River health monitoring update

River Health monitoring on the Georges River in smoky conditions

At the end of 2019, during the very smoky conditions in Sydney, Dr. Dave Reid and Rob Dixon from Georges Riverkeeper completed the spring season of surveying streams across the Georges River, monitoring 35 freshwater sites and 17 estuarine sites across the catchment. Water quality was monitored at all sites, with water bugs also sampled at the freshwater sites. The results of the tests will be used to inform the grading in The State of the Georges River Report Card, to be produced by November 2020 and distributed at the Annual General Meeting to member Councils and other stakeholders.

volunteer intern Ingrid Spragg collecting bugs in the upper catchment for River Health monitoring

Dedicated intern, Ingrid Spragg, provided invaluable assistance, including collecting water bugs, as seen in the photo. Surveying water bugs is useful for determining the long-term condition of waterways. We will survey the streams again in autumn 2020.

AUSMAP sampling December 2019 with  Scott Wilson from Macquarie University

At the end of 2020, Georges Riverkeeper also completed microplastic sampling for AUSMAP at 11 sites throughout the main river channel, with assistance from Scott Wilson from Macquarie University and AUSMAP interns.

AUSMAP is a nation-wide citizen science initiative, surveying Australian beaches for microplastic pollution. Microplastics are small plastic fragments less than five millimeters long which can be harmful to our waterways and aquatic life. Recent studies have shown that microplastics are found commonly in food, particularly the seafood we eat. 

Microplastics found in the Georges River from sifting 0.25m2 of sand

Georges Riverkeeper were testing along the foreshore, using 0.5mm sieves to collect microplastics and records for the AUSMAP database.

EVERY SITE had some plastic contamination! You can see the results in the photo from sifting 0.25m2 of sand... imagine how much is throughout the whole river!

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