|News from Leisure Isle Residents' Association
What LIRA does for home owners: * Provides island security, our 'Bobby on the beat' * Sponsors Steenbok Nature Reserve * Champions peak season law enforcement * Liaison/lobbying Knysna Municipality * Liaison Nature Conservation/SANParks * Beautification of LI * Employment of gardeners * Hosts Leisure Isle Festival * Maintains property values and unequalled lifestyle * Professional and dedicated volunteer committee serving your interests
New municipal manager for Knynsa
KNYSNA Council has just appointed Grant Easton as the new Municipal Manager, with immediate effect. He had been acting in this capacity for a few months since the resignation late last year by Lauren Waring.
Addressing Council, the Executive Mayor, Cllr Georlene Wolmarans stated that it had not been an easy task to find someone with the right skills, capacity and knowledge to lead the municipal administration. "Someone of Mr Easton's stature does not come along everyday. Of course, it is especially pleasing that he is from our town and has been a director within the municipality for over ten years. This means he can hit the ground running!"
Easton has an extensive and lengthy history in local government, in both the City of Johannesburg and the City of Cape Town, prior to his Knysna tenure.
Says LIRA chairman, Keith Hollis: "We have extended, on behalf of the committee of LIRA, our congratulations and delight at Grant Easton's appointment as Municipal Manager.
"He has extensive experience over many years, especially in municipalities much larger than Knysna! The Knysna Municipality could not be in better hands.
"We wish him every success in the challenges that lie ahead, and he is assured of LIRA's full co-operation."
Beware the blaasops!
IT has been drawn to our attention that dead puffers, 'blaasops', or tobies, on being caught off the sea wall, are often tossed away by anglers into the grass.
They are small fish with spiky scales that when threatened inflate themselves to a remarkable degree. These bait-robbing fish are the bane of an angler’s life, being caught unintentionally and spoiling their chances of catching a 'respectable' fish. What is often not realised is that they have extremely toxic skin which, if eaten, can prove fatal to humans and animals.
Steenbok Park's Roger Voysey reports he has been advised that more than one dog, out for a walk on the sea wall, has picked up a blaasop and died as a result.
According to Wikipedia, blaasops belong to the Tetraodontidae family, which are variously called pufferfish, puffers, balloonfish, blowfish, bubblefish, toadfish, toadies etc. The scientific name refers to the four large teeth, fused into an upper and lower plate, which are used for crushing the shells of crustaceans and mollusks, their natural prey.
Pufferfish are generally believed to be the second-most poisonous vertebrates in the world, after the golden poison frog. Certain internal organs, such as liver, and sometimes the skin, contain tetrodotoxin and are highly toxic to most animals when eaten; nevertheless, the meat of some species is considered a delicacy in Japan (fugu), Korea (bok or bogeo), and China (hétún) when prepared by specially trained chefs who know which part is safe to eat and in what quantity.
A casual observer, in recent months, could be forgiven for thinking that there is a nasty bedecking of dessicated toilet paper in many parts of the the estuary.
Fortunately, this is not the case, as LI's resident marine biology expert, Prof Brian Allanson of the Knysna Basin Project, explains: "This is sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca), a form of green algae (often seen free floating) and can be consumed by herbivorous fish, sea animals, slugs and others. It is bright green in colour but can be white or black when dry."
Although more studies are underway, Prof Allanson says the recent blooms are likely the result of dead and decaying algae reducing dissolved oxygen in the ocean water column which, in turn, leads to changes in the sediments from light grey (well oxygenated) to dark grey and eventually black and foul smelling (hydrogen sulphide).
"Under such conditions, ammonia is also released from the now anaerobic sediments. Ammonia is a preferred nitrogen food for the green alga and the plant can grow rapidly forming blooms," he says.
He also suspects the increase in nitrogen salts and phosphates in the water, which led to last summer’s red tide, have contributed to this year’s visible sea lettuce.
"December’s strong easterly winds brought large quantities of nitrogen and phosphate from deeper coastal sea that mixed with warm water of the lower estuary to bring about the luxuriant growth of alga."
Why does it look like toilet paper? "The surfacing of sea lettuce to its current level is a natural phenomenon and is not the effect of effluent water from the Water Treatment Works," Prof Allanson stresses. "However, the Works does release nitrogen and phosphate salts into the Ashmead Channel, so that it would be expected that in the quiet water of upper Ashmead the growth of sea lettuce is optimal.
"In fact as the tide rises, dead or dying fragments of these sheets are lifted and float to the surface from where they are transported onto the saltmarsh under the stress of winds. With ebb tide, the fragments are caught on the tops of the saltmarsh where they dry out and create the appearance of 'loo paper'."
Johan de Klerk, area manager of the Knysna section of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) has commented: "The analysis Prof Allanson has shared with SANParks will assist the decision whether to remove it or not. It is a natural process but where there is a bloom of sea lettuce, it can prevent sunlight from reaching vegetation such as eelgrass. When it dies, bacteria feeding on it can use up vast amounts of oxygen but the upside is that the dry and living alga supports large numbers of small of invertebrates which are themselves food for higher predators, eg fish and birds."
Source: Prof Allanson; Knysna & Plett Herald
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