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[i].
The IEC consists of five themes: physical form, hydrology, water quality, flora and fauna. Each theme contains multiple measurements and standard methods[ii]. Over the warmer months of November’18 to March’19, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) project officers and EstuaryWatch volunteer monitors are contributing to this research by measuring these water quality tests:
- water quality parameters dissolved oxygen, pH, electrical conductivity and temperature
- suspended materials as measured by turbidity and secchi depth
- phytoplankton as represented by the concentration of chlorophyll a in the water.
Dr Fiona Warry from DELWP is a key driver of this program for Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and presented the IEC program to EstuaryWatchers at three information sessions. The Corangamite CMA invited EstuaryWatchers to participate in IEC assessments over the summer months and in return, EstuaryWatch groups provided valuable local knowledge of site access and also hands-on assistance while gaining skills and knowledge.
This citizen science contribution will help inform decision making for estuary management into the future.
Pictured: 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.
[i] DELWP, 2017, Index of Estuary Condition Project Overview, ISBN 978-1-76047-353-2
[ii] Arthur Rylah Institute, Index of Estuary Condition, Website https://www.ari.vic.gov.au/research/rivers-and-estuaries/index-of-estuary-condition