What and where is the Watt Road? Nick Theron
On the 6th of December 2018 the K2C with partners led a trip with the four Blyde Communal Property Associations (CPAs) on a site visit to the Watt road. You may ask what is the big deal with the Watt road? The road is the proposed new boundary for the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and would expand the reserve by 16 000 ha to include important habitat along the eastern facing slopes of the escarpment. The road travels in a north south direction along the base of the mountain. We were joined by the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD) and Ryan Connolly from Chopped.
The four Blyde CPAs are land claimants and the area is in the process of being settled to them. A part of this process the CPAs have made a decision that they want to expand the reserve to include the additional portions which is a major commitment to conserving a crucial catchment area that we all rely on for our water resources. The aim of the day was to provide context to the CPAs regarding the proposed boundary and present information regarding an assessment to quantify wood resources and their potential markets. An important objective was also to ensure the diversity of stakeholders are aligned and supportive of a process to declare the expansion area.
There was also important recognition and appreciation for this incredibly beautiful area and the potential it holds into the future.
The Biodiversity and Land Use (BLU) is implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) together with its partners, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
|Meeting at Watt Road|