WATERWATCH is a national citizen science program, involving landholders, community groups and schools, across NSW.
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Waterwatch is happening right here in Port Stephens.
It aims to engage communities in monitoring and protecting the health of local waterways.
Small waterways make up three-quarters of the total waterway network within any given catchment and they are of great interest to local communities.
NSW Waterwatch participants like Col and Clyne Bridgeman, can take an active role in monitoring the health of their local catchments by conducting monthly water quality testing and optional seasonal surveys of aquatic macroinvertebrates, to understand and monitor the health of their rivers, and provide quality assured data, which is uploaded to the NSW Waterwatch online database.
With the data they collect, communities can influence the management of their local waterways and take direct action.
Each month the Bridgeman’s take samples of water quality from the wetlands and waterways that lead into the Bay.
Col Bridgeman told News Of The Area, “We have been testing water for the past 5 years and conduct seven different tests at each location.”
Citizen science participants in the Waterwatch program investigate local catchments, looking at the landform, the rocks and soils, rainfall patterns, and the living things such as plants and animals.
They learn to understand what is happening in their catchment and identify water quality problems, such as pollution, erosion, channel obstructions, over extraction, over use by some recreational activities.
Identify solutions: For each environmental problem, there are a range of solutions. Knowing what the problems are and how bad they are will help identify the best solutions.
The volunteers at Waterwatch working with Land Services NSW take action to help fix the problems such as planting trees to help stop erosion.
You can get involved in Waterwatch and become a citizen science participant by visiting www.nswwaterwatch.org.au.
By Marian SAMPSON