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EstuaryWatch & Waterwatch

ANNUAL ACHIEVEMENTS REPORT 2017-2018


CONTENTS

04 04 06 07 08 09 09 10 12

14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

Foreword Acknowledgment EstauryWatch Waterwatch River Detectives Saltwatch Fluker Post Melbourne region Corangamite region

West Gippsland region Mallee region North Central region Goulburn Broken region North East region Wimmera region Glenelg Hopkins region East Gippsland region Contacts & more information

2017-18

A SNAPSHOT Successfully recruited a new team of monitors during 2017-18, and trialed the use of drones for estuary mouth photopoints in the Melbourne region.

JUL

SEP

EstuaryWatch celebrated 10 years of citizen science monitoring on estuaries along the Victorian coastline.

Hopkins and Merri EstuaryWatch groups supported a ‘Summer by the Sea Estuary Explorers’ event held in Warrnambool, successfully engaging and educating the community on estuary environments.

OCT

AUG

DEC North East CMA launched a targeted campaign to mobilise new Waterwatch volunteers for unmonitored priority waterways in the region.

Wimmera Waterwatch environmental day on Yarriambiack Creek engaged 150 local students in water testing, bug identification, tree planting, and field walks with the Aboriginal Water Officer to learn about cultural uses of waterway plants and animals and the rich cultural heritage of the creek system. 2

JAN

NOV

4,000 students and 167 educators developed their water quality knowledge through the River Detectives Program to become citizen scientists and ambassadors for their local waterways.

The North Central Waterwatch team launched their first catchment condition report. This report is a baseline assessment of waterways monitored by community volunteers in the region for the past 20 years.


Fluker Post App launched, allowing the community to help monitor some of Victoria’s most iconic waterways on their phones via the app. EstuaryWatch Victoria won a Victorian Coastal Award for Community Engagement.

Volunteer data utilised to assist decision-making process to carry out a successful artificial estuary mouth for the Hopkins estuary due to inundation concerns.

Capacity-building volunteer event for Merri and Hopkins volunteers focusing on effectively managing estuaries, and requirements for securing accurate data.

MAY MAR

JUN

APR

FEB

Four CMAs collaborated to deliver the River Detectives program, supporting educators through professional learning workshops so they could monitor the health of waterways across Victoria.

To celebrate World Wetlands Day, the Corangamite CMA launched Western District Lakes Snapshots, a citizen science program that uses photos to monitor changes in water level in the lakes.

Melbourne Water received funding through the Port Phillip Bay Fund for a program that aims to target litter hotspots by encouraging and supporting volunteer groups to monitor litter at their local waterways. Source Reduction Action Plans have been implemented with success to reduce key litter items from entering the stormwater system.

Bird survey project in Mallee CMA undertaken in collaboration with Birdlife Australia; using their survey methodology and online database to store the data, working to improve long-term bird conservation and management. 3


FOREWORD

ESTUARYWATCH + WATERWATCH Victorians can continue enjoying healthy waterways across the state thanks to the hard work of EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch volunteers.

Funding for these community citizen science programs is part of the Victorian Government’s $222 million investment over four years to improve the health of waterways and catchments.

Volunteers put in countless hours of their own time to support the health of our environment and waterways. Information collected about waterway condition is used by catchment management authorities, water authorities and councils to inform waterway management decisions.

The EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch Annual Achievements Report 2017-18 provides a statewide update on the activities of the Victorian citizen science programs, describes how community monitoring programs are used to inform waterway management decisions, while strengthening community engagement and participation in waterways.

Active community participation in waterway management programs is a policy priority in Water for Victoria, the Victorian Governments plan for managing our water resources now and into the future. Through the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy, the Victorian Government is committed to continuing to support community participation in planning, implementation and monitoring activities for waterway management programs, including the strong continued support of community-based waterway monitoring undertaken through Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch.

ABORIGINAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch proudly acknowledges Victoria’s Aboriginal community and their rich culture and pays respect to their Elders past and present. We acknowledge Aboriginal people as Australia’s first peoples and as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and water on which we rely. We recognise and value the ongoing contribution of Aboriginal people and communities to Victorian life and how this enriches us. We embrace the spirit of reconciliation, working towards the equality of outcomes and ensuring an equal voice.

LEFT: A River Detectives participant identifying a waterbug.

4


Melbourne Waterwatch volunteers.

