DUCT News July 2013

 

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2013 so far…..

News from the field…

DUCT ECO-FURNITURE PROJECT

DUCT recently received funding from the Dept. of Environmental Affairs – Natural Resource Management Programme – to assist in the expansion of their “Eco Furniture Project” in KZN.

Two of DUCT’s river care teams are now involved in sourcing “over-sized” non-indigenous trees, in the areas in which they are already working on alien invasive plant removal.

These large trees – including Gum, Pine, Casarina, Jacaranda, Syringa SPP – are felled, de-branched, and logged into 2.4m lengths, before being processed into 120mm X 120mm X 2.4m “cants” – which are then delivered to the Eco Furniture factories.

Once properly dried, these ‘cants’ are then planked and used in the production of affordable coffins, school desks, church and outdoor furniture. DUCT is pleased to be involved with this project – which is a “win’-win” use of an otherwise thirsty resource, which hitherto was ring barked, poisoned and left to rot before eventually falling into nearby water bodies.

Careful consideration of raptor nesting requirements is undertaken, prior to any felling.

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DUCT’S CONTINUOUS INVOLVEMENT IN SEWERAGE AND SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN THE DUSI CATCHMENT

It is of much concern to DUCT that the situation around the prevention of sewerage and solid waste from contaminating our water-courses, has worsened during recent months. Surcharging sewer manholes, leaking sewer pipes, and the staggering amount - (worst in many years – confirmed by a municipal official!) – of mainly domestic waste accumulating along each of the Msundusi catchments river banks, does not bode well for downstream systems, including the Durban beaches, during and after the fast approaching rainy season.

Now that our DUCT Lottery Funding has ended (May 2013), DUCT will continue to assist the embattled municipalities in the catchment, where and whenever possible, with the reduced resources at our disposal.

- Doug Burden, DUCT General Manager 

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CREEPY CRAWLIES IN DURBAN

Whilst the Midlands is still being subjected to some cold mornings, the coastal region is enjoying a very mild winter. This gives our bug friends, the biocontrol agents, a head start on breeding and multiplying, and thus reducing the spread of some of the common Invasive Alien Plants on our doorsteps.  A field trip to Inanda with two of our SANBI interns, Sanele and Siya,  was very enlightening with them getting hands on experience looking for and finding the biocontrol agents on Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce, as well as Parrots Feather.

This was followed up the next day with a trip to the canals in Prospecton, and we discovered the Bugweed  agent Anthonomus santacruzii.  The Water Hyacinth in the area was riddled with Neochetina weevils  and also wilting under the stress of a fungal infection, also specific to hyacinth. There were no signs of the hyacinth moth Niphograpta which I had seen there two months previously. Continuous Biocontrol releases were done in the Pumphouse area with Neohydronomus released  on Water Lettuce.  Karen Hope, Biocontrol officer for Working for Water KZN also teamed up with a Durban Green Corridor Trail guides at the headwaters of Inanda Dam to release Lysathia on Parrots feather.

SASRI have asked our Durban Green Corridor team at Inanda Seminary not to chop down the Bugweed trees as they are collecting Anthonomus from the area.

A very exciting find at the Durban Green Corridor site at Kwadabeka (under the New Bridge at Pumphouse weirs) was the presence of the Aceria mite on LantanaAceria is a mite which forms galls on the flowers of Lantana thus reducing its’ ability to produce fruit and seed. Anthonomus is also present  at Kwadabeka in the tall Bugweed trees.

- Bart Fokkens, DUCT Field Manager

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Biocontrol releases were done in the Pumphouse area with Neohydronomus released  on Water Lettuce.  Karen Hope, Biocontrol officer for Working for Water KZN also teamed up with a Durban Green Corridor Trail guides at the headwaters of Inanda Dam to release Lysathia on Parrots feather.

SASRI have asked our Durban Green Corridor team at Inanda Seminary not to chop down the Bugweed trees as they are collecting Anthonomus from the area.

A very exciting find at the Durban Green Corridor site at Kwadabeka (under the New Bridge at Pumphouse weirs) was the presence of the Aceria mite on LantanaAceria is a mite which forms galls on the flowers of Lantana thus reducing its’ ability to produce fruit and seed. Anthonomus is also present  at Kwadabeka in the tall Bugweed trees.

- Bart Fokkens, DUCT Field Manager

MAYDAY FOR RIVERS 2013

So many people asked us what we were planning to do for Mayday 2013. We were planning another walk, however, as often happens to the best laid plans, things didn’t work out. The walk will still happen later this year, but notwithstanding, in May everyone managed to accomplish something towards cleaner, healthier rivers. To read about these activities and keep up to date with the Mayday for Rivers team, please visit the blog at www.umngeniriverwalk.word-press.com.

