March 1, 2024

River Restoration Day

Conservation at Work: River Restoration Day Addresses Flooding Challenges in the

Western Cape

Extreme Weather and Flooding in the Western Cape

The Western Cape region faced quite a year in 2023, with extreme weather events leaving a lasting impact. Among the areas hit was the Botriver region in the Overberg. The river’s relentless force eroded its banks, wreaking havoc on infrastructure, croplands, riverbanks and triggering landslides along the hillsides. These natural events pose significant challenges for local communities, leaving landowners grappling with the aftermath and seeking assistance.

Collaboration and Support

In response to the urgent need for help, the Diepklowe Conservation Trust and De Rust drew on their relationship with CapeNature through the protected area network. Together, they initiated a conversation, seeking advice and assistance for the damage inflicted upon landowners during the devastating flooding events. The goal was clear: to explore effective mitigation strategies and restoration efforts.

River Restoration Day at Porcupine Hills Guest Farm

On February 22, 2024, a collaborative effort unfolded as multiple organizations came together to host a River Restoration Day at the beautiful Porcupine Hills Guest Farm. The event attracted a diverse group of stakeholders:

  • 24 Landowners: Individuals directly impacted by the floods, each with a vested interest in restoring their properties.
  • 19 Partners & Officials: Representatives from various organizations and government bodies.

Key Highlights of the River Restoration Day

  1. Welcome and Overview: Tony and Tobin Davenport, who represente the Diepklowe Conservation Trust, set the tone by providing an insightful overview of the damage across Porcupine Hills Guest Farm (Diepklowe Nature Reserve). This was an example of the damage that can be seen throughout the valley. This was supported by Dr. Cluver who contributed a brief history of the flood damage that occurred on De Rust Nature Reserve as well as mitigation steps and adapted management they are looking to implement. Here he highlighted the need to allow the river space to move with no planned replanting of orchards in the affected floodplain.
  2. Climate Change and Risk Assessment: Professor Stephanie Midgley from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the region’s ongoing efforts in climate change adaptation and risk assessment.
  3. Landslip Management and Restoration Options: Dr. Andrew Turner, Restoration Ecologist | Integrated Catchments at CapeNature, shared practical strategies for handling landslips. His expertise guided landowners toward effective restoration options.
  4. Field Advice and Practical Insights: Johann van Biljon from Intaba provided on-site guidance, emphasizing the importance of hands-on approaches to restoration. His field advice was invaluable.
  5. Flood Damage Assessment: Gary Jones and Ashia Petersen from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture presented an update on the flood impact and damages in the Overberg district. A key point that was raised is around the recovery of funds that typically flow through the Water Use Agencies and Irrigation Boards from the Western Cape Government. It became evident that the area where the River Restoration Day was being held, seemed to fall in a gap that is not covered by these structures. However, it was an opportunity to recognise other legislated platforms that covers landowners in this area, platforms such as the Groenlandberg Conservancy and Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association.  A success of the day was linking this area to a network which can then be investigated as to whether funds could flow through these other structures.

The River Restoration Day highlighted the need for collective action and we hope that this day enabled the answers to many questions as well as resilience for restoration. A huge thank you to all the partners involved.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Diepklowe Conservation Trust
Email: info@diepkloweconservation.org
Phone: +27 123 456 789
For further information on the Diepklowe Conservation Trust, please see visit the link: Diepklowe Nature ReserveHowever, it was an opportunity to investigate other legislated platforms that covers landowners in this area.

 

                                  Afternoon excursion on the afternoon of the River Restoration Day

                                Dr. Cluver giving an overview of their experience on De Rust Nature Reserve

                                   Tobin Davenpoort giving a welcome to the River Restoration Day at Diepklowe Nature Reserve

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