5


ESTUARYWATCH Described as “fast becoming a global leader in collecting, storing and communicating longterm data sets in estuary condition” by The Victorian Coastal Council, the EstuaryWatch program has solidified itself as a successful citizen science program that supports community members to actively participate in the monitoring of estuary health. In May 2018, EstuaryWatch Victoria won a Victorian Coastal Award for Community Engagement. The Victorian Coastal Awards are hosted by the Victorian Coastal Council and are a chance for the Victorian Government to recognise and celebrate the people and organisations that make such a difference to managing and protecting our spectacular coastal and marine environments.

Citizen Scientists involved in the 2017-18 programs contributed a total of

9,516 hours to care

for our waterways and estuaries. This contribution provides an economic value of the 2017-18 volunteer effort of

$319,832.76

The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change presented the award to EstuaryWatch Victoria. Congratulations to EstuaryWatch volunteers and coordinators on this fantastic achievement. A special mention to Marg O’Toole, Curdies River EstuaryWatcher, who won the Outstanding Individual Achievement Award.

ABOVE: EstuaryWatch volunteers.

Statewide Monitoring Map:

FOR MORE INFORMATION

•  http://www.vic.waterwatch.org.au/ water_watch_map

For more information about the EstuaryWatch program: • http://www.estuarywatch.org.au

13,250 EVENT PARTICIPANTS EstuaryWatch = 587; Waterwatch = 12,663 6


WATERWATCH Through the Waterwatch Program, citizen scientists are supported and encouraged to become actively involved in local waterway monitoring, and on-ground activities. Thousands of dedicated Waterwatch volunteers every year head out to their local waterways to monitor water quality and collect valuable environmental information. Since 1993, Waterwatch Victoria has been connecting local communities with waterway health and sustainable water management issues. The Waterwatch program continues to build on its established and valued role as a key community engagement program, connecting local communities with waterway managers and to encourage stewardship. As the program nears its 25-year anniversary, and beyond, it will continue to enhance its program to provide credible, relevant and accessible data to increase knowledge and inform management decisions. The Waterwatch Data Portal and the Waterwatch Victoria Data Confidence framework informs users of Waterwatch data of the breadth of monitoring purposes across the program. It is designed to introduce users of data to the wide range of monitoring purposes. In developing a state framework based around monitoring purpose, river health data collected under different Waterwatch programs can be recognised and valued, for its contribution to education, as well as to natural resource management.

135 ACTIVE GROUPS

EstuaryWatch = 18; Waterwatch = 117

ABOVE: Waterwatch community volunteers preparing to collect a water sample from Bendigo Creek in the in the North Central region.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Learn more about how Waterwatch volunteers are making a difference in Victoria or to find out how to become a volunteer: • http://www.waterwatch.org.au

865 ACTIVE SITES EstuaryWatch = 97; Waterwatch = 768

1,586 ACTIVE

VOLUNTEERS EstuaryWatch = 109; Waterwatch = 1,477 7


RIVER DETECTIVES Today’s young people are tomorrow’s future. This thinking is at the centre of the River Detectives program, a statewide citizen science program that, at its core, is engaging and inspiring young people to become future stewards of the environment. In 2017, the River Detectives program received Victorian Government funding to pilot a statewide program, targeting 60 schools across four CMA regions including North Central, Wimmera, North East and Corangamite, together with Melbourne Water.

Data collected by student citizen scientists is entered into the River Detectives portal and contributes to the Victorian Waterwatch database. Programs that include hands-on, real-life science activities undoubtedly connect students to the environment. FOR MORE INFORMATION • https://www.riverdetectives.net.au

The program provided access to professional learning opportunities, water science and macroinvertebrate monitoring kits, and an online platform for classroom resources and data capture. The pilot was a huge success, engaging over 100 schools and groups and more than 4,000 students. This multiregional approach provides consistent messaging across the state, is a great way to foster collaboration of ideas between agencies and provides a broad network of support for all involved. Waterwatch program facilitators train teachers and volunteers to become River Detectives Educators to monitor habitat, water quality and waterbugs at their local waterway. River Detectives Educators get their students actively involved in observing, testing and learning about catchment and waterway health.

4,000 STUDENTS ARE CITIZEN SCIENTISTS 8

ABOVE: River Detectives participants measuring the phosphorous levels of their local creek.

104 SCHOOLS

INVOLVED

99 SITES

MONITORED


SALTWATCH

FLUKER POST

One of Australia’s longest running community monitoring programs, Saltwatch is the state’s annual salinity snapshot, helping communities to learn about salinity through the hand-on collection and testing of water samples from local waterways.

