A new project is providing much needed information on the ecological health of Merri Creek. Since mid-2020 MCMC has been involved in a collaborative project with RMIT University that has installed sensors in the creek. These measure water temperature and light every hour, and turbidity (water clarity) every two minutes.
The project has been a fantastic opportunity for practitioners within local government, industry, community and academia in the water space to work together using new technology to collect water-quality data and to explore new ways of engaging with community.
Project leader, Dr Catherine Leigh, a freshwater ecologist from RMIT University, says that “managing waterways to ensure water quality and sustainable use while maintaining or restoring ecosystem condition is a priority concern for us all - industry, government and the community.”
“New technologies like small, instream water-quality sensors are revolutionising the way waterways are monitored and managed. The sensors can provide high-frequency, near-real time data for us all to ‘see’ and understand changes in water quality at more locations and more accurately than ever before. Not only is this engaging the community, it’s also helping to provide prioritised and adaptive management when and where it’s needed most, for healthy, vibrant and biodiverse waterways.”
The water quality of Merri Creek is notoriously poor in its lower reaches, and is also highly variable. Sensors provide the opportunity to monitor changes in levels of pollutants that enter via stormwater drains, and in the longer-term, deterioration due to increased urbanisation in the upper reaches and changes due to climate change.
RMIT and MCMC will be showcasing the water quality data collected through this project, and discussing the results and what they mean for ongoing ecological health of the Merri Creek, at an upcoming webinar to mark World Environment Day. To be informed of the webinar, please subscribe to our events notification emails HERE:
Sensor installation and maintenance is courtesy of Bio2Lab, thanks to funds provided by RMIT University, the City of Whittlesea and the City of Moreland. The City of Yarra is also a supporter of this project.
The project partners acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people, Traditional Owners of Merri Creek and its catchment, on whose unceded lands and waters we are conducting this project.