The beach is constantly changing, every day will be different. Sometimes the beach seems empty with very little lying along the high water mark but generally there will be bits of driftwood, soft sponges or hard coral, redbait polyps, shark egg cases and of course bits and pieces of shell. But every now and again something unusual happens, either a rare find or sometimes lots and lots of things wash out at the same time.
Mass washout events of invertebrates and fish species occur intermittently both across our beaches and over time. Until fairly recently these events may have gone relatively unnoticed. However, today an unusual event is quickly advertised through facebook and other online media.
The most recent event in the Garden Route included the washout of relatively high numbers of fish.
Two days prior to wash out we experienced strong and sustained easterly winds. Driving along the coastline this wind starts to cause the inshore surface waters to move away from the coastline which in turn starts to pull up colder deeper water to the surface. The easterly winds essentially drive a very large and effective water pump. If the water temperature drops quickly, fish are unable to adapt and are stunned by the cold water. Stunned and unable to swim they then wash ashore.
Although a natural event which provides plenty of easy food for many seabirds and beach scavengers, satellite derived wind data shows that since the early 1990’s the intensity and variability of upwelling along the south coast has increased with potential implications for marine life.
Changes in wind patterns and water temperature have the potential to impact the productivity and species composition of plankton which in turn can influence the abundance of small pelagic fish (e.g. sardines, anchovies) with consequences for larger predators (both fish and bird). In addition an increase in upwelling will increase the offshore movement of surface waters and along with it fish larvae drifting southwards from the more easterly spawning grounds may well be lost. Ultimately the consequences of increased upwelling are likely to be complex and variable.
During the February upwelling a number of species washed up along the coastline but our surveys of the event indicated that the majority of the fish impacted were juvenile red tjor tjor, santer and maasbanker. Of these santer are an important species within the ski-boat linefishery and we will have to wait and see if this upwelling event will have impacted catch rates in 3 to 4 years when these fish would have been large enough to catch.
Article written by SANParks marine ecologist, Kyle Smith
The Integrated Development Planning (IDP) Unit of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) on 3 August 2018, hosted the Western Cape Districts Integrated Forum. The meeting was attended by IDP Managers from the GRDM, Overberg District Municipality, Cape Winelands District Municipality, as well as a representative from the Auditor-General South Africa.
The aim of the meeting was to achieve the cross-district alignment of key performance areas in terms of Integrated Development Planning and to share challenges faced by the IDP function. Best practices pertaining to the function itself, the readiness of the IDP process as per the legislative framework, as well as the establishment of an inter-district IDP support platform, were also discussed at the engagement. During the meeting, the IDP managers exchanged their process plans, as well as time schedules and agreed that future Western Cape Districts Integrated Forum Meetings will take place prior to the Provincial IDP Managers Forum meetings. The change in meeting schedule, will ensure better outcomes to be expected and more effective decisions to be made at the Provincial IDP Managers meetings.
Manager of the IDP Unit at GRDM, Mr Mzukisi Cekiso, commented on the manner in which the engagement transpired and said: “It was an excellent Provincial IDP Budget & Performance Management System Alignment engagement, which focused on the importance of districts offering support to one another and finding solutions to common challenges. This is paramount for the progress of the Western Cape as an entirety,” Mr Cekiso added.
It is envisaged that the Forum meetings will take place on a quarterly basis to continue with the progress of proper Integrated Development Planning across districts in the Western Cape.
The Eden District Municipality (Eden DM) hosted its first Integrated Development Planning (IDP)/Budget and Performance Management System (PMS) Representative Forum on 21 and 22 May 2018 at the Civic Centre of Mossel Bay.
The list of invitees included municipal officials from the Eden District, including Bitou, Mossel Bay, Knysna, George, Kannaland, Oudtshoorn and Hessequa municipalities, Ward Committee Members, as well as Provincial Government Department representatives. Their role at the event was to fill the gaps for services delivery which will ultimately be incorporated into the 2018/2019 – 2021/2022 IDPs of the participating municipalities within the area.