The Victorian community can now help monitor some of Victoria’s most iconic waterways on their phones via a new app.

Saltwatch 2018, coincided with Education Week in Victorian schools. During Saltwatch week, schools and community groups from all over Victoria learn about the effects of salinity on water quality in their local catchment by collecting local water sources and testing with a salinity meter to determine salt content. While regular monitoring provides richer data, the strength of snap shot monitoring comes from the collaborative efforts of many registered groups, creating a picture of salinity across a wide area at a particular moment in time. Data gathered through snapshot monitoring provides a great opportunity to assess the condition of our waterways. The collaborative efforts of many registered groups creating a picture of salinity across the state can show changes in salinity ’hot spots’ over time, illustrate the effects of climatic changes such as the current drought, and may even pick up long-term trends. FOR MORE INFORMATION

Launched in March 2018, the Fluker Post App is a collaboration between Victoria University and the Victorian Government to encourage the community to capture photos of the waterways and landscapes love and use, and immediately upload them to provide a permanent visual record of the location. The app includes an archive of historical photos and allows users to see what the location looked like under different weather or management regimes. The Fluker Post App includes photos from newly installed Fluker Posts on some of Victoria’s most important waterways. Across Victoria there are 10 flagship waterways, each with new Fluker Posts. The flagship waterways are about working with community towards healthier rivers, estuaries and wetlands so more Victorians can enjoy the environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits that waterways provide. There are also Fluker Posts installed on a number of Victoria’s estuaries as part of the EstuaryWatch program. DOWNLOAD THE FLUKER POST APP • h  ttps://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-flukerpost-project/id1312700267?mt=8 • https://play.google.com/store/apps/ details?id=com.flukerpost.android

• http://www.vic.waterwatch.org.au/salt_ data_portal.php

50 SALTWATCH

ABOVE: Fluker Post App launch contributors from Victoria University, DELWP, Goulburn Broken CMA, Taungurung Clans.

VOLUNTEERS

9


MELBOURNE

ESTUARYWATCH + WATERWATCH REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: WATERBUGS The Melbourne Water Waterbug Census program has been running since 2014 and has had over 4,000 people involved in events, training and the collection of over 190 data samples. That’s included identifying and counting around 20,000 macroinvertebrates! By partnering with groups like Merri Creek Management Committee, Councils, Friends groups and Landcare the program has accredited several volunteers who can now teach others how to identify macroinvertebrates using ‘Agreed Level Taxonomy’. This methodology, developed by The Waterbug Company, gives citizen scientists a way to identify live animals without a microscope. The data can then be used to estimate the health of their local waterway. As well as collecting citizen science data, the program has increased awareness in the community about macroinvertebrates and how they are an indicator for healthy waterways. Videos, media articles, teaching resources, social media and filming on Scope further have educated people on the importance of these amazing ‘waterbugs’. Data collected contributes to Melbourne Water data sets and is also available on the Atlas of Living Australia. In spring 2018, data will also be collected as part of the National Waterbug Blitz and contribute to snapshot reports on waterway health across Australia.

80 ACTIVE

GROUPS EstuaryWatch = 2; Waterwatch = 78 10

ABOVE: Melbourne Waterbug Census.

FOR MORE INFORMATION •  https://www.melbournewater.com.au/ community-and-education/waterwatchprogram/waterbug-census

215 ACTIVE SITES EstuaryWatch = 2; Waterwatch = 213

1,235 ACTIVE

VOLUNTEERS EstuaryWatch = 8; Waterwatch = 1,227


REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: TACKLING LITTER AT THE SOURCE Melbourne Water has been fortunate to receive funding through the Port Phillip Bay Fund for a program that aims to target litter hotspots by encouraging and supporting volunteer groups to monitor litter at their local waterways. Source Reduction Action Plans are then created to reduce key litter items from entering the stormwater system. In 2017-2018, three litter monitoring groups were established at three different sites across Melbourne. At Blackburn Lake Sanctuary, large amounts of litter are deposited into the Sanctuary through stormwater from the surrounding catchment area. As well as being unsightly and affecting amenity, litter also has devastating impacts on the local wildlife. Monthly litter audits by volunteers identified polystyrene as the most abundant litter item, accounting for 54 per cent of all litter items found at the Sanctuary. By conducting further audits upstream, a neighbouring strip of homeware and white goods shops was identified as the likely source. A Source Reduction Action Plan (SRP) has been developed and is currently being implemented.

