The EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch Annual Achievements Report 2018-19 has been released, detailing how community monitoring programs led by ‘citizen scientists’ are used to inform waterway management decisions, while strengthening community engagement and participation in waterways.
Figures for community engagement featured in the report include:
- 2005 active volunteers monitoring waterway health at 768 sites.
- Citizen scientists contributed 9498 hours to monitoring waterway health.
- 12,499 people participated at citizen science events.
All ten catchment areas of Victoria feature monitoring sites, with metropolitan Melbourne (an area covered from Werribee to French Island on the opposite side of Port Phillip Bay) tallying the highest.
The data collected by these volunteers also informs the Victorian Index of Estuary Condition (IEC) assessment, which is used in assessing long-term changes in estuary condition. The IEC will help to understand the links between the values of estuaries, threats to those values and how management activities can reduce threats and improve environmental condition of estuaries.
Waterwatch Victoria has been connecting local communities with waterway health and sustainable water management issues since 1993. Estuarywatch’s own citizen scientists specifically focus on monitoring the health of estuaries. Both initiatives contribute to Water for Victoria’s goal of supporting community partnerships and citizen science.
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.
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