In officially starting off the event on the 21th of May, Executive Deputy Mayor of Eden DM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, emphasised the importance of cooperative governance and said: “It is extremely important when Municipalities, Ward Committees and Government Departments work together on one IDP to effectively deliver services to the residents of the area”.
The Executive Mayor of Eden DM, once again, as in similar preceding occasions of this magnitude, emphasised the issue of competitiveness between municipalities, when he said: “We as municipalities do not have to compete with one another. “We have different roles to fulfil”. He also made an example of Imbizos hosted by Municipalities. “When a local municipality wants to host an Imbizo, they can do so and we as a district can assist. He also explained that when the District wants to host an Imbizo, it can also be done within a municipal jurisdiction of the Eden district, but it must be done in collaboration with the relevant B-municipality,” he clarified.
In the demographic profile presented by Mayor Booysen, he stated that the poverty rate per headcount stands at 48, 5% which is worrying.
Given the recent water challenges of the District, Mayor Booysen also raised the issue of Eden DM who applied to become a water services authority and said that some municipalities in the district do not have the capacity to deal with their water challenges. “By becoming a water services authority, we need to look at the realities of our district,” he said. “Through these efforts, Mayor Booysen highlighted: “We want to be a caring, respectful and resourceful District. We want to inspire and we want to excel in whatever we do,” he added.
On the 1st day’s programme, Municipalities presented their challenges and gaps within their respective areas, which included: water storage facilities, storm water management facilities, the issue of land, funding, waste management facilities, unemployed youth, to name but a few. In response to all the questions posed by delegates in relation to the land issues, Mayor Booysen responded by saying: “We probably need to host a land summit in the near future to cover the issues of land per area”.
On day 2 of the Forum, Governmental Sector Departments presented the various services which they deliver to the communities within the Eden District. These Departments include: The Department of Agriculture, South African Police Services, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Department of Community Safety, Department of Human Settlements, Department of Education Department of Transport and Public Works etc. Delegates used the time availed to them to pose questions. The need for drug rehabilitation centres, additional SAPS services or satellite offices, additional ambulance services etc. were amongst the issues raised. Limited funding to roll out projects and the effects of water shortages etc. were also mentioned.
Executive Mayors, Executive Deputy Mayors and Councillors as well as Senior Officials, representatives from sector departments and ward committee members were amongst the guests who attended and participated in the discussions that will contribute to the planning of IDPs for the 2018/19 financial year.
The event was successfully organised by the IDP Section of Eden District Municipality led by Mzukisi Cekiso and directed by Speaker of Eden DM, Councillor Mark Willemse.
Theme – “Bridging the Skills Gap for Investment and Economic Growth”
Eden District Municipality, in collaboration with Western Cape Government (the Office of the Premier), South Cape Economic Partnership (SCEP) and B-Municipalities in the district, will be hosting an Eden District Skills Summit. The Summit will take place as follows:
Date: 1 February 2018 Time: 08:00 for 9:00 Venue: George City Hall, (York Street, George)
Background and purpose of the Skills Summit
South Africa is currently challenged with a slow growing economy, which has had a direct effect on job creation, especially for the youth. The disastrous fires that raged through the Knysna and Bitou Municipal areas during 2017, further complicated this challenge.
Consequently the Eden District Skills Summit has been scheduled to identify and address the shortage of skills. The Premier of the Western Cape, Ms Helen Zille, will deliver the keynote address with much emphasis on the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative (GRII) which has to date, played a major role in reversing the effects that the June 2017 fires had on the region. Delegates from Municipalities in the Eden district will attend the event, they include: Executive Mayors, Councillors and Senior Management, academic institutions and various other key partners.
The Garden Route Investment Conference (GRIC) will follow soon after the Skills Summit and is scheduled to take place on 8 and 9 March. The aim of the GRIC is to attract national and international investors by showcasing the investment potential and opportunities that the region offers. Skills development plays a key role with regards to Investment and the information gathered at the Skills Summit will form part of the discussions at the GRIC.