, 6 610 EVENT PARTICIPANTS

ABOVE: Clean Up Australia Day 2018 at Blackburn Lake Sanctuary with Blackburn Lake Sanctuary Advisory Committee and volunteers.

The SRP involves collaborating with local traders to review their waste management practices and implement measures including signage and education to reduce polystyrene from entering the stormwater system. Monthly litter audits will continue after implementation of the SRP to measure the effectiveness of the program. FOR MORE INFORMATION •  https://www.melbournewater.com.au/ community-and-education/waterwatchprogram •  https://www.mcmc.org.au/get-involved/ waterwatch

EVENT PARTICIPATION EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS

EVENT TYPE

738 1,961 3,076

Work shop Conference Meeting TOTAL

PARTICIPANTS

367 350 111 6,603

EstuaryWatch = 7; Waterwatch = 6,603 Melbourne - EstuaryWatch & Waterwatch

11


CORANGAMITE

WATERWATCH + ESTUARYWATCH REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: RAMSAR LAKES IN FOCUS FOR WORLD WETLANDS DAY World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February to raise global awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet.

In years to come, these photos, alongside water quality results, local knowledge and other research, will be used to better understand how the lakes are responding to climate change and changes in land use practices. The significance of the Western District lakes is recognised under the Ramsar convention. These wetlands are home to numerous waterbirds, fish, invertebrates, plants and fungus species that are highly adapted to these specialised environments. Corangamite CMA hosted an environmental photography workshop to launch the program. Training was provided by photographer Alison Pouliot with advice and tips for becoming better observers of environmental change. They learnt about both the technical and creative aspects of environmental photography, in particular, how images can document environments in both space and time.

ABOVE: Capturing images of water connecting Cundare Pool to Lake Corangamite.

It also marks the date of adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971, an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. To celebrate World Wetlands Day, the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority launched Western District Lakes Snapshots, a citizen science program that uses photos to monitor changes in water level in the lakes.

36 ACTIVE

GROUPS EstuaryWatch = 12; Waterwatch = 24 12

Since the event there have been 25 people register an interest in becoming a Western District Lakes Snapshots volunteer. Corangamite CMA have been busy meeting with the new Western District Lakes Snapshots volunteers and establishing photopoint monitoring sites. FOR MORE INFORMATION Waterwatch events have been reported widely in print and social media. Resources can be viewed at: • http://www.ccma.vic.gov.au

197 ACTIVE SITES EstuaryWatch = 75; Waterwatch = 122

158 ACTIVE

VOLUNTEERS EstuaryWatch = 84; Waterwatch = 74


Anglesea River Estuary photopoint – the large sand mass is captured in three photos from the photopoint site Ap1 on beach dunes. Visit http://www.estuarywatch.org.au/site/ccma/531

REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: GATHERING IMPORTANT PHOTOPOINT DATA THROUGH ESTUARYWATCH AND FLUKER POSTS The collection of visual data on Corangamite’s iconic coastlines tells the story of rivers closing and opening as sand masses in front of the river mouth (the berm) are formed and then are broken through. Estuaries opening to the sea can be natural or artificial, and provides the connectivity between marine and freshwater. There are 12 intermittently or permanently open estuaries monitored by Corangamite EstuaryWatch and photographic evidence of change has been captured by EstuaryWatch monitors over the last 10 years. Monthly photopoint records of mouth condition provides vital information on status of water levels in an estuary and this helps with waterway management.

REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: WINNERS ARE GRINNERS! In May 2018, EstuaryWatch Victoria won a Victorian Coastal Award for Community Engagement. Congratulations to EstuaryWatch volunteers and coordinators on this fantastic achievement and a special mention to Marg O’Toole, Curdies River EstuaryWatcher. Marg won the Outstanding Individual Achievement Award. This is awarded to an individual in recognition of their significant long-term contribution to the protection and improvement of Victoria’s coastal and marine environment. Marg O’Toole has been a key contributor to coastal and marine research, planning, management and environmental education for over 25 years.

Community members who are not yet EstuaryWatchers can get involved in monitoring change with the Fluker Post Mobile App. Fluker Posts have been installed at Barwon, Anglesea and Curdies estuaries to provide additional data to inform estuary management and complement mouth condition monitoring done by EstuaryWatch groups.

RIGHT: Barwon River EstauaryWatchers celebrate winning the Victorian Coastal Award.

