Residents invited to join City Nature Challenge this weekend

The lockdown version of the City Nature Challenge will run from Friday, 24 April until Monday, 27 April 2020. Residents are encouraged to participate, because even when only the natural environment at our homes are considered, Cape Town remains one of the most biodiverse cities in the world. To take part, participants simply have to upload their findings on the iNaturalist app. Read more below:

High resolution photographs are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4xp6s3xuczqhqyq/AAB5X41Jd5oZwBK0Q6A7fwWfa?dl=0

The weather forecast for the weekend is sunny, and the City Nature Challenge is an ideal opportunity for residents to discover insects, plants, reptiles, and animals at their residences, be it in a flat, or a garden.

‘We encourage residents to have fun with the lockdown City Nature Challenge this year. It is one way of keeping busy and a healthy distraction. All that is required from participants to take part is to download the iNaturalist app and to search for and record all plants that are growing on their own and the wild organisms that live in and around their houses and properties. Keep it simple, think big or small, whether it be plants in your garden; birds that are attracted to your property or even mosquitoes; spiders, snails or weeds. The goal is to ignite some interest in nature and the environment even during lockdown when we are all requested to stay at home, and inside. Those with gardens can turn a search for bugs into a mini adventure for the kids,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

The City Nature Challenge will not be a competition this year, but rather a community building exercise during a period where most global cities are adhering to various lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19. It is an opportunity for Capetonians and the rest of the world to take part in one challenge over the same weekend as they discover their natural environments at home.

‘I see this challenge as a means of connecting with some form of nature to relieve the stress and anxiety we are all facing at the moment. It is also a time to unite and collaborate with an interesting digital community of citizen and community scientists around the world. Residents can celebrate the simplicity of nature no matter where they are during the lockdown – be it from their gardens, balconies, windows, or any area which attracts some life,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

The City has created a helpful checklist of species commonly found in gardens and suburban areas during autumn in Cape Town. This can be downloaded from the iNaturalist website.

Some of the plants, birds, insects, reptiles and mammals that can be commonly found during Cape Town’s autumn season include the:

·         Cape Honeysuckle and Bietou Bush flower;

·         Red-Eyed Dove and Southern Double-collared Sunbird

·         Cape Autumn Widow Butterfly

·         Marbled Leaf-Toed Gecko

·         Cape Rain Spider and the White Italian Snail

There are many ways to look for nature in your home and backyard – find insects by looking under rocks and logs, or create a ‘beat sheet’ by placing either a pan, sheet or box under a tree or bush to collect the flightless bugs that gather there.

In order to participate in the challenge, participants need to download the iNaturalist.com app, register and share their observations by uploading all their findings on the app. Observations can be recorded anywhere within the City of Cape Town borders. Participants also stand a chance to win some spot prizes.

Participants may record any plant, animal, fungi, slime, mould or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses) found in Cape Town and should not forget to record the location of their findings.

‘I want to remind all to please adhere to the lockdown rules, and to participate in the City Nature Challenge from their homes,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

Please find the species checklist via the following link:

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-cape-town/journal/33445-city-checklist

The iNaturalist website also provides helpful tips on doing the challenge from home via the following links: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/lockdown-cape-town/journal/32290-bioblitzing-your-home-and-garden,)

For more information, contact Eleanor Hutchings at Eleanor.Hutchings@capetown.gov.za or Tony Rebelo at t.rebelo@sanbi.org.za or visit https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-cape-town

Sewage spill

23 March 2020

Please be advised that a sewage spill was detected to be coming down the Langevlei Canal this morning (23/03/20) and entering the Sand river canal. The issue was traced to a pump station upstream and rectified however untreated effluent has entered the system and will soon enter the main Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve waterbody.

Bioenzymes are being applied to the effluent in the Sand river and we shall continue monitoring the spill to ascertain it’s extent and severity but in the interim, we are advising users to exercise caution and avoid the northern sections and shoreline of the Zandvlei waterbody until further notice.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please distribute the above message to your constituents and contacts for dissemination.

Kind regards,

Kyran Wright

Reserve Manager: Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

PROTECTED AREAS NOTICE:

Please be advised that, as the Management Authority for Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve and according to R6(e) of the Regulations for the Proper Administration of Nature Reserves (GNR 99 of 8 February 2012), we shall be CLOSING THE GATED ACCESS SECTIONS OF ZANDVLEI ESTUARY NATURE RESERVE to all members of the public until further notice, as per the direction of the City Manager. 

The closure shall apply to the Northern section of the Reserve (Bird Sanctuary), Park Island and the Zandvlei lookout (formerly known as the Rendezvous). The purpose of this closure is as a precautionary measure to deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic. These areas are indicated in red on the map overleaf. 

This decision has not been taken lightly and we are aware that the above actions will cause disruptions and inconvenience to Reserve users. We are entering an unprecedented time that calls for greater awareness and teamwork. It is incumbent upon all of us to support the national effort to reduce infections. 

It is important to note that the Open Access sections of the Reserve and waterbody remain open for use by the public. 

NOTICE: CLOSURE OF ZANDVLEI ESTUARY NATURE RESERVE

Please be advised that due to the global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus, the President of the Republic’s pronouncement on 15 March and directives from the City Manager, we are unfortunately closing the following sections of Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve to members of the public, effective immediately, until further notice:

–          Northern section (Bird Sanctuary)

–          Park Island

–          Zandvlei Lookout (formerly known as the Rendezvous)

This decision has not been taken lightly and we are aware that the above actions will cause disruptions and inconvenience to Reserve users. We are entering an unprecedented time that calls for greater awareness and teamwork. It is incumbent upon all of us to support the national effort to reduce infections.

It is important to note that the Open Access sections of the Reserve and waterbody remain open for use by the public. Please note the official press release below and Protected Area Notice attached.

Kyran Wright

Reserve Manager: Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve

Biodiversity Management Branch

Environmental Management Department

Physical Address: Coniston Park, Coniston Avenue, Steenberg

Water quality monitoring

HELP NEEDED: Calling citizen scientists: We are working on sourcing and interpreting data to give a weekly updated ‘dashboard’ of the water quality of the vlei. We need help on generating the data and a way to embed it in an useful way on the website. Keen to help? Please get in touch: admin@zpaac.org.za. Check out other ways to get involved here.

Something along the lines of 

E.coli levels (big circle coloured red/orange/green)

link to what this means

(one or two other parameters of importance)

Bottom line: Smiley face or sad face

Short description

Salinity measurement method (pdf, 300 kB)