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GENERAL MEETING 31 August 2017

 

Evan welcomed everyone and Graeme opened the meeting with a prayer.

1      Present :  Evan Powell (CHR), Graeme Altenkirk, Diana van Rensburg,Nellie Morgan,Jim Morgan,Uschi Powell, Joce Gordon, Rob Farquharson, Sandra Dill-Franzen, Paul Dill-Franzen, Oubaas Visser, Genie Retief, Lynette de Jong, Linda Benade, Juan de Beer, Mel Fennel, Paula Volkmer, Hans-Jurgen Volkmer.

2      Apologies :  Andrew Hudson, Peter Craig-Cooper, Penelope Mayson, John Webb,Lizzy Modiga, Johan Veldsman.

3      Game Counts

        The biweekly game counts will start on Thursday 7 September at 8.00am.  These regular counts are to provide a trend or pattern which is used for veld management purposes.  These are not accurate figures for animal populations.  All game counts are estimates only and provide the minimum numbers as it depends how far into the bush the counters can see and therefore how many animals are seen.

        There will be 3-4 people per vehicle and only animals seen must be counted and if possible male or female noted.

 

4      Bush Snippets   

Linda reported that she had seen dwarf mongoose at her house and will bring a photo next month.

The male Nyala has been spotted in Lionspruit and it was discussed whether it was a good idea to move it into Marloth Park.  Nyala can compete with bushbuck for food and bush. 

People on the last bird walk heard Shelley’s Francolin coming from KNP.  These birds are only found where there is good grass cover.

5      Activities

·    Bird Walk

Saturday  2nd September meet cnr Crocodile / Volstruis at 6.30 am.

October 7th bird walk will start at 6.00 am.

·        Lion Tracking

Joce showed photos of lions which are often difficult to see as they lie in thick grass.

·   Snake report - No report.

Uschi had seen a boomslang on their property but it moved away very quickly.

Many people sweep the area around their house in the mistaken belief that it will keep snakes away.  However by doing this, they are providing warm ground which the snakes like and the snakes are attracted to Christ Thorn and Jacobs Ladder which are planted around the bare earth as a cover.

·     Alien Plant Removal Work Parties

8 different species of alien plants were removed with 104 man hours worked with 9 volunteers and 5 municipal workers.   104 stands were visited with 33 having alien plants.

The visit by the DEA was postponed to 15 September.   They will go to the neighbouring farms as well as inspecting properties in Marloth Park which have been identified as having alien plants and despite warnings the owners have not removed them.  The alien plants they will be assessing are those on the NEMBA list category 1a, 1b and 2.  The DEA have the authority to issue a notice giving 30 days to remove the plants. The DEA can issue fines and have the power to take out plants.   If no action is taken then the defaulter is taken to court and the penalty is high.  Uschi asked for volunteers to assist taking the DEA around.

The alien plant of the month is Parthenium.

Leaflets on Parthenium, published by SANParks and available at KNP entry gates, were shown.  They have previously been discussed at the meetings and we should try to get more to distribute in Marloth Park rather than print our own. 

Restoration Ecology is the study of rehabilitating the land which has been laid bare by removal of alien plants.  Where alien plants are removed suitable vegetation must be planted otherwise the alien plants will take over again in the disturbed land.  Parthenium is known as a “disturbance specialist”.  The area around Naboom which has been sprayed for Parthenium for many years, is a suitable area for such a project.  Ploughs will be used and grass seed planted. 

Photos were shown of the effect of alien plants on fires.  They showed the pine trees burning in the Knysna area where very high flames were created which then spread easily.  The palm trees in Marloth would give the same effect with the flames reaching far above the actual tree. 

·        Tree Tagging

The price of new tree tags has increased considerably.  We will continue to sell existing stock at the old price but new stock will have to be at a higher price.  Rob to send the quote to Evan and Nellie.

·         Working for Water

A Working for Water team has arrived and will be working for 11 days on general aliens in an area in Lionspruit.  They will not be spraying Parthenium.   Volunteers were requested to walk with them and Diana will send a roster out.

Teams for other areas are in the pipeline.

·         Maintenance

Graeme has quoted R1500 to people interested in replacing their wooden benches along the river.  The general feedback is that it is too expensive.  The cost of transport of the boards is increasing the cost considerably. 

Graeme reported that he had fixed the signs on the gates but they still continue to fall / get knocked off.  Suggestions were to erect separate signs or to make a frame to stand upright on the pole.

·         Bush Encroachment

When the “Fire Season” is over we will reconsider using LEFPA.  Graeme offered to speak with Andre of LEFPA at the next fire meeting.

·         Fire Prevention

The map showing the fire response teams has been distributed.  Graeme asked for more volunteers to be available to assist as there are many other jobs to be done when dealing with fires e.g. traffic control. At present Graeme and Rob are on the fire team and Jim and Oubaas will join them.  Anyone else interested please contact Graeme.

Connectors for the hoses are needed but we will check with the municipality as they may have some suitable ones.  New ones are expensive to buy.

          6              Public Liaison – Facebook / Website - No reports.

Both Andrew and John are currently unavailable which led to a suggestion that we have someone to help them.  Evan will speak to John about Facebook as Sandra has volunteered.  No one else has experience with websites so Diana will contact Andrew to discuss how to help him.

         7              Fund Raising

Daisy’s Den is selling grass seed. Thank you Daisy’s Den!

We have also received a donation for the removal of alien plants.

       8              Finances / Asset Register

Nellie reported that the bank charges were high this month due to depositing cash from the fair.

Paul has completed the asset register. We have 3 new sprayers and possibly some fire equipment to add to the register.

      9              General

Jim has the large bags of grass seed which need to be mixed and repacked so they are ready for when the rains come.  We will first check how many packed bags there are at Jim’s and Penelope’s.   The cost of some grass seed will be written off and the seed will be used in the area at Naboom when we rehabilitate it.

Oubaas said his neighbour would like to donate animal feed but wants to know the correct feed.  It was suggested that we contact Elfas for advice.

We will purchase T shirts for everyone to wear on work parties.

The next get-together for HRs is on 7 September at 16.00 at the river.  Cnr of Swartwitpens and Seekoei.  Bring drinks, snacks and chairs. 

There was no further business so the meeting finished at 9.45.

Our vision

hrOur vision is to support and assist the Nkomazi Municipality Conservation Department within Marloth Park with their management strategies and objectives while being an effective volunteer group. 
Read a brief  History of Honorary Rangers and the Conservancy

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