,182 3EVENT PARTICIPANTS EstuaryWatch = 422; Waterwatch = 2,760

EVENT PARTICIPATION EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS EW

WW

148 191 83

93 147 2,520

EVENT TYPE

Work shop Conference Meeting TOTAL

PARTICIPANTS EW

WW

-

-

422

2,760

Corangamite - EstuaryWatch & Waterwatch

13


WEST GIPPSLAND

ESTUARYWATCH + WATERWATCH REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: ESTUARYWATCH, SUPPORTING ESTUARY MANAGEMENT The EstuaryWatch program has supported effective estuary entrance management at the Powlett River since 2010. Over the past year or so, EstuaryWatch sites have also been established at Wreck Creek (Inverloch) and Bourne Creek (Kilcunda), to assist with estuary entrance management. With limited time and resource availability, volunteers have not been established at these sites. Instead staff monitoring occurs using the EstuaryWatch infrastructure.

Monitoring at these locations has dramatically increased the WGCMA and its estuary entrance management partners (i.e. Bass Coast Shire Council and VicRoads) understanding about the natural processes that lead to the inundation of socio-economic assets (i.e. drive the need for artificial estuary mouth openings). This has also built confidence, understanding and trust within these organisations to improve our ability to cater for natural estuary mouth openings and artificial estuary mouth openings that are likely to better accommodate natural estuarine processes, such as fish migration. This approach requires more flexibility and effective communication but ensures better outcomes.

Estuaries Unmasked ‘Creature Feature’ at Merriman Creek, Seaspray.

6 ACTIVE

GROUPS EstuaryWatch = 2; Waterwatch = 4 14

20 ACTIVE SITES EstuaryWatch = 6; Waterwatch = 14

29 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS EstuaryWatch = 6; Waterwatch = 23


REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: WATERWATCH WORKING WITH THE EPA AT WATERHOLE CREEK, MORWELL From 2015 to early 2018, the WGCMA worked with, and supported the EPA, with their Caring for Waterhole Creek Citizen Science Campaign. This campaign was driven by environmental issues relating to EPA and WGCMA’s priorities, as well as factors relating to community values and public health. The aim of this campaign was to better understand the existing environmental condition of Waterhole Creek in order to inform current and future management practices regarding waterway health and biodiversity protection. It involved fortnightly water quality monitoring, plus testing for other substances such as heavy metals and pesticides, plus macro invertebrate sampling. The campaign is now complete (please refer to the link under the ‘What have we learnt’ heading for more information) and the emphasis is now upon addressing water quality issues and supporting significant species (i.e. Dwarf Galaxias) through targeted on-ground action in the Waterhole Creek Catchment. On-ground works will continue to be guided by the Waterhole Creek Waterway Management Plan, with reference to the results of this campaign to ensure threats are mitigated.

ABOVE: Waterhole Creek Community Planting Day 2014.

FOR MORE INFORMATION •  http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/ Publications/1697.pdf

EVENT PARTICIPATION

157 EVENT PARTICIPANTS EstuaryWatch = 93; Waterwatch = 64

EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS EW

WW

8 30 55

11 8 45

EVENT TYPE

Work shop Conference Meeting TOTAL

PARTICIPANTS EW

WW

-

-

93

64

West Gippsland - EstuaryWatch & Waterwatch

15


MALLEE

WATERWATCH REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: EAGLE EYES MAP BIRDLIFE ON MALLEE WETLANDS

Luka said he enjoyed being part of a larger collective community group working to improve long-term bird conservation and management.

A call was put out to community who had an interest in native birds to be involved in a project surveying birds. The project was undertaken in collaboration with Birdlife Australia; using their survey methodology and online database to store the data.

“Birds are easy to monitor, but they tell us a lot about the health of the environment as well,” Luka said.

Volunteers in the project participated in a Citizen Science workshop using the ‘how to’ manual specifically developed for the program. The program has been a huge success and feedback from participants has been very positive. An outcome from the project has been volunteers surveying at Brickworks Billabong found many freckled ducks, a threatened species in Victoria, this saw duck shooting at this site suspended for 2018. Teenagers Luka Modica and Harvy Burgess are two of the volunteers who undertake monthly surveys at Ducksfoot Lagoon. Harvy told the Mallee CMA, “we just get on our bikes and head down to the Billabong, which is close to where Luka lives,”

“I’ve loved bird watching since I was in primary school, but it’s good to get out and really take notice of what impact environmental changes have on the species that are here,” he said. “But it’s also great that Harvy and I just have a reason to get together and relax and talk about stuff other than what we’re doing on the monitoring project – I really enjoy it.” WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT Citizen science opens up the eyes of community members to their local natural spaces. It inspires community members to become more involved in helping out with looking after ‘their’ environment. Resources can be viewed at: • http://www.malleecma.vic.gov.au

“It’s nice to be outdoors and doing something useful as well as contributing information about where birds are moving and how that relates to other wildlife.”

