What we do
By developing economic infrastructure, the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area has
positioned itself to unlock the area's sustainable capital. What does this mean? Well, the Nuwejaars
Wetland team must take advantage of the physical assets to benefit the Special Management Area.
In conjunction with our natural capital (the uniqueness of the area), and the human capital (those
skills found within the Agulhas Plain), true sustainability can be achieved.
Through funding received from the German government for the initial climate change project,
physical infrastructure was acquired and built on the Special Management Area. Perhaps the greatest
success was the construction of the buffalo boma - considered to be the best planned and developed
in the Southern Cape. The boma is positioned to offer tourists ideal viewing opportunities of the
buffalo at a drinking dam. Camps were constructed for the buffalo to live in. Facilities were built for
vets to work with the buffalo, and ramps were built for loading animals for translocation.
Another feat was the 120km-long game fence, erected round large sections of the Special
Management Area. Much planning went into the placement of the fence. Core conservation areas and
buffer zones were fenced in, and agricultural land had to be fenced out. At the same time, natural
corridors could not be broken up by the fencing. These corridors are vital in the face of climate
change, allowing animals (and vegetation) to move out of areas over the long-term, as changing
temperatures affect them. Without this, survival would not be possible.
Infrastructure was also acquired to climate-proof the Special Management Area. Working with
SANParks, we acquired a custom-made fire engine and other fire-fighting equipment. Because of the
number of invasive alien plants on the Agulhas Plain, the threat of wildfire is pervasive, and the
impacts thereof often devastating. With this new equipment, the Nuwejaars Wetland members are
now better prepared - thereby better protecting our natural capital and those jobs dependent on it.
Sustainable use of electricity was also highlighted as a major focus area for the Nuwejaars Wetland
Special Management Area. As a result, we acquired four renewable power facilities, and set them up
at the energy-intensive wine cellars within the Elim wine ward (found within the Special
Management Area). These wine cellars now run on power generated by solar panels and wind
turbines. And income made from the facilities is paid into our Section 21 Not-for-Profit company, the
Nuwejaars River Nature Reserve.
Together these facilities (along with our new road infrastructure, Special Management Area signage,
and all our tourist amenities) are key in securing the long-term management of the area, and the
wellbeing of all who live here.
Veld management also involves controlled burns. Fynbos needs to be burnt every 12 to 15 years to
regenerate growth and create grazing for wildlife. But burning the veld also promotes the regrowth of
aliens, and will require financial and physical input for many years after the burn.
SMA members have already completed a 605-hectare block burn across a number of farms in 2010
and plan more in the coming years.
The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA is rehabilitating its
key areas and cultural features. More
Our tourism venture will include training for
operators and entrepreneurs. More
Production and food security is enhanced through
sustainable use of land. More
Sustainably-utilised products will prove a key
economic driver for communities here. More
By developing the SMA's infrastructure, we can
unlock the area's sustainable capital. More
Enhancing the wellbeing of all who live here is an
imperative for the SMA. More