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Invasive clearing in Cape Town: Khayelitsha

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Sections of the EersteKuils River as well as wetlands alongside high-density housing suburbs in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, were the focus of an inter-departmental project between the departments of Transport, Roads and Stormwater, City Parks and the Invasive Species Unit (ISU).

Being used as a dumping site for old tyres, tins and sewage, the wetlands in Khayelitsha were badly polluted, with high nutrient levels in the water. Water hyacinth had taken over the open water areas of the wetlands.

Aquatic teams were moved into the EersteKuils River in September 2011 and later moved into the Khayelitsha wetlands, working on this project throughout the summer. They started by removing tons of rubbish and large quantities of water hyacinth.

The teams use ropes to collect the water hyacinth and then remove the biomass manually, using large canvas sheets. Booms were used to cordon off cleared areas to prevent reinvasion by water hyacinth. The teams are monitoring the different management reaches to remove any reoccurring invasive plants before they re-establish.