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Integrated management clears Pagasvlei of invasives

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Pagasvlei pond is a small water body of some 35 m2 in the Sand River catchment, situated in a greenbelt in Constantia, Cape Town.

Although the pond has a high recreational value for fishermen and hikers, it is also a breeding area for the endangered western leopard toad (Bufo pantherinus).

The pond was densely invaded with water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), impacting on water quality and the breeding of the western leopard toad, as well as creating a haven for mosquitos to breed. The surrounding area was infested with established invasives such as the Brazilian pepper tree, stink bean, syringa and Canna indica, as well as emerging pampas grass, Spanish broom and fennel.

Planning to clear invasives from the Pagasvlei pond developed into a superb example of an inter-departmental project which involved the City Invasive Species Unit as well as City Parks, Transport, Roads and Stormwater departments. The project used an integrated management approach in their plans to remove all emerging, aquatic and terrestrial invaders.

In November 2010, a team of ten people worked for 20 days to manually remove water hyacinth as well as established and emerging invasives. Biomass was moved away from the water body, left to dry on canvas and transported to solid waste refuse areas. The site is closely monitored to avoid reinvasion.