In celebration of World Wetlands Day, Overstrand Municipality’s Environmental Department and partners will be hosting various wetland education programmes to raise awareness of wetland values and benefits.
World Wetlands Day is held every year on 2 February and marks the signing of the International Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention) on 2 February 1971.
Wetlands are areas where surface water surrounded by land plays a central part in controlling the local habitat of the plant and animal life living there. Wetlands occur mostly around catchment areas – and include estuaries, lagoons, marshes, rivers and ponds.
No matter the shape or size, wetlands provide numerous important services for people, fish and wildlife such as protecting and improving water quality, providing habitats for fish and wildlife, storing floodwaters, maintaining surface water flow during dry periods, and reducing soil erosion.
We need to preserve our wetlands for future generations because once destroyed rare plant, animal, bird and fish species won’t have a home to live and people won’t be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the different species living there
In the Overstrand, we have a number of wetlands which you can visit to experience these unique habitats first hand.
- The most extensive is the Kleinmond-Lamloch Botriver wetland system. (Rooisand is a conservation area, but the Lamloch wetland is on private property). This wetland is home to the critically endangered Microfrog and the endangered Cape Platanna.
- A small but precious wetland area of 11 hectares is on the Hermanus Golf Course, commonly known as the Flat Street Wetland.
- The Mill Stream wetland system in Stanford provides breeding habitat for the Western Leopard Toads. (Interesting enough, until the mid - 90s Kleinmond was home to the largest population of Western Leopard Toads in SA)
- The Paddavlei in Hawston, unfortunately spoilt by contamination by waste water.
- The important birding areas associated with wetlands are the Botvlei area, Rooisand and the Lamloch swamps, the Klein River Estuary and associated wetlands on the coast just east of Hermanus as well as the Stanford wetlands and the river system.
Why are wetlands so important to Hermanus and any other part of nature?
Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else.
We are not powerless against climate change, Wetlands help us cope. How?
- Absorbs and stores carbon
- Reduces floods
- Relieve droughts
- Reduce storm surges and protects coastlines
35% of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1970. Together we must work to conserve and restore these amazing ecosystems, which help us prepare for, cope with and bounce back from the impacts of climate change.
Peatlands cover great areas in and around Hermanus and only 3% of the earth’s land, yet they store 30% of all carbon.
Let’s celebrate World Wetlands Day 2019 on 2 February by saving wetlands, starting with Hermanus, one step at a time.