The Coves Biodiversity Plan

AIMS AND BENEFITS

  • Integrated Environmental Management
  • Biodiversity Improvement
  • Catchment Management
  • Sustainable Development Principles
  • Waste Minimisation
  • Operational Best Practices
  • Water Resource Protection
  • Communication & Awareness
  • Stormwater Management & Erosion Control
  • Aquatic Ecosystem Habitat Preservation, Creation & Optimisation
  • Integrated Water Use Licenses Artificial
  • Functional Wetland & Grey Water Re-use

Woodland and wetland

Wetlands provide numerous immensely beneficial and valuable eco-system services which are unique and inherent for people and wildlife including; cleaning, filtrating and purifying the water; reducing sediments; storing (like a sponge) and slowing floodwaters; maintaining surface water flow; wildlife habitat and biological productivity. The woodland within the drainage-line and wetland ecosystem also provides important wildlife habit.

  • To have a holistic approach.
  • To identify, manage and control the Alien Invader Species (AIS).
  • To incorporate Indigenous and Endemic Vegetation Species.
  • To preserve the current biodiversity and promote biodiversity improvement.
  • To include short-term and long-term actions.
  • To include Applicable Legislation.
  • To use the AIS which have been removed for uses such as mulching in the Woodland, firewood, sitting logs and stabilisation of the roads and trails which traverse the wetland
  • To phase-out the AIS and re-plant with indigenous, endemic species within an estimated 15—20-year timeframe, as approved by the Woodland environmental subcommittee.
  • Please refer to the Woodland and Wetland Ecosystem Sustainable Development Plan for full details.
  • A Vegetation Identification Factsheet has been compiled as well as a Suggested Tree and Vegetation List for replanting.

Biomass establishment

To re-establish the shoreline and bufferzone vegetation along the Hartbeespoort Dam. This serves vital functions for the protection of water quality and performs beneficial and valuable eco-system services including: filtration and reduction of sediments, nutrients, pathogens and toxins in runoff; bank stability; reduction of erosion; as well as valuable habitat for wildlife.

Floating wetlands will be incorporated, and a boom to manage the hyacinth, litter and algae.

  • To include waste minimisation principles by utilising the Water Hyacinth as mulch under the trees, and the Kariba Weed as mulch in the bufferzone.
  • To include a variety of vegetation species within the rehabilitation of the shoreline. The more varied the species – the more wildlife they will support.
  • To include open areas to allow for recreational activities, such as fishing.
  • The floating wetlands will be incorporated in conjunction with the Department of Water Affairs’ Metsi a Me programme. These provide numerous benefits in terms of water purification and Biodiversity improvement and form part of an important aquatic foodweb.
  • To manage the litter, water hyacinth and algae in this area, which is blown into the bay by the predominant wind from the north. The implementation of a boom will assist with this.

Bass Dam

Even though Bass Dam is man-made, it performs important water filtration functions via the filtration of nutrients within the incoming water from the catchment.

The aim is to improve the variety of vegetation species, which will sustain a diversity of wildlife; these all form part of a balanced food web.

A certain percentage of vegetation is required to maintain that balanced food web, which will result in improved water quality.

  • To include different categories of plants (floating, submerged and marginal) as they perform different functions within a Balanced Food-web, as well as provide different habitats for different wildlife species.
  • To include 4 inspection ‘strips’ on the dam wall – whereby the vegetation is kept short. The purpose of these are to observe if any leak sites are visible. New trees which emerge, will be removed, as they pose a risk to the stability of the dam wall.
  • The Bass Dam Ecosystem Sustainable Development Management Plan and the Vegetation Identification Factsheet are being compiled. This includes short, medium and long-term goals. The Suggested Vegetation List for re-planting has been compiled.
  • Several indigenous vegetation species are present: this includes Schoenoplectus, Bulrush and Phragmites. They perform vital functions in terms of water purification, as well as provide habit for a myriad of wildlife. They are part of an important food web that should be preserved, therefore in certain areas where filtration is paramount, (such as the inlet) – they will be encouraged to multiply.

Frog Sanctuary

The Frog Sanctuary, which is also a seepage wetland, is located on the western boundary of the Woodland & Wetland Ecosystem, where seven species have been identified in 2003. This area has been classified as a protected area.

http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/the-coves-project-2003-03-28

To include Appropriate Management Protocols: (Short-term actions)

  • No cutting or mowing of the grass.
  • No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or chemicals to be used.
  • Indigenous, endemic (local) vegetation and grasses are promoted which are adapted to flourish in wetland and riparian conditions.