Streamwatch – Up The Creek?

The future of the long running Citizen science program Streamwatch is in jeopardy.

The local group which includes representatives of the Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society, Friends of Oatley and the Georges River Environmental Alliance. Plans by the Australian Museum to not continue with the community-based Streamwatch program has raised concerns amongst volunteers about the future of Georges River’s water quality.

The Streamwatch program has been going for almost 30 years and is run by 53 volunteer water monitoring groups at 120 sites across Sydney. Streamwatch was established in 1990 by Sydney Water and in 2012 it was transferred to the Australian Museum which runs it under its Citizen Science programs. The groups share free on the Streamwatch website giving a snapshot of the standard of Sydney’s creeks and rivers.

Pollution is extremely common in the creeks on Oatley especially after high rain fall. In addition Sydney Water sewer mains frequently overflow after heavy rain and this ends up in the Georges River and becomes a serious health and environmental issue. It is often volunteers who report these indents. The Sydney sewer system is collapsing under the pressure of growing population. 

The volunteers believe that the Australian Museum should see this volunteer program as part of its core business as it is about the environment, it is about science and has a huge role also in educating the public.

It is believed the Steamwatch program costs around $100,000 a year to run support the entire network of more than 50 Streamwatch groups testing more than 150 waterway sites throughout Sydney. Sydney Water reported a record profit of $447 million in 2016-17. The search is on for a new organisation to host the program from mid-2019.

READ LEADER ARTICLE

READ OFF member Sharyn Cullis letter to The Leader (26 September)

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