AGREEMENT PRIORITISES BIODIVERSITY THROUGH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROTECTED ZONE
Springbok, April 2022
An ecological agreement between the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Rural Development & Land Reform and Kangnas Wind Farm, in the Northern Cape, has been designed to compensate for any biodiversity impact and prioritise conservation. This long term agreement improves viability of biodiversity and its associated habitats, by creating an expansive protected area, which far exceeds the wind farm’s footprint, and delivers a broad range of benefits.
“This agreement allows for the conservation of a target environmental gradient, contributes to the ecological viability and increased ecosystem resilience of the existing Greater Goegap Nature Reserve. Furthermore, it also allows for the provision of educational resources, creation of indigenous and heritage values, and an increased quality of life, health, and wellbeing for the people of the area,” said Brenda Sidaki, Kangnas Wind Farm, Plant Manager.
This Protected Area of Oranjefontein, which is managed as part of the Greater Goegap Nature Reserve and the Kaip and Inselberg Properties, is approximately 5 000 Ha and lies to the east of the nature reserve. This area falls within the ecotone between the ‘Succulent’ and ‘Nama Karoo Biomes’, and encompasses the Namaqualand Klipkoppe Shrubland, Namaqualand Blomveld, Bushmanland Arid Grassland and Platbakkies Succulent Shrubland vegetation types.
The Agreement is aimed at achieving the requirements of minimising and remedying the loss of biological diversity occasioned by Kangnas Wind Farm and is underpinned by a co-operation between the two parties, which ensures the implementation and execution of the Biodiversity Offset agreement and the ongoing protection and maintenance of the areas of land.
The specific focus of management activities are on the conversion of stock farm infrastructure and practices to a more natural ecosystem. This entails the removal of internal fencing and the camp system, as well as the upgrading of perimeter fencing to enable the incorporation of Oranjefontein, in the Greater Goegap Nature Reserve. The activities will also upgrade the water provision systems; alien and invasive species management; rehabilitation and mitigation of all un-natural eroded areas; and the consolidation of the road network of the area to close and rehabilitate all unused, extraneous tracks.
This agreement has the added benefit of an economic development programme, which delivers positive value to the local community. Through the establishment of SMME development and capacity building, along with economic development initiatives, the programme is linked to real and viable business opportunities. To this end, Kangnas Wind Farm appointed a local enterprise, JLK Business Consulting, to undertake ecological rehabilitation and protected area management activities, in the area. The focus is on undertaking and managing activities that will relate but are not limited to ecological rehabilitation and protected area management.
“This local company, JLK, is responsible for implementing projects in relation to education, training and skills development of persons engaged in, and will be engaged in ecological rehabilitation and protected area management activities. From an economic development perspective, the objective is to achieve positive, meaningful, and long-lasting socio-economic and economic change in the beneficiary communities, and to implement projects based on sustainability and developmental merit, not on short-term benefits or appearances,” added Sadiki.
The wind farm is committed to contributing towards the maintenance and operational costs of the Protected Areas, which effectively supports the conservation of the Provincial Goegap Nature Reserve (GNR) through the appointment of a black owned enterprise to drive the effective conservation and support the development of local enterprises.
The programme has already appointed twelve general workers and eight field rangers from the local beneficiary communities, fourteen of these are male and six females.
“We are very proud that this collaborative programme delivers skills, training employment, in addition to delivering funding with respect to operational and maintenance costs, whilst also ensuring the viability of the conservation efforts and contributing directly to local, regional, and national economies through tourism,” concluded Sidaki.