Verlorenvlei Protected Areas Project

Verlorenvlei is one of the most important estuarine systems on the west coast. It supports agriculture, local communities and vast numbers of water birds, many of which migrate down from the northern hemisphere for our summer. Verlorenvlei is registered as a Ramsar site and as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, (SA 103) yet does not have formal protection status. BirdLife South Africa and WESSA, with support from Cape Nature, in particular the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor (GCBC) Unit, have thus developed a partnership to address this gap. Formal protection can be achieved through Biodiversity Stewardship, which allows for cooperative management towards best practice for sustaining the parallel objectives of agriculture, sustainable use and conservation.

VerlorenvleiresThis project, funded by the WWF-SA Nedbank Green Trust, has been established to implement Protected Environments or similar conservation-focused sustainable landscape initiatives at Verlorenvlei estuary (Ramsar site) and the Krom Antonies River, in particular the Moutonshoek catchment area, and to enable their ongoing maintenance and management.

The Project will run from January 2014 until 31 December 2016.

The main objectives of the project are: To undergo extensive stakeholder engagement in order to garner landowner support for the establishment of Protected Areas or similar conservation models at the Verlorenvlei estuary and Moutonshoek (Krom Antonies River) catchment.

Fulfill all legal requirements associated with registering a Protected Natural Environment (PNEs) at the Moutonshoek catchment site. Obtain approval from the MEC: Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP), or in consultation with the funder and project team develop an alternative model of landscape conservation.

Assist Cape Nature to facilitate a transfer of Department of Public Works land to Cape Nature in order to declare a Provincial Nature Reserve of the water-body of Verlorenvlei estuary.

Support current environmental management programs in the area.

Develop and implement a long-term maintenance model including future co-funding which will ensure the auditing and maintenance of all the Protected Areas and sustainable landscape initiatives which are established during this project.

The final outputs for the project are: To have the Moutonshoek catchment declared as a Protected Environment with all relevant management plans in place. Landowners Association in position to oversee the management of the Protected Environment.

For the Verlorenvlei section a "landowner needs analysis" will be conducted and used as the starting point towards establishing a conservancy with individual landowners around the Verlorenvlei estuary and its buffer zone. A conservation strategy will be developed and used to proclaim protected status to the land surrounding the estuary according to the landowner's needs these will be individual Biodiversity Agreements, a Protected Environment, a "Special Management Area" or other similar model for sustainable landscape management.

A model will be developed to supply ongoing extension support to members of the conservation areas for the duration of the Project and after the completion of the Project in December 2016.

For more information on this project please contact Samantha Schröder at 082 069 9671 or