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City to clear invasive plants

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The City of Cape Town Invasive Species programme in collaboration with City Parks, Roads and Stormwater departments will deploy teams to clear invasive plants in Constantia, Tokai, Westlake, Lakeside, Muizenberg and Clovelly this week. Clearing will also take place along the banks of the Prinseskasteel, Keyser and Westlake Rivers.

Approximately 20 workers will be deployed. Clearing work will commence on Tuesday September 13 and continue for a period of eight weeks. The plan is to follow up again in March/April 2012 to make sure that all invasions are under control.

Identifying emerging invader plants

The City’s Early Detection and Rapid Response Programme working with the country’s top botanists, taxonomists and invasion biology specialists, the City has identified potentially problematic invader plant populations. By removing these invader populations quickly, the City hopes to mitigate negative impacts on local flora and contain the potential for costly removals or control when the populations explode out of control.

Speed is the key to halting the invasion of plants that produce copious offspring and spread at rapid rates to dominate local landscapes of biodiversity rich flora. The aim is to remove these plants whilst they are still relatively small and localized, thereby protecting the future of biodiversity in the Cape Peninsula.

Teams will use integrated methods to remove aquatic, terrestrial and emerging invader weeds. Herbicides will not be used as it is the breeding season of the Western Leopard Toad and special care will be taken at breeding sites to ensure they are not negatively impacted.

Call to motorists

Invasive plants will be cleared as part of a local community partnership in Clovelly. In this area, the objective is to get the area under control to make it easier for volunteers to maintain the level of invasive plants going forward.

In the Westlake and Muizenberg area, work will commence on Boyes Drive and Old Boyes Drive. As teams will be working to remove branches on road verges in areas with dangerous blind spots, motorists are asked to please drive carefully and avoid speeding.

Work will also take place on Erf 13087 opposite the Westlake Golf Course and next to Stonehurst Estate. The area has been partially cleared and the aim is to follow up on earlier clearings and clear the remaining sections of the property.

The Cape Town Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) programme is funded by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) which implements a National EDRR Programme for plant invasions on behalf of Working for Water, National Resource Management Programmes (NRMP), Department of Environmental Affairs.