Duiwenhoks Conservancy AGM 2021

Duiwenhoks Conservancy AGM 2021

We completed our first digital Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 24 March 21.

Many thanks to all who attended it and gave us feedback, especially during the committee election section. We really appreciate your interest. 

If you are interested in the recording, it can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfMPCgnWwnA

Our AGM agenda included:

  1. Chairman’s Report + finances 
  2. Review of 2020 initiatives
  3. Hessequa Municipality property valuation 2021
  4. Wild fire: Vermaaklikheid fire fund & February 2021 fire
  5. Alien clearing: Uitvlug case study
  6. Duiwenhoks Estuary Report by Dr Lara van Niekerk & Dr Stephen Lamberth
  7. Election of Committee for 2021/2

We will share more soon! 

Duiwenhoks Estuary overview presentation (Lamberth)

Dr Stephen Lamberth has been sampling the Duiwenhoks Estuary for more than two decades. Stephen spoke about the state of the fish in our river, including some shocking data about the fish stock levels. There are about 50 breeding pairs of dusky kob in the southern Cape – it really is a critically endangered species. We need to protect it. 

His talk is available here: Lamberth Duiwenhoks Talk 24 March fish-compressed

Dr Stephen Lamberth is a fisheries ecologist at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF). He has been involved in about 30 specialist studies focusing on freshwater flow requirements of river, estuarine and marine fish. He was the project leader in a comprehensive biological and socio-economic study of the South African beach-seine and gillnet fisheries.

Here’s a sample of his presentation showing the categories of our 45+ species:




Duiwenhoks Estuary overview presentation (van Niekerk)

We had our AGM today, with fantastic presentations from our 2 estuary experts. Dr Lara van Niekerk has shared her presentation with us – and here it is if you want to see it:

Van Niekerk Duiwenhoks Talk – 24March 2021-compressed

Dr Lara van Niekerk led the team of specialists who assessed the health and ecosystem condition of all of South Africa’s estuaries as part of the National Biodiversity Assessment 2018 and 2011.

Dr van Niekerk is a senior scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). She specialises in the physical dynamics of estuaries; estuarine condition assessments; environmental flow requirements; and estuary management and policy. Lara played a lead role in the development of the generic framework for estuary management plans. Lara is also part of a core team that develop environmental flow requirements technologies for South Africa.

A Practical Permaculture Workshop

The Conservancy hosted a Permaculture Design workshop over 2 days in November 2020.

On our first morning, we spent some time understanding the basics of Permaculture. There are 3 ethics involved: to care for the earth, to care for people, and to share the surplus. The rest of the time was outside, learning how to apply some Permaculture principles in planning and planting vegetable gardens.

We made good examples of a swale bed on a contour and a vegetable garden for four. These examples can be copied in terms of design and companion plantings. We created a ‘mother’ bed with the variety of plants that Alex supplied. The idea with this bed is to provide cuttings for our own vegetable gardens.

Alex shows us how to build a ‘machine’ to identify levels across any ground

Many thanks to Konrad Stutterheim and Chesslin Micheals for agreeing to maintain these plants. If you would like to visit the gardens, please liase with Konrad or Chesslin.

We have much to be thankful for, especially:

  • Alex for her brilliant facilitation; pitching her knowledge to a very diverse group, keeping things fun and light while also driving us to complete. Alex also supported our initiative financially by charging a reduced rate for the workshop.
  • Shelly Kleyn Armistead for kindly and generously funding the project and Margaux Newdigate for sourcing and securing that support and funding.
  • Guy Tillim, Konrad Stutterheim and Lawrence Jones for providing the space as our base;
  • Ruth Loewenthal for helping with access to the kitchen and crockery.
  • Pieter Takkies of Bosheuwel for the manure.
  • Chesslin Michaels, Konrad and Guy for allowing us to use their gardens.
  • Our delegates. Friday and Saturdays are working days for many and the weather was very challenging. Everyone got stuck in and did what they could to make it a fun and productive two days.

For more info, please contact Rooken at rooken@rookenpodesta.com.


On Saturday we spent some time laying out the mother garden for planting our seedlings into.

Duiwenhoks Estuarine Management Plan

This is an important moment for our precious river! Your feedback is needed by 15 September 2019.

The Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) is completing a programme of updating existing estuary management plans (EMPs), compiling 17 new estuary management plans, compiling 12 estuary mouth management plans and setting in place an overall estuary management framework for the province – collectively termed the Western Cape Estuarine Management Framework and Implementation Strategy (EMFIS).

The final drafts of both the situation assessment reports (SARs) and estuarine management plans (EMPs) for the new selected estuaries as part of EMFIS are now available for comment.

Plans were prepared for the following 17 estuaries:

  • West Coast District: Sout, Jakkalsvlei and Wadrift;            
  • Overberg District: Rooiels, Buffels Oos, Palmiet, Ratel and Klipdrifsfontein; and   
  • Garden Route District: Duiwenhoks, Blinde, Maalgate, Gwaing, Kaaimans, Piesang, Matjies, Sout (Oos), Groot (Wes).

Please use this link to the Duiwenhoks EMP August 2019 to review. 

We are currently in the period provided for public (written) comment.

In brief, the EMP proposes the following items as critical and to be addressed immediately and/or receive greatest effort in respect to human/financial resources:
• Marine resources are used within legal limits;
• All efforts are made to eradicate invasive alien plants;
• The no-take zone is enforced and enabled through the Marine Living Resources Act;
• Recreational use of the system is regulated effectively;
• Public access is provided and suitably managed;
• An additional public launch site is listed and operated in terms of an approved operational plan; and
• The DEA&DP to consider the appointment of a Regional estuarine management co-ordinator/champion within either DEA&DP or CapeNature, to support the RMA.

Feedback must reach Tandi Breetzke by the 15th of September 2019. Please respond directly to Tandi at tandi@coastwise.co.za.