- Penny Rees

TALBOT TRAIL RUN SERIES – WINTER 2013 

The Talbot Trail Run Winter Series was a great success, thanks to Andrew Booth of KZN Trail Running and Talbot Laboratories. The three events were held in June and July, at Maweni Trail Centre; PMB’s Table Mountain; and Fauklands Farm just outside Pietermaritzburg. DUCT are the dedicated beneficiaries of these events, so we ‘d like to say a special thank you to Talbot Laboratories, the event sponsors. This sponsorship, and the income earned from this fund raising initiative, help to keep DUCT in operation, striving for cleaner and healthier Msundusi and uMngeni Rivers. The Series was a huge success, thoroughly enjoyed by runners and walkers alike. We look forward to working with both KZN Trail Running and Talbot Laboratories later in 2013 for the Summer Series…. Watch this space.

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SANBI GROEN SEBENZA PROGRAM

As of 1st of May DUCT was assigned 4 Incubants for a period of 30 months under SANBI`s Groen Sebenza Program. The Groen Sebenza incentive is nation-wide, involving some 800 Incubants and 34 Host organisations in partnership with DBSA, who are funding the project. Duct`s Incubants include three graduates in the fields of Environmental studies and Forestry and one matriculate, who will set up a schools Environmental Education programme. As a way of introduction, the Incubants and their Qualifications are viz: Kholoza Magudu (BSc Environmental Sciences. BSc Hons. Ecological Sciences); Sanele Vilikazi (BSoc Science. Specialising in Geography and Environmental Management); Siyabonga Ndlovu (Nat. Dip. Forestry. BTech Forestry). Wendy Ngcobo (A matriculate and part of DUCT`s administrative staff) .Each Incubant has initially been assigned specific tasks all aligned to DUCT`s Vision. Kholoza to the field of River Health ( Diseases, eg Bilharzia. SASS 5 . Pollution episodes.); Sanele to the field of Alien Plant control including bio control; Siyabonga to the field of Sand winning, Soil Erosion and Legal Applications. Wendy to continue on expanding her already very successful Schools Education Program. The idea behind the exercise is to assist the Incubants to become more easily employable in the future , while assisting DUCT in attaining its Visions. Mentoring the Incubants is John Butler who will welcome any mentoring or professional advice that you can offer relating to the above fields of interest.

A day was spent at SASRI by kind permission of the Bio Control Section , identifying the various organisms being used in the field of bio control.

Here from left to right are DUCT`s incubants Sanele, Kholoza and Siyabonga searching for Neocetina in a tank of Eichornia crassipes.

Welcome to the team Kholoza, Siya, and Sanele.

-  John Butler, DUCT SANBI Mentor and Pollution Control

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DUCT RIVER CARE TEAMS – IN THE FIELD

Two DUCT teams, both of which operate down in the valley, merged to work at Edmond’s farm below Campbell’s bridge.  The area was totally choked by a variety of terrestrial alien species. After 3 weeks of hard work the area is in much better condition, and currently Jacob’s team is busy doing follow up work leaving no stone unturned. While carrying on with follow up work at Edmond’s farm, Jacobs’s team spotted a few patches of water hyacinth ( Eichornia crassipes) ,but they not rapidly growing.

Below are photos, in order, of the Edmonds Farm before clearing; the Edmonds Farm after 3 weeks of clearing by the DUCT teams; and DUCT field worker spraying water hyacinth with Kilomax.

- Sithembiso Sangweni, DUCT Field teams Manager

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DUCT ECO CLUBS 2013 

We have 9 more schools joining our Eco Club, from the Mafunze area, that Hlengiwe Nxele (facilitator) now educates on Environmental issues. The DUCT Eco Club is now going to join the WESSA Eco Schools, so that we can monitor if the schools are continuing with the work that they need to do after they graduate from the DUCT Eco Club. Such as starting an Eco Club of their own, and adopting a stretch of river or a stream.

5 learners from different secondary schools were choosen to participate in a Water Workshop, which took place in Howick, at uMngeni Valley, facilitated by Louine Boothway. Below are a number of photos, of some of our schools attending the DUCT Eco Club – learning about our Rivers; our environment; how to look after our environment; and why we need to!

-Wendy Ngcobo, DUCT Eco Club Co-ordinator

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CONGRATULATIONS

Huge congratulations to our Field Team Manager, Sithembiso Sangweni, for graduating in April 2013, with a Btech in Nature Conservation from Mangosuthu University of Technology in Durban. Well done on your hard work Sthem.

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THANK YOU

We’d like to take this opportunity to bid farewell to a wonderful man, Mr Joshua Xaba. Joshua sadly passed away in April 2013. Joshua was a DUCT Field Supervisor, working with DUCT for nearly 3 years. He was a kind and friendly person, who was committed to DUCT’s objectives and the environment. We at DUCT would like to thank him, and we send our condolences to Joshua’s wife, Mrs Prisca Xaba; his daughters Nozipho Xaba, Mbali Xaba, Thabisa Xaba and his son Sfiso Xaba.

Yours in conserving the Duzi and uMngeni Rivers,

The DUCT team

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