Field Trip 03: Berg and Breede River Riparian Rehabilitation Programme

The Berg and Breede River Riparian Rehabilitation Programme is led by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning together with various stakeholders since 2013. The main project goal is namely: To contribute to improving the ecological infrastructure and functioning within the respective river systems, by establishing pockets of indigenous vegetation for improved natural succession in other cleared areas. Main outcomes of the Programme include: the development of an average of four new rehabilitation sites and propagation of 120 000 plants in a nursery per year. Sites are between 3500-5000m2 in area and are located within the Berg and Breede River Catchments. Landowner buy-in is an important factor, as the programme requires co-management of the sites. Provision of job opportunities, capacity building and knowledge transfer within the local community is also a major aspect of the Programme together with research and monitoring. In this virtual fieldtrip, Phil Mc Lean (DEADP, project leader) will be introducing the project and Johann van Biljon (Intaba Environmental Services) will be taking the rest of the tour. There will be a quick overview of our propagation facilities, taking a tour of some rehabilitation sites in the Berg and Breede River Catchments, interviews with landowners and staff, including specialist input by Dr Charlene Janion (soil micro-organisms), Dr Liz Day (hydrology), Dr Patricia Rebello (rehabilitation research), Monique van Zitters (MSc research), Georgina van Biljon (monitoring of sites). As it is difficult to cover all aspects of the Programme, this tour will give you some key aspects thereof and stir up thoughts and questions! So, come with keen eyes and ears and please send us feedback.

Johann Van Biljon 

Founder and CEO of Intaba Environmental Services (Pty) Ltd. Johann has over 17 years’ experience in horticulture and managing rehabilitation projects in the Western Cape. Johann’s knowledge of how ecosystems function and propagation of indigenous plants has been built up through keen observation, trial and error over the years. Johann is a member of CREW, is an honorary Cape Nature Ranger and is the founder of the WEI (Witzenberg Environmental Initiative). Johann is an amateur herbalist and uses indigenous plants for various ailments. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, fishing, chatting to Rastafarian Herbalists and crafts. He is a trainer, dynamic leader and visionary that looks further than the physical realm in restoring the earth. 

Phil Mc Lean

I am Phil McLean, also known as Fynbos Phil!

I’m a botanist with a background in invasive species and environmental law enforcement, now working as a Task Manager for Riverine Rehabilitation and Bioremediation within the Western Cape government’s environmental affairs department (DEA&DP). I am a big believer in the value of biodiversity and ecological infrastructure and am doing everything in my power to protect it and regenerate/restore it in places where most of its functionality has been lost (mainly through human negligence compounded by invasive alien species impacts).