This Spring, Australians are encouraged to become ‘citizen scientists’ and investigate how healthy their local waterways and wetlands are, simply by exploring and identifying what aquatic macroinvertebrates they contain. The type and number of waterbugs found in a waterway can tell us a lot about how healthy that waterway is.
Introducing the National Waterbug Blitz
The National Waterbug Blitz is Australia’s first nationwide waterway monitoring event, funded by an Inspiring Australia grant, and training sessions are being run all over Australia from August to November, with recreational fishing groups, fly fishers, Landcare, Natural Resource Management agencies and schools – anyone can participate. Please visit our website for video tutorials to see what’s involved https://www.waterbugblitz.org.au/Resources or download the Information Sheet here.
To identify and record waterbugs, the Waterbug App has been specifically designed for this project. It’s a great, easy to use tool and replaces traditional data sheets in the field. It’s free to download, and you can choose to do a detailed Waterbug Survey or a quick Mayfly Muster. See more here about the app – www.thewaterbugapp.com
If you haven’t got the time to do a full Waterbug Survey (takes about half a day), consider just looking for mayflies as part of the Mayfly Muster. Mