Welcome to the first EstuaryWatch Waterwatch seasonal newsletter

Here you will be kept up to date with the Waterwatch, EstuaryWatch and other citizen science programs across the state. This is a place to find out about actions being undertaken to discover more about the health of waterways as well as community engagement events and opportunities to get involved. Click here to subscribe to the newsletter.

Warm New Year Wishes! 

We hope your year so far has been safe, and you managed spent some time during the holiday period, and whilst the weather is fine, enjoying the waterways and surrounding environment. If you’re lucky enough to see a platypus, remember to record the details at Your sightings help to better understand and protect platypus.

25 Years of Waterwatch!

2018 was a great year, a momentous year and a year that marked 25 years of the Waterwatch program. Celebrations were held across the state, with the Minister for Water, Lisa Neville attending a key event with Corangamite Waterwatchers as part of the celebration.

“Thank you to Waterwatch volunteers across Victoria who put in countless hours of their own time to support the health of our environment and waterways. This is a great example of initiatives funded by the government that are run by the community and support the community.”
“The 25-year milestone exemplifies the long-term commitment of the community to protect and enhance the health of their waterways – so that they will remain healthy for generations to come.”
Here’s to another 25 years of Waterwatch!

National Waterbug Blitz!

The National Waterbug Blitz is Australia’s first nationwide waterway monitoring event. 

In spring each year, Australians are encouraged to become citizen scientists and investigate how healthy their local waterways and wetlands are, simply by exploring and identifying what waterbugs they contain. The type and number of waterbugs found in a waterway can tell us a lot about how healthy that waterway is.

Spring 2018 saw a buzz of activity across the state, with Waterwatch coordinators, volunteers and interested community joining together to learn more about waterbugs and contribute valuable information to the database. Find out more about the National Waterbug Blitz! and download the Waterbug App.

Melbourne Water Waterbug Census.

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 a number of volunteers who can now teach others how to identify macroinvertebrates using ‘Agreed Level Taxonomy’. ...find out more here.

Index of Estuary Condition.

An assessment of the condition of our local estuaries is underway this summer.
The Victorian Index of Estuary Condition (IEC) is a program that aims to assess and report on the condition of estuaries across Victoria, assisting in their management and provide a baseline for assessing long-term changes in estuary condition. Find out more about Index of Estuary Condition.

Images: Barwon EstuaryWatch volunteers monitoring water quality for the Index of Estuary Condition at the lower Barwon barrage – the uppermost extent of the Barwon estuary. Here they met fish ecologist Justin O’Connor from Arthur Rylah Institute who took time to explain his work monitoring the effectiveness of the Barwon fishway. The EstuaryWatch volunteers enjoyed measuring IEC parameters, learning more about fish fauna and the fishway, and visiting this special reach of the Barwon River.

Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project.

The Barwon Heads community have expressed an interest in establishing a public health driven, water quality monitoring program for the Barwon River estuary. The Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project involves the community in a citizen science program trialing the monitoring of recreational water quality indicators, whilst keeping the community informed about public health impacts.

The community are collecting data on the quality of water in the estuary, in the proximity of stormwater outfalls and areas of high recreational use. A variety of parameters will be regularly measured including enterococci levels, ammonia, pH, turbidity, general observations of the appearance and odour of the water. 

Following a volunteer water quality monitor training session in December, 16 enthusiastic community members became trained monitors for the Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project. The volunteers are split into three smaller teams, The EstuaryWatchers, The Swamp Hens and The Spoonbills, covering 8 key monitoring sites stretching across Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove. 

Keep your eyes open for our new team of monitors if you're on the beach this Summer, and through to May. To stay up to date, visit Instagram or subscribe to the monthly project update newsletter.


Our home, our nearby nature around Edgars Creek in Epping.

It was boiling hot, then thundered with rain, but 30 participants enjoyed themselves learning about the local ecology and pollution issues of the Edgars Creek in Epping North while celebrating 25 years of Waterwatch in Victoria. Creeds Farm Living and Learning Centre was the venue for the event organised by the Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) that featured activities for the kids including skin art of the local animals that live in Edgars Creek, looking at live waterbugs and meeting a local spotted marsh frog. 

