Floating islands part of Val de Vie success

23 January 2014

Val de Vie before the makeover!  (Photo: Bill Harding).

Val de Vie before the makeover! (Photo: Bill Harding).

The Val de Vie Lifstyle Estate outside Paarl (Western Province, South Africa) is described in the latest edition of Environmental Management (Dec/Jan 2013/14, Vol 8, pg 16 et seq) as an ‘environmental benchmark.  When I first surveyed the site, ten years ago, it was a harsh, alien infested area where clay and sand were being mined.  Today its quite different and is the locale that is now described as a benchmark for environmental rehabilitation.  It is certainly very hard to view what is there now against what was there back in 2004.

Floating island in Val de Vie water feature (Photo: Bill Harding).

Floating island in Val de Vie water feature (Photo: Bill Harding).

Water features of various types are an integral component of the Val de Vie landscape.  In 2011 some of the smaller ponds were augmented with BioHaven Floating Islands in order to stabilise the water quality and provide some additional habitat.  This has been a major success in itself.  Water quality stabilisation was achieved within weeks.  The islands continue to support crystal-clear water and allow the pond bed to become vegetated with species of Characeae typical of the area.

A mixed-vegetation floating island at Val de Vie (Photo: Bill Harding).

A mixed-vegetation floating island at Val de Vie (Photo: Bill Harding).

The aforementioned article indicates that more islands will be installed into the larger dams on the estate.  In the Western Province, Biohavens have been installed at Val  de Vie, Nitida Winery, La Petite Dauphine, Stables Industrial Park and Parklands Mall, in addition to several private home and small-holding applications – these now as far afield as Harare (Zimbabwe).

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