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 trialling the monitoring of recreational water quality indicators, whilst keeping the community informed about public health impacts. The community will collect 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 and general observations of the appearance and odour of the water.
This project is part of 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. The Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project is delivered in partnership with the community by Corangamite Catchment Management Authority.
During a community meeting held on Friday 16 November, general community and stakeholders were provided information on estuary monitoring, an introduction and overview of the Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project, potential monitoring sites were presented, and this allowed participants to provide input into the monitoring program, including discussions around why we are monitoring and what sites are best for collecting information. The event was well represented and included members of EstuaryWatch - Barwon River, Barwon Heads Association, Environmental Protection Authority, Barwon Coast, Barwon Water, Parks Victoria, Barwon Estuary Project, Friends of the Lobster Pot, and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority.
Water Quality Monitoring Sites Selected
Site assessments have been undertaken by Corangamite Catchment Management Authority to determine potential sites which will provide suitable information, as well as being safe for our community volunteers. Potential sites were presented and reviewed at the community meeting, where it was agreed that these sites would form the foundation of the Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project.
the monitoring program will stretch from mouth of the Barwon estuary, upstream as far as Sheepwash Rd and River Parade, and then across the river from the bridge to the Ocean Grove beach used for recreational usage, particularly during peak periods over summer.
A volunteer water quality monitor training session was held on Tuesday 11 December for community members interested in discovering more about the Barwon estuary and keen to be part of a citizen science program. We met at At The Heads Restaurant for coffees and pastries before learning more about sampling techniques and the monitoring sites within Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove.
Meet The Volunteers
We now have 16 trained and ready volunteers ready to collect and contribute data to a community-driven, public health monitoring project. The volunteers will split into three smaller teams, The EstuaryWatchers, The Swamp Hens and The Spoonbills, to cover the eight monitoring sites selected as part of the Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project.
The first preliminary monitoring has been undertaken by Corangamite Catchment Management staff, following this, the first volunteer monitoring event is scheduled for Wednesday 11 December. Volunteers will set out in their small teams to put their training into action. They will be collecting a variety of parameters will be regularly measured including enterococci levels, ammonia and general observations of the appearance and odour of the water.
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Keep up to date at Barwon Estuary Monitoring Instagram. We will be sharing how the project is progressing. We are also inviting the community to contribute to the Barwon Estuary Monitoring Pilot Project by sharing their Barwon Estuary images with us on Instagram using the hashtag #BEMPP or tagging us in their images or observations. These images will assist in understanding what is happening in the waterway, as well as highlighting the community's connection to this iconic estuary. The community are the eyes of the estuary.