Funding appeal for fire hazard reduction: Golf Day at ST Francis Bay

Friends of the St Francis Nature Areas (FOSTER is a non-governmental organization that has been in existence for 20 years. The major objective of FOSTER is the management of a network of some 250 ha of nature reserve on behalf of the Kouga Municipality and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency.

To date FOSTER has cleared these reserves of highly inflammable invasive alien plants (principally Acacia cyclops or rooikrans), established a system of peripheral and interior access routes for firefighting, established a network of footpaths and implemented a wide range of outreach programmes. These activities are described on our website.

In order to conduct these activities, FOSTER needs to raise funds from the public since local and provincial government do not have the capacity to manage these reserves nor do they provide FOSTER with any funding. Over the past seven years, FOSTER has raised R1.2 million to finance its activities. The accounts of the organization are in good order and FOSTER is registered with SARS as a public benefit organization.

We believe that the routine and ongoing management by FOSTER to remove invasive alien plants, manage and implement access routes for fire control, and implement controlled burns for fuel reduction, has greatly reduced the fire hazard in the Greater Cape St Francis area. In addition to managing its reserve network, FOSTER has played a catalytic role in recruiting Working for Water to clear alien vegetation on other public and private land in an around St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis. These properties include the “Thatch Farm” immediately west of Santareme Bay and Rocky Coast Farm that abuts Cape St Francis. Without these interventions, the fire damage of homes in the region would have been massive.

The recent fires in our region have placed a great burden of FOSTER to implement activities to reduce the fire hazard in the future. These include the removal of many tons of dead plant material that accumulated with the widening of fire access routes, and the control of the massive recruitment of seedlings of alien rooikrans plant that will ensue following the winter rains.

FOSTER has estimated a budget of R150 000 to implement these activities. We are appealing to individuals and organization to donate generously to the upcoming golf day in order to contribute to our efforts to reduce the future threat of fire-related damage and destruction of properties in the Greater Cape St Francis area.