3ACTIVE

GROUPS 16

29 ACTIVE SITES

16 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS


Teenagers Luka and Harvy surveying birds at Ducksfoot Lagoon.

EVENT PARTICIPATION

26 EVENT PARTICIPANTS

EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS

13 13

EVENT TYPE

Work shop Conference Meeting TOTAL

PARTICIPANTS

26

Mallee - Waterwatch

17


NORTH CENTRAL WATERWATCH Nicole and Melissa testing a water sample from Bendigo Creek 2017.

4ACTIVE

GROUPS 18

132 ACTIVE SITES

39 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS


REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: THE STORY OF NORTH CENTRAL WATERWATCH – THE FUTURE OF OUR WATERWAYS IS IN GOOD HANDS Most waterways across the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) region have been monitored for water quality over the past two decades. Thousands of community volunteers have been supported to act as citizen scientists to collect important ecological information and have helped us to create a snapshot of waterway health. In 2018, while celebrating 25 years of Waterwatch, the North Central Waterwatch team launched their first Catchment Condition Report. This report is a baseline assessment of waterways monitored by community volunteers in the region for the past 20 years. Understanding the issues that our waterways face and reporting on the condition of these systems is important for guiding waterway management decisions and understanding other impacts such as the changing climate. The results in this report highlight that our region’s waterways are generally in good to moderate health, with some areas affected by high salinity levels commonly associated with land use activities such as land clearing and irrigation. Some waterways are also impacted by increased nutrients, mostly associated with nearby Water Reclamation Plants (WRP). To see the full report, go to: http://www.nccma.vic.gov.au

,053 1EVENT PARTICIPANTS

ABOVE: North Central Waterwatch Data Report, 2018.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT North Central Waterwatch has been working closely with community and aquatic ecologists to establish outcomes for monitoring programs that empower our community volunteers and showcases how the data is being used to help make informed decisions about waterway management. For more information visit: • http://www.nccma.vic.gov.au

EVENT PARTICIPATION EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS

82 22 293

EVENT TYPE

Work shop Conference Meeting TOTAL

PARTICIPANTS

55 1,053

North Central - Waterwatch

19


GOULBURN BROKEN WATERWATCH REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: WATER – THE HEART OF CULTURE National Water Week activities were a huge success in 2017, with Goulburn Broken Waterwatch engaging local students and community members in activities and events focused on ‘Water – the Heart of the Culture’. In 2017-18 Waterwatch, together with Goulburn Valley Water, Goulburn Broken CMA and Goulburn Murray Landcare Network worked together to coordinate a catchment-wide program. The theme placed an emphasis on collaborating with local Indigenous communities and encouraged young people to understand why water is such a precious source of life. The theme also allowed them to explore water’s cultural significance in our Indigenous communities. A fabulous ‘Indigi-art Water Animal Competition’ was developed and involved school students decorating wooden native animal shapes whilst learning about Indigenous art and the cultural importance of water to the Aboriginal people of our catchment. Students also participated in other competitions that followed the ‘Water – the Heart of Culture’ theme. This included ‘Dreamtime Story’ Writing and Photography Competitions where participants were encouraged to write a poem or story about the creation of a waterway or native water animal using inspiration from Dreamtime stories or to explore visual story telling via a photograph.

3ACTIVE

GROUPS 20

ABOVE: School students decorated wooden native animals whilst learning about Indigenous art and the cultural importance of water in our catchment.

FOR MORE INFORMATION We have a wide range of educational resources, fact sheets, equipment and online activities available for schools and community groups in the Goulburn Broken Catchment interested in learning more about water in our region: https://www.gvwater.vic.gov.au/community/ school-education Resources can be found at: • https://www.gbcma.vic.gov.au

169 ACTIVE SITES

54 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS


Image credit: Goulburn Broken CMA

,187 1EVENT PARTICIPANTS

EVENT PARTICIPATION EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS

32 1,105 150

EVENT TYPE

Work shop Conference Meeting TOTAL

PARTICIPANTS

1,087

Goulburn Broken - Waterwatch

21


NORTH EAST WATERWATCH Waterwatch macroinvertebrate sampling training day at Myrtleford.