A line up of presenters spoke about the Edgars Creek in many contexts. Participants heard about the restoration work that the local community are putting into the creek from FRoGG leader Joanna Durst (Friends of Growlers Grasslands). Julia Cirillo, Waterwatch Coordinator MCMC, spoke about the current pollution issues in the Edgars Creek, including elevated turbidity levels, and outlined citizen science programs people can get involved in such as Waterwatch and Frog Census. The future of how the Edgars Creek pollution issues will be addressed holistically, known as Integrated Water Management (IWM), was presented by Suresh Bajracharya from Melbourne Water. Currently, an IWM plan has been documented for the Upper Merri catchment.


The most important part of the evening was thanking Waterwatch volunteers for their commitments and to celebrate 25 years of Waterwatch. Friends of Merri Creek Stream Health Team leader Irene Baker gave a fascinating presentation of water quality data and stories about why she has been involved in monitoring the Edgars and Merri Creek for 15 years. To thank the volunteers and present them with gifts and certificates, we were gratefully aided by Andrew Giles MP, Federal Member for Scullin, Bronwyn Halfpenny MP, Member for Thomastown and Cr Laurence Cox, Mayor, City of Whittlesea.
If you would like to become a Waterwatch volunteer along the Merri Creek in Epping North, contact Waterwatch Coordinator, Julia Cirillo at or register to attend the upcoming Waterwatch Water Quality Workshop - Sunday 17 March. 

Images: Waterwatch volunteers from the FoMC Stream Health Team, Westgate Park Waterwatch, staff from the City of Whittlesea Sustainability and Community Development Teams, Max Sergeant from Creeds Farm Living and Learning Centre, Suresh Bajracharya from Melbourne Water, and Waterwatch Coordinator Julia Cirillo, along with Andrew Giles MP, Federal Member for Scullin, Bronwyn Halfpenny MP, Member for Thomastown and Cr Laurence Cox, Mayor, City of Whittlesea. Credit Dr Reshmi Kiran.

Plan Your Own Merri or Edgars Creek Clean-Up – We need YOU!

Have you been walking along the Edgars or Merri Creek after rainfall and seen a higher amount of litter in the creek? Want to do something about it?

For the next 2 years Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC) are collecting data on the type and amount of litter entering the creeks at certain points, in order to trace the litter to its source and find ways to stop litter getting to the creeks in the first instance. FoMC will be organising Source Reduction Plan workshops with the local community to talk to local businesses and others to find the sources and stop litter ending up in our creeks.

For further information go to visit Friends of Merri Creek or contact the Rapid Response to Litter Project Coordinator on 9380 8199 or
The Rapid Response to litter after high rainfall has been funded by the Victorian Government as part of the Port Phillip Bay Fund.

Local Students Seek Solutions to Pollution.

Students from Antonine College in Coburg enjoyed learning about the health of Merri Creek by testing the turbidity (muddiness of the water) during a field trip in East Brunswick recently. Water samples from Merri Creek were analysed and it was discovered on that day at least, the creek turbidity was relatively low and considered quite good for ecological heath.

However student testing samples of Merri Creek water from back in June 2018, taken after recent rainfall, showed considerably higher turbidity levels and a poor result for ecological heath. Much of this elevated turbidity is most likely due to widespread disturbance of soils in the upper catchment, where new urban development is taking place.

Stormwater and pollution impacts on plants and animals were discussed and students had some interesting ideas on how the turbidity levels could be reduced, including adding large filters to our stormwater drains! 

Frogs and Dogs - What frogs live in Yarra event

On a very hot evening, 17 participants kept cool in the lovely Bargoonga Nganjin library in North Fitzroy to learn about frog species and populations in the City of Yarra.

