The MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning

C/O The Chief Executive Officer

CapeNature

Private Bag x29

Gatesville

7766

 

Attention: Ms M Keys

mkeys@capenature.co.za

 

Dear Sir,

Letter of support for intention to declare the Moutonshoek Protected Environment in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003.

In response to the notice in theWestern Cape Provincial Gazette No P.N. 3/2016 (15 January 2016) I would like to take the opportunity to engage in the public participation process currently underway and hereby supply my written support for the declaration of the Moutonshoek area in the Western Cape as a formal Protected Environment.

It is crucial to act decisively to protect our fresh water resources. The Krom Antonies River flows through the Moutonshoek valley and on into the Verlorenvlei wetland and estuary. This river is the main source of water for the Verlorenvlei estuary. Verlorenvlei is recognised internationally as a Ramsar wetland and as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). Declaration of the Moutonshoek Protected Environment will afford a level of formal protection to the immediate area and will contribute significantly to securing the freshwater supply for downstream users.

Additional reasons to support the declaration include:

  • The proposed declaration is in line with current area wide conservation planning as identified by CapeNature, SANBI and CAPE. The proposed Protected Environment represents an extension of the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor into the catchment of the important Verlorenvlei wetland. Special plants and animals in the area range from iconic Cape Leopard and Black / Verreaux’s Eagle through to an endemic fish species named the Verlorenvlei Redfin (Pseudobarbus verloreni) which is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.  Plants such as Diascia caitliniae (Endangered) and the Redelinghuys Pincushion (Leucospermum arenarium) listed as Critically Endangered also occur in the area. The estuary supports over 190 bird species, of which 75 are water birds and many are migrants.
  • Moutonshoek Valley and Krom Antonies River falls with a C.A.P.E. Fine Scale Planning Critical Biodiversity Area and Critical Biodiversity Area Buffer, including an aquatic Critical Biodiversity Area. The site contains the only location of the Endangered Verlorenvlei Redfin (Pseudobarbus verloreni), previously undescribed, and the recently discovered species of flora Diascia caitliniae. The site also includes a new insect order – Austrophasmatidae – (Heel walker) and a unique diversity of Hopliine (monkey) beetles, including the rare Anisonyx ditus.
  • Rock art and artefacts from early civilizations inhabiting the West Coast are in evidence at numerous sites throughout the catchment, highlighting the heritage value of the area.
  • The area provides essential job security to local communities through the agricultural production in the area, and also food security and economic opportunities through the production of wine, potatoes, race horses and citrus.

I fully support the intended declaration of the Moutonshoek as a Protected Environment.

Yours Sincerely,


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