A snapshot of Australian river health will soon be revealed thanks to citizen scientists across the country participating in the National Waterbug Blitz.
The project empowers the community to become ‘citizen scientists’ for a day and explore their local freshwater creeks, rivers and wetlands to learn about the fascinating world of waterbugs.
B4C and Bayside Creeks Catchment Group are holding two subsidised workshops for locals to learn how to collect and identify waterbugs. These fun workshops will provide a great new skill whether or not people want to then participate in the national Waterbug Blitz. Anyone is welcome to join in the workshop (as long as they are 16 or over) or the national blitz (in which all ages can be part of the fun)
Lead scientist and freshwater ecologist, John Gooderham said the Waterbug Blitz aims to assess the status of waterways nationwide by surveying aquatic macroinvertebrates – known as waterbugs – that inhabit rivers, creeks and lakes.
“These ecosystems are intrinsically connected to the lives of all Australians and play an important and often underestimated role in our environment and economy. Waterbugs are good biological indicators of the state of freshwater systems. Some species such as stoneflies and mayflies are highly sensitive to pollution while beetles and bloodworms are more tolerant. The greater number and variety of the more sensitive bugs, the healthier the system is” said Mr. Gooderham.
Interested people can choose the workshop that is most relevant for them. Minimum age is 16.
- Beginners / Intro Workshop: Saturday 24th August, 10am-4pm. $20. Includes lunch. Book here >>
- Advanced Workshop (for those with some waterbug experience already): Sunday 25th August, 10am-4pm. $20. Includes lunch. Book here >>
Mr. Gooderham added “The sessions are ‘hands on’ involving everyone to collect the bugs and use the latest technology to identify and record the sample using the Waterbug App.”
The app is free to download and fun to use. The data is then uploaded and every survey site is mapped to reflect local water quality, as indicated by the bugs collected in the survey. The maps are publicly available on the website www.waterbugblitz.org.au
Check out this Water Boatmen bug below.
The National Waterbug Blitz is funded by the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia Grants Program and is a partnership between the Federation University Australia, The Waterbug Company, Waterwatch Victoria and Waterwatch NSW, EnviroComm Connections Pty Ltd, Nature Navigation Pty Ltd and The Code Sharman.