The group at Jack Muller Park add 300 plants to restore a seasonal wetland at the park for World Environment Day.
The group at Jack Muller Park add 300 plants to restore a seasonal wetland at the park for World Environment Day.

Ecosystem restoration under way at Jack Muller Park

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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Cape Town - With the threat of ever-expanding industrial development looming over not only the province, but also the world, World Environment Day was celebrated over the weekend with the theme “Ecosystems Restoration”.

In support of this theme, the City, Friends of Jack Muller Park and Community Women in Action (a youth group from Eersteriver) gathered to plant 300 carefully selected plants to restore the seasonal wetland at Jack Muller Park in Bellville that was overgrown with invasive kikuyu grass.

The restoring of this wetland formed part of the Biodiversity Management Branches’ and the City’s Recreation and Parks’ rehabilitation project that began this month.

Community Services and Health chairperson Ronel Viljoen said the indigenous plants in the wetland allowed water to run through while they also purified the water, whereas the invasive kikuyu grass absorbed the water, thus drying up the wetland.

“We have a similar project in Penhill Conservation Area, where we plan to restore degraded sections of the site over a five-year period,” said Viljoen.

According to Viljoen, a few of the plants included the cliffortia strobilifera, cyperus textilis, eriocephalus africanus, Elegia tectorum and Elegia nuda.

Community Women Action youth co-ordinator Grant Bellairs said the group believed in the holistic development of youth, and one of their programmes introduced the youth to gardening and preserving indigenous plant species.

“This was a good opportunity for our young people to learn about the importance of preserving local plant species over invasive plant species and contribute towards planting indigenous plants in the Jack Muller Park,” said Bellairs.

Community Women Action member Carmelita September at Jack Muller Park helping to maintain biodiversity by planting indigenous species and clearing invasive species.

Community Women Action member Monique Cullis said she thoroughly enjoyed the planting at Jack Muller Park as part of the restoration process.

“It was a great experience, especially as a person that loves nature. It was lovely to see the plants that were growing already and to aid the restoration to bring animals back to this ecosystem,” said Cullis.

Community Services and Health Mayco member Zahid Badroodien said: “Remaining wetlands are under threat of rapid urban expansion, and it is vital that the remaining wetlands are restored and conserved to provide essential ecosystem service of naturally purifying water.”

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