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Keeping watch over Bendigo Creek

23 Oct 2018

An army of citizen scientists will monitor the health of Bendigo Creek to analyse how planned remediation works and development will impact water quality.

The North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has joined forces with the City of Greater Bendigo to set up the program, which will see more than 350 school children, and 10 community champions keep an eye on the waterway.

“The creek provides habitat for wildlife and is important to the region’s tourism and agricultural sectors,” North Central CMA regional Waterwatch Coordinator Cass Davis said.

“This project will help both us and council better manage the health of the creek as it changes over the coming years.”

Local Waterwatch volunteers and students from 10 local schools involved in the River Detectives program will begin by establishing a baseline data for the creek’s health.

“They will regularly monitor at least 15 sites, testing for pH levels, salinity, reactive phosphorous, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and waterbugs,” Ms Davis said.

“The type and number of waterbugs at each site gives an indication of whether or not the creek is healthy.

“That data will help managers and researchers better maintain and improve the creek and allow us to see how the water improves as the city develops and as projects such as Dja Wurrung’s Wanyarram Dhelk start to take effect.

“Traditional ecological knowledge will also help us better understand and manage the health of the creek.”

City of Greater Bendigo Senior Environment Officer Anthony Sheehan said Bendigo Creek is an important part of council’s plan to make the city the world’s most liveable community.

“This project will provide outcomes that link to our vision, creating an environment people can enjoy and benefit from,” he said.

“Healthy water leads to healthy communities, and that is at the heart of creating cities that are healthy places for people to make their home and grow with their families.”

The River Detectives program supports teachers to get young people connected to their local waterway.

“This project will focus on increasing the students’ knowledge of Bendigo Creek and will provide a unique opportunity for students to explore science outdoors, while collecting important data,” Ms Davis said.

The project was launched at Bendigo’s Number 7 Reservoir last week, with a workshop for  educators and community volunteers.

This project is a joint initiative between the City of Greater Bendigo and North Central Catchment CMA Waterwatch program.

The Victorian Government is supporting community partnerships over the next four years through Waterwatch and other citizen science initiatives to address local waterway priorities.

These priorities are being addressed as part of the government’s $222 million investment over the next four years to improve catchment and waterway health across regional Victoria.