Two new Streamwatch teams formed
In a burst of enthusiasm, nineteen participants came together at the Australiana Pioneer Village to spend some three hours training with Greg McDonald and Cecil Ellis from AusMuseum Streamwatch program. Fully provisioned kits will be supplied to these teams to use on water testing at Bushells Lagoon and Australiana Village lagoon as well as further afield. Water quality is monitored on a monthly basis including testing oxygen, phosphate, saltiness, pH and turbidity levels. Water quality data is recorded and can act as an early warning system for pollution events and provides a valuable record of catchment health.
- Turbidity ( a measure of the cloudiness of water). It is caused by tiny particles, such as silt and clay, organic matter and microscopic plants and animals suspended or floating in the water. Highly turbid conditions affect light penetration which in turn may affect feeding behaviour of fish, and stop growth of submerged aquatic plants
- pH (Acidity or alkalinity which is measured on the pH scale). This scale ranges from 0 to 14, where values less than 7 are acidic, 7 is neutral, and values greater than 7 are basic. Most aquatic organisms are adapted to living within narrow pH ranges around neutral. The optimal pH range for most Australian freshwater organisms is from 6.5 to 8.0. Shifts in pH can damage aquatic animals’ gills, skin and eyes, which then makes them more susceptible to disease.
- Electrical conductivity which is used as an indirect measure of salinity. The greater the concentration of salt in water, the better it conducts electricity. Salinity can be a major factor in determining the plant and animal species occurring in an aquatic environment. Changes in salinity can adversely affect the composition of freshwater communities.
- Phosphate:Phosphorus is a plant nutrient needed for growth and a fundamental element in the metabolic reactions of plants and animals (hence its use in fertilizers).Sources of phosphorus include human and animal wastes (i.e., sewage), industrial wastes, soil erosion, and fertilizers.Excess phosphorus causes extensive algal growth called “blooms,” which are a classic symptom of cultural eutrophication and lead to decreased oxygen levels in creek water.For more information about the Streamwatch program see the link here https://www.streamwatch.org.au/