5 ACTIVE

GROUPS 22

40 ACTIVE SITES

29 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS


REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: UPSCALING CITIZEN SCIENCE AND MOBILISATION OF NEW WATERWATCH MONITORING VOLUNTEERS In 2017-18 the North East CMA launched a targeted campaign to mobilise new Waterwatch volunteers for unmonitored priority waterways in the region. Many of our existing monitoring sites were located on the Ovens and Kiewa Rivers, and the program had limited capacity to engage volunteers to monitor some of the more remote priority waterways like the Upper Mitta Mitta and Upper Murray areas due to limited access to monitoring equipment. With support from DELWP, the North East Waterwatch program filled this gap, by identifying and engaging new volunteers in these areas, and building their capacity to enable them to participate in the program. The primary objective of this program has been to strengthen citizen science and encourage waterway stewardship. The project supports physical, chemical and macroinvertebrate monitoring at both new and pre-existing sites. The project specifically sought to work with community and Landcare groups to leverage the additional support that the groups can lend their Waterwatch volunteers, including maintaining equipment. Four Landcare Groups have come on board and a total of 19 new volunteers (individually or aligned to Landcare groups) have joined so far under this project.

ABOVE: Image credit: North East CMA.

Two training days were run for volunteers to gain skills in macroinvertebrate sampling and water quality testing. Following the training the volunteers were provided with equipment. The new volunteers have shown a lot of enthusiasm, and we look forward to a long partnership with them in Waterwatch. FOR MORE INFORMATION • https://www.necma.vic.gov.au

EVENT PARTICIPATION

745 EVENT PARTICIPANTS

EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS

60 18 685

EVENT TYPE

Work shop Conference Meeting TOTAL

PARTICIPANTS

25 745

North East - Waterwatch

23


WIMMERA

WATERWATCH REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: RIVER DETECTIVES COLLABORATION CONTINUES This year Wimmera Waterwatch support for schools has continued to link with the cross-regional River Detectives program, tree planting events along local waterways, and an Aboriginal Water Project focused on documenting and sharing information on Aboriginal cultural uses and values of the Wimmera River system. An environmental day at Lah on Yarriambiack Creek, for example, engaged around 150 local students in water testing and bug identification as well as tree planting, and field walks with the Aboriginal Water Officer to learn about cultural uses of waterway plants and animals and the rich cultural heritage of the creek system.

ABOVE: Horsham students participate in a day of environmental activities with Wimmera CMA and Landcare staff on the banks of the Wimmera River.

Another day of outdoor learning on the banks of the Wimmera River east of Horsham engaged 50 students from Horsham Primary School 298 campus in similar activities to improve habitat linkages and protection of the riverbank. Wimmera schools and youth community programs can apply to be a part of River Detectives which gives them access to a water monitoring kit, for the teacher/leader to attend training sessions and the ability to access more activities, resources and an interactive data recording portal on this website.

1ACTIVE GROUP 24

Waterwatch community monitors provide important feedback on the condition of water quality along the Wimmera River. FOR MORE INFORMATION •  http://www.wcma.vic.gov.au

21 ACTIVE SITES

9 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS


Image credit: Wimmera CMA.

EVENT PARTICIPATION

225 EVENT PARTICIPANTS

EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS

EVENT TYPE

25 200 -

Work shop Conference Meeting TOTAL

PARTICIPANTS

8 225

Wimmera - Waterwatch

25


GLENELG HOPKINS ESTUARYWATCH REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: VOLUNTEER DATA ASSISTS HOPKINS ESTUARY MANAGEMENT ACTIONS Eleven active and dedicated EstuaryWatch volunteers monitored dynamic estuary mouth and water quality conditions of the Hopkins and Merri systems in south west Victoria near Warrnambool in 2017-18. The EstuaryWatch volunteer program, supported by Glenelg Hopkins CMA, increases the capacity of locals to engage with their environment and provide information about estuarine and coastal processes and water profiles.

