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Victoria leads the way in supporting citizen scientists

February 26, 2018

Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch are leading the way in supporting citizen scientists to participate in monitoring of their local waterways.
The Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch programs recently published their latest Annual Achievements Report capturing the activities and achievements of the two programs during 2016-17, highlighting the diversity and impact of the two programs.

Activities in the report range from monitoring the impact of estuary remediation works on Merricks Creek, the launch of a Frog Census APP, water quality monitoring of flood waters on the Murray River and assisting EPA with water quality monitoring in the Latrobe Valley.

Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch are long-running citizen science programs being delivered across Victoria. Program coordinators engage, train and support community volunteers to gather water quality data from rivers, lakes and estuaries, and currently more than 1000 volunteers monitoring more than 800 sites.

“Active community participation in waterway management program is outlined as a priority in the Victorian Government’s Water for Victoria water plan, and as this Annual Achievements Report clearly shows the Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch programs are extremely effective at recruiting and supporting community based monitoring of our waterways,” State Waterwatch Coordinator, Deirdre Murphy said.
In the Corangamite region EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch data has been critical in better understanding water quality events such as the fish death event reported on the Barwon River in 2016.  The Waterwatch monitor network on the Barwon River and Boundary Creek monitoring sites were able to provide timely information on the pH levels before during and after the event.

“Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch monitors are keeping watch of our local waterways.  As well as collecting long term data on the condition of Victoria’s waterways volunteers are quick to report water quality incidents such as fish deaths, algal blooms and low pH events.  The Corangamite CMA would be lost without their local knowledge and regular observations.” Corangamite EstuaryWatch Coordinator, Rose Herben said.
Funding for the community programs is part of the Victorian Government’s $222 million investment in improving waterway and catchment health. To find out more about the programs and to download a copy of the report visit www.estuarywatch.org.au or www.vic.waterwatch.org.au

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