Berg River Restoration project: A sustainable trail from source to sea

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Francis Steyn

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The Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDOA) is committed to working towards the restoration of the Berg River to a healthy river system that will promote human wellbeing and support ecosystem functions. More than 4 million people are dependent on the River in terms of food production, water supply, recreation and the value add in the agricultural sector. With over 22 000 hectares of irrigated crops on 600 farms, the River contributes to over R2 billion/year and supports more than 18 000 full time jobs. The first step in this restoration project is to get the farmers on board as it is private land and without their buy-in nothing could be seen as sustainable, then the massive task of clearing the river of alien biomass is the next step. This task is work in progress and approximately 35% of the river has been cleared at a cost of more than R50 million. After this step the restoration begins, and several partners have step forward to assist in this vital task. Presently we have a dedicated nursery cultivating plants from origin from the river and these are being planted in the riparian zone. The first wetland area of a few kilometres in length that was restored has proven how effective our work has been in the improved water quality and containment of floods. Restoration is vital in this project but to maintain this sustainability the three pillars of sustainable development will be critical.  Key words: River health, agri-tourism, sustainable development, economy and partnerships.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration