The launch of the pilot project, to emulate floating Islands for bird habitation was held up a by a march of the anti-snail Vineyard Workforce.
About 800 of them marched into the meeting and ruffled a few feathers – Vergenoegd breed Indian Runner ducks to tackle the snails and other pests rather than using pesticides, and are extremely effective.
The owner, Mr Faure, has been passionate since a young boy about water birds, so it is no surprise that the farm is being used as a pilot project, involving NCC, Bird Life South Africa, Land Care, Cape Nature, BWI Working for Wetlands and sponsored by the Table Mountain Fund.
The aim of the project is to mitigate the loss of wetlands, by creating many similar habitat areas on privately owned dams. Sean Altern, is the man on the ground, or in the water, who is busy trying out different types of materials to build the islands. This needs to last, be environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing, locally produced and not cost an arm and a leg. The island are 1 meter by half a meter, but can be joined to form larger ones which will not be so susceptible to wave action and wind, and of course be attractive to the birds. The island plants also play a role in purifying the water and they actually act as little biodiversity hotspots as they create habitat for small aquatic insects which live and feed in the roots. These are then fed on by fish and larger insects and creatures such as dragon flies and frogs which in turn are fed on by birds.
Once secured, the Islands are then populated with indigenous plants from the specific area. Not only does the project tackle conservation issues, but could well become a job creation program as well in the manufacturing of the islands.
Watch The Ducks Parade: