Colac locals learn how to be Pesticide Detectives

Corangamite CMA welcomed community members from Colac and District to join Kavitha Chinathamby from RMIT to demonstrate how citizen scientists are sampling for pesticides in waterways. There was strong community interest in the monitoring sessions held in the Colac region. This February, sediment and water samples at eleven sites including Lake Colac, Barongarook Creek, Deans Creek, Pirron Yallock Creek, Boundary Creek and Dewing Creek were collected and analysed.

This was the third time citizen scientist in the Corangamite region sampled waterways to evaluate pesticide load in the sediments of estuaries and freshwater streams and wetlands. Citizen scientists, including Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch monitors, had monitored 10 estuaries in the pilot program in May 2019. Later in October 2019, ten more waterways across the catchment were visited including waterways in Geelong and Ballarat, as well as the Gellibrand catchment.

Pesticide Detectives sampling event was also an opportunity to do additional sampling for the EPA’s zinc mapping citizen science program. The EPA are analysing water and sediment samples in the Geelong, Ballarat and Colac areas to determine impact of stormwater on the level of metal concentrations in urban waterways.

If you want to get involved in Pesticide Detectives, you can participate in an anonymous survey on the Pesticide Detectives website that will help inform pesticide use in Australian homes and gardens. And keep an eye on the Corangamite CMA Facebook and website for upcoming citizen science activities in the region.