Description: By law, property owners are required to clear their land of weeds and foreign species of plants. These plants have been encroaching on the Klein River Catchment area of the Overburg area in the Western Cape, an area consisting of 6 conservancies and 190,000 hectares, hurting the biodiversity of the area and limiting the flow of the river. KEEP began in 2004 as landowners along the Klein River approached the Department of Agriculture and decided to take the management of cleaning the area themselves. Following their enthusiasm a partnership formed between the private owners, the government and local conservation groups. Land Care from the national and provincial Departments of Agriculture provided funding, the farmers provided the day-to day management, the Overstrand Conservation Foundation (OCF) administered the project and procured additional funding, Cape Nature took on mapping and quality control, and Working for Water provided herbicide. This partnership has offered quality assurance as well as effective budgetary usage with as much of funds as possible going to pay labour in an area that has near 50% unemployment. In the first year there has been budget to keep about 100 people employed on average and as the project increases, potentially many more could be added. Thus the project, through the partnerships established aims to not only preserve biodiversity and water flow along the river but offers employment to the local population.
Innovation: The private, public, non-profit partnership is a strong approach to take on a public environmental threat. Local management seems to provide greater efficiency and effectiveness while NGO's offer environmental legitimacy and expertise.
Effectiveness: Environmental impact of the work can not be measured yet as the project is not complete, but feedback from NGO's and landowners has been positive. The budget necessary to cover the whole catchment area in the next 15 years needs to be R8 million per year. As of yet the budget is much lower but growing. Land Care is being matched by landowners with each having spent about R300,000 for the last year with all of Land Care's budget going to labour costs. Meanwhile, 1.7 million more has been pledged by the Lotto and an additional R450,000 was obtained from the Global Environment Fund and R220,000 from the Overstrand Municipal government. The partnership system guarantees multiple sources of funding and effective environmental action.
Poverty Impact: An average of 100 people is employed regularly by the project and paid at the budget about R10,000 per year. The numbers of employed will increase as funding increases thus helping unemployment. In addition, the removal of alien plants along farms should increase their capacity and increase economic output in the area.
Sustainability: The partnership system seems to guarantee a mixture of funding and thus sustainability. The budget now is relatively small to cover their needs but additional sources of funding are arising daily. Fires in the area will lead to additional government funding of R25 million or so and OCF seems to be finding new funding sources as well.
Replication: The threat of environmental degradation, with all of its cost to government, private property and conservation areas, exists in other parts of the country as well and thus this model of partnership should be replicable wherever those needs of private, public and non-profit intersect.