Merri Creek Management Committee’s Waterwatch Coordinator and frog researchers Naomi and Nicholas from Canine Ecological gave interactive presentations on the different types of frogs that live locally. Participants met a live local spotted marsh frog, learned how to identify local frogs by their distinctive calls using the frog census app, and how to build a frog bog at their own homes.

Canine Ecological gave a fascinating demonstration of their dogs Daisy and Kip who have been trained to use scent to sniff out various fauna species including frogs and quolls. We watched Daisy and Kip go through their paces with special scent jars and they were amazingly accurate.

This research will help pinpoint endangered species populations such as the Growling Grass Frog, which one of the dogs is being trained to pick up the scent. Children were kept entertained with frog jumping and live waterbug discovery activities.
Image Credit: Canine Ecological. 

Farewell Jacinta Burke - Goulburn Broken Waterwatch.

Goulburn Broken Waterwatch has recently farewelled Jacinta
Burke who is making a sea change from Shepparton
to Torquay. Jacinta began working at Goulburn Valley Water in 2001 where she worked alongside David Hodgkins who initiated Waterwatch in 1995. In her 18 years at GV Water, Jacinta did a lot of work for the Goulburn Broken Waterwatch program, particularly in her early years. She was an extremely efficient worker and no job was too big or too small. She will be sorely missed by everyone who had the pleasure of working with her.
...this story has a happy chapter to follow, with Jacinta very recently coming on board as Project Officer, Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project with the Corangamite CMA, to drive the final months of this exciting water quality monitoring project at Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove.

Upcoming Events.

For more information and other upcoming Waterwatch events, visit our events page.

Clean Up Australia Day - Pick up for a platypus!

Sunday 3 March, 9.30am-11.30am.
Belgrave Lake Park, Judkins Avenue, Belgrave

Join ecologist Josh Griffiths to learn about platypus and sample Monbulk Creek for their DNA. Afterwards we will be protecting platypus by collecting litter around the area. Morning tea generously provided by Care You Love.
Registration is essential.

Waterwatch at Ballarat Begonia Festival

Saturday 9 March- Monday 11 March.
Ballarat Botanical Gardens, Ballarat.

The Ballarat Begonia Festival is a FREE event hosted by the City of Ballarat held over the Labor Day long weekend. Join Waterwatch and get up close and personal with local Ballarat waterbugs, as well as educational activities daily 10am - 5pm.

Waterwatch Water Quality Workshop

Sunday 17 March, 10am-3.30pm
Van Raay Centre Room 3, CERES, Brunswick East.  

Free training session to become a volunteer Waterwatch monitor. By monitoring water quality and biological indicators and observing the environment we can learn about the health of waterways and help identify problems. All equipment, training manual, technical support and advice are provided and you will receive a certificate on completion.
Registration is essential.

Platypus Picnic for Nature Play Week

Wednesday 24 April,10.30am-11.30am.
Peppercorn Shelter, Edendale Farm 30 Gastons Rd Eltham VIC 3095

Join us for a morning of activities for preschoolers. Youngsters will get to meet Splash the platypus, see our wriggly waterbugs, learn about our waterways and make their own creation to take home. Wear appropriate clothing for outdoors. All children must be actively supervised by an adult.
Registration is essential.

Summer Scribbling.

Looking for something to keep the kids or grandkids busy? Melbourne Water Frog Census Colouring Sheets are a great activity, and a creative challenge for all ages.

Waterwatch Victoria is a successful community engagement program connecting local communities with river health and sustainable water issues and management since 1993. Through the Waterwatch Program, citizen scientists are supported and encouraged to become actively involved in local waterway monitoring and on ground activities. Waterwatch Victoria has a sister program called EstuaryWatch. EstuaryWatch is a successful citizen science program that supports community members to actively participate in the monitoring of estuary health.

These programs are funded through the Victorian Government’s $222 million investment over four years to improve catchment and waterway health across regional Victoria. This investment is a key component of Water for Victoria – the government’s plan for management of our water resources now and into the future. 
Copyright © 2018 Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, All rights reserved.

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