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River Health Background information

The River Health Program

The River Health Monitoring Program started through funding by a $210,000 Federal Government Caring for Our Country grant.  GRCCC’s study is the first to assess the health of the Georges River on a regional scale, and identifies priority areas for future conservation works. In 2012, the Program expanded into the Cooks River, incorporating the member Councils of the Cooks River Alliance and Cooks River catchment community.

Today, GRCCC member Councils are providing ongoing funding for the Georges River Health Ecological Monitoring program.

Monitoring water quality allows us to understand how chemical pollutants, agricultural, industrial and urban runoff affects the structure and function of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems. Many organisms are sensitive to changes in water quality and populations of these organisms will become stressed if changes to water quality occur, often leading to reduced numbers or local extinctions.

Riparian and Estuarine vegetation are important factors in maintaining a functioning ecosystem. These vegetation communities play the role of nutrient recyclers, slowing the flow of stormwater run-off into waterways and trapping sediment. They also provide crucial habitat and food for a vast array of organisms.

By monitoring these vegetation communities we will gain an understanding of their condition and subsequent effectiveness in maintaining water quality within the Georges River catchment.

Macroinvertebrate populations provide us with valuable information on the health and quality of the aquatic ecosystem.  Many macroinvertebrates are sensitive to environmental change and in particular to changes to water quality.  By monitoring macroinvertebrates we gain an understanding of populations living within the Georges River catchment and of the quality of the aquatic habitat they live in.

By combining the results of these three interlinked factors we get a greater understanding of the integrity of the aquatic ecosystems found within the Georges River system.  We are able to identify ‘hot-spots’ of diversity that should be protected, areas where on-ground works have been effective and areas where remediation works could be carried out. To see how data is being used, check out the River Health Report Cards dating back to 2009.

For more detailed information of the project, write to info@georgesriver.org.au.

Staff & Volunteer Training Days

Council and agency staff, teachers and community members take part in River Health Monitoring Training Days.

To get involved, email us at info@georgesriver.org.au.