The Black River is an urban river that moves through that Cape Flats before merging into the Salt River and flowing out into the Atlantic Ocean. There are a number of tributaries to the Black River, many of which are highly impacted by human disturbance.This corridor project focuses on some of the most intensely disturbed areas. The area of focus includes the Blomvlei, Vygekraal, and Jakkelsvlei tributaries, and the segment of the Black River that connects these tributaries with the Salt River.
Despite this being a relatively small area, it includes a wide variety of suburbs, of riverine habitats, and of environmental and human challenges. The tributaries and rivers pass through Sybrand Park, Pinelands, Belgravia, Heideveld, Langa, and Bonteheuwel, among other suburbs. A large part of the river system is canalised. Litter and dumping problems abound. The Black River has recently been the focus of cleanup activities and the state of the river is improving. Flamingos can be seen here with regularity. However, there is one characteristic that applies throughout this area: the rivers and canals are seen as unattractive hazards instead of being an asset to the areas.
This project aims to decrease the human hazards that the river currently poses and to maximise the amount of biodiversity that the river hosts, enabling the river to become a biological corridor. We want to change people's perspectives around the river, by collaborating with local residents and existing community groups and partner organisations on the following activities:
Communitree seeks to provide assistance to existing community groups and organisations that work on similar goals.
Progress to date
This project is still at the initial phases. We are starting to develop relationships with existing groups and organisation in the relevant areas to get a better understanding of the challenges and opportunties. In 2019 we established three stepping stone fynbos gardens in the Bonteheuwel and Belgravia area. These gardens are in proximity to the rivers and canals, but additional partnerships will be required to start working right along the canal, which has additional challenges.