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 and we had systematically worked the rest. Regular media releases and radio interviews will continue as and when needed. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Brenda du Toit of DICT and John Kieser of Plastics SA for the provision of the bins and other materials and for their ongoing support in this regard.

PROJECT 4: CIGARETTE BUTT BINS ALONG THE OVERSTRAND COASTLINE
The setting up of cigarette butt bins along our coastline is under investigation and consultations in this regard were previously undertaken with Whale Coast Conservation, the Overstrand municipality and the Onrus Litter Ladies. Discussions in this regard were also undertaken with 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.

PROJECT 5: MONTHLY COASTAL CLEANUPS
# Monthly coastal cleanups have been undertaken during most months since October 2017 and previously between 2006 and 2008. Reports on these monthly cleanups are being published on a regular basis and the results of the quantities of the various items gathered are collated and submitted to John Kieser of Plastics SA on the standard international forms developed by the Oceans Conservancy in Washington. We need to investigate ways of getting more members and other volunteers involved in these cleanups. We express our sincere appreciation to Elaine Odendal and Helé Oosthuizen for managing this process and to John Kieser for the provision of plastic bags, other equipment and support. 

# Discussions were recently undertaken with Liezl de Villiers and her staff in view of developing a huge coastal cleanup along the entire Overstrand coastline for International Coastal Cleanup Day on 21 September 2019. This project is being coordinated by Steven Nlokwana of the municipality and already some 20 agencies, clubs and schools have committed support for this effort. An initial media release in this regard is currently being developed. It is proposed that this effort be repeated regularly on a quarterly and maybe even monthly basis.

# We are further continuing with a sustained campaign to minimise the use of single use plastics throughout the Overstrand region 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.

PROJECT 6: ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS
A variety of environmental education campaigns are ongoing.
# 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.

# A review of the CleanMarine campaign has also been incorporated into both the Flight for Birders and Flight Higher course and has been presented in 14 courses until now. It will also be included in a further six courses for the rest of the year. Several members have also presented talks on related topics to a variety of bird clubs, school groups and other organisations. We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all for their continued support with this important educational work.

# The identification brochure on the common coastal birds was revamped to include text describing our conservation campaigns focusing on the African Black Oystercatcher as bird of the year 2018. The new brochure was developed and printed after we received a grant to do so from the Important Bird and Biodiversity division of BirdLife South Africa. Our appreciation goes to Dale Wright for facilitating this process. 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.

# As in the past we will again collaborate with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust during the annual schools competition in support of national marine month in October. Planning meetings have already been undertaken with the national, provincial and municipal environmental departments and divisions, as well as CapeNature participating. The majority of schools along the Overstrand coast will be participating and we will again serve as judges during the competition.

FUNDRAISING
It is evident that significant amounts of money will have to be raised in order to sustain and support these projects. It has become increasingly difficult for members of the club to raise such funds without BirdLife Overberg being registered as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO). For this reason the committee has decided in principle to continue with such registration. A general circular in this regard in view of gaining the support of the membership will be sent out by Elaine shortly.

Our appreciation goes to project sponsors such as several club members, Dale Wright of the IBA division of BirdLife South Africa and John Kieser of Plastics SA.
Anton Odendal
21 August 2019.

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