When the Conservancy was established in 2010, the founding members felled numerous Fraxinus americana (American Ash) trees here. A massive seed bank germinated and a sapling forest overtook the grassland. Other weeds were Fleabane (Conzya bonariensis) and the little-known alien shrub Heimia myrtifolia.
From Spring 2014, the saplings were manually removed with a tree popper and the grassland recovered, aided by weeding and burning. We are successfully re-establishing indigenous plants in formerly degraded areas.
The bottom section was overrun by blackjacks, Jerusalem cherry, spear thistle and fleabane. Along with extensive weeding, it has been burnt twice. Many wildflowers have regenerated and the two large stands of grassland sedges are flourishing.
Pan St corner
The view of the water was completely blocked by reeds and bulrushes on the shore, as well as invasive vegetation such as Pampas grass and Persicaria hydropiper. Ekurhuleni sprayed reeds in 2015. After reed removal, native grasses and sedges have regenerated. Weed management and reed follow-up on the shore is ongoing.
The sewerage manhole in the third set of pictures is inside the fence opposite Aubrey Ritz Park, near the Westdene South pump station. The broken one, which leaked for many years and caused reed and weed overgrowth, was repaired in 2015, after Conservancy engagement with Ekurhuleni.
We have rehabilitated numerous areas from invasive plant infestations that devastated the grassland, and reed and bulrush encroachment that choked the Pan and reduced visibility.
By 2015, basically only one stretch of open water view remained, at Kilfenora St - about 10% of the circumference. Now, open water is visible at least 50% of the way around.
Most 'Before' photos are only available as backgrounds to pictures of other events, suhc as the manhole replacement at Pan St.
- Walsh Rd corner
- Shannon Rd inlet
- Rock island bulrush stands
- Kilfenora grasslands
- Pan St corner
Expanding bulrush patches almost completely blocked the view of the rock island, a major bird area and favourite view of visitors.
Over one year, we progressively removed 3500m² of bulrush patches, by slashing the perimeters of the stands in deep water and spraying the regrowth.
The Before and After pictures are taken from the Shannon Rd berm.
Walsh Rd corner
Reeds along the shore blocked the view of the water, and the rocky outcrop had been covered by weeds for so long that a long-standing committee member had forgotten it was there. The grassland was moribund.
Reed control started in 2015 (at the same time as the Pan St corner). The water is now open, and the beautiful rocky outcrop with its wildflowers visible from the fence after weeding of spear thistle, fleabane and Heimia myrtifolia.
Purple Top (Verbena bonariensis) is still a challenge in this area.
Shannon Rd storm water inlet
This inlet suffered from leaking sewerage for many years, and Ekurhuleni eventually repaired the pipe in 2018 after four years of persistence by the Conservancy. The sewerage fed a bulrush and reed overgrowth along the inlet, along with pampas grass, kikuyu and American Ash saplings in the surrounding moribund grassland.
The top left picture was taken to show a sewerage inflow. In 2018, the storm water is clean. The structure on the pole is a bat house, erected in 2015.