Thursday, March 21, 2024

Seasonal sampling in the estuary is complete

Lydia sampling water in the Georges River

Georges Riverkeeper conducts estuary monitoring biennially during the warmer months, encompassing a comprehensive sampling regime spanning 17 key sites along the Georges River estuary. From shallow bays to the estuary mouth and up to Liverpool Weir, our efforts capture a broad range of estuarine ecosystems. Starting in November 2023, we have been out sampling every month, and have concluded the activity in March 2024.

Understanding and monitoring the health of the Georges River is provides crucial insights into the state of the water quality. Our data collection includes metrics such as Chlorophyll a levels, serving as an indicator of algal productivity, alongside assessments of turbidity which indicates water clarity. 

Low turbidity and chlorophyll a levels are generally seen as beneficial to the estuary's health. Water with low turbidity water fosters optimal light penetration, stimulating aquatic productivity, while heightened turbidity poses significant threats to aquatic ecosystems, impeding processes such as the growth of seagrass. Low Chlorophyll a levels often signify minimal nutrient input while high chlorophyll a indicates that nutrients like phosphorus are allowing enhanced algal growth. These parameters are the benchmarks for assessing estuary health across New South Wales. The monitoring protocols we adhere to align with those of the State Government meaning that the health of the Georges River can be compared with other estuaries. 

This sampling period, the water quality in the Georges River estuary has been looking reasonably good, probably due to the fact that we finished just before the big rain event in April 2024. 

Freshwater sampling is also undertaken every two years, and commenced in early 2024. Samples are taken at 34 diverse freshwater sites, ranging from heavily urban creeks like Prospect Creek in the Fairfield area to the pristine waterways of Dharawal National Park in the upper catchment area. You can read more about this here. Freshwater sampling will be complete by May 2024.