Meanwhile, a feature event for the Merri Estuary this reporting year was the natural mouth opening in September 2017. This followed heavy rainfall which flushed through large volumes of sediment, sculpting one of the largest mouth entrances observed in years. FOR MORE INFORMATION Resources can be viewed at: • https://www.ghcma.vic.gov.au

Data collection was put to good use in May when an artificial estuary mouth opening was successfully carried out for the Hopkins estuary due to inundation concerns. Glenelg Hopkins CMA coastal projects coordinator Jarred Obst used measurements and observations logged by EstuaryWatch volunteers in his decision-making process and commended the quality of data.

ABOVE: Conservation and Land Management TAFE students and EstuaryWatch volunteers. LEFT: Merri and Hopkins EW volunteers, Glenelg River.

2ACTIVE

GROUPS 26

14 ACTIVE SITES

11 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS


Heavy rainfall in September 2017 sculpted one of the largest mouth entrances observed in many years, for the Merri River at Rutledge’s Cutting, near Warrnambool.

EVENT PARTICIPATION

65 EVENT PARTICIPANTS

EVENT TYPE

Training Presentation Field day

PARTICIPANTS

EVENT TYPE

PARTICIPANTS

13 12 -

Work shop Conference Meeting

40 -

TOTAL

65

Glenelg Hopkins - EstuaryWatch

27


EAST GIPPSLAND WATERWATCH Monitoring site at Deddick River.

28 ACTIVE SITES 28

6 ACTIVE VOLUNTEERS


REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: CITIZEN SCIENCE IN A SNAP

REGIONAL HIGHLIGHT: APPLAUSE FOR WATERWATCH MONITORING EFFORTS

Citizen science in East Gippsland is now as easy as taking a photo thanks to the installation of five Fluker Posts installed across the region in 2017-18.

Waterwatch applauds the long-term commitment of monitors in East Gippsland in 2017-18: 16 year datasets at Nicholson River and Deddick River, and long-term datasets in the making have been collected in the last six years at Forge Creek.

The posts have been installed by the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) in partnership with DELWP and Victoria University to encourage the community to capture photos of the waterways and landscapes they love and enjoy. Strategically placed on the highway bridge at Cann River, the West Cann bridge, Eagle Point Bluff and overlooking the estuary openings at Lake Tyers and Marlo, each post contains a fixed photo-point where visitors are encouraged to place their smartphone, take a snap and send it to a listed email or upload it directly through an app. The photographs can then be used to monitor the changing state of the environment over time. The Fluker Post Project allows the community to directly contribute towards the ongoing care and monitoring of our environment.

A new monitor is taking samples of ten different wetlands in the district as well. The East Gippsland Waterwatch program provides monitors with the resources they need to collect these important water quality datasets and monitors are aware of the necessity to maintain calibrated equipment to generate credible data. In East Gippsland, volunteer monitors are entering their own data on the web portal making sure the information they collect is accurate and timely. This data is made available to the community and waterway managers on the Waterwatch web portal. WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT Waterwatch community monitors provide important feedback on the condition of water quality along waterways in East Gippsland. Resources can be viewed at: • http://www.egcma.com.au

LEFT: Fluker Post at Eagle Point Bluff.

East Gippsland - EstuaryWatch

29


FURTHER INFORMATION EstuaryWatch: https://www.vic.waterwatch.org.au Waterwatch Victoria: https://www.estuarywatch.org.au River Detectives: https://www.riverdetectives.net.au Saltwatch: http://www.vic.waterwatch.org.au/salt_data_portal.php Fluker Post Project: http://www.flukerpost.com National Waterbug Blitz: https://www.waterbugblitz.org.au Contact: Sasha Wells Statewide EstuaryWatch Waterwatch Facilitator E: sasha.wells@ccma.vic.gov.au | vicwaterwatchestuarywatch@ccma.vic.gov.au M: 0459 835 628

http://www.ccma.vic.gov.au https://www.melbournewater.com.au

http://www.egcma.com.au

http://www.nccma.vic.gov.au

https://www.ghcma.vic.gov.au https:/www.necma.vic.gov.au

http://www.malleecma.vic.gov.au

https://www.wgcma.vic.gov.au

http://www.wcma.vic.gov.au

Design & Production: franklane.com.au 13487_2019

https://www.gvwater.vic.gov.au

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EstuaryWatch & Waterwatch Annual Achievements Report 2017-2018  

The Annual Achievements Report is an update on what’s been happening with the Victorian EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch programs during 2017-201...

EstuaryWatch & Waterwatch Annual Achievements Report 2017-2018  

The Annual Achievements Report is an update on what’s been happening with the Victorian EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch programs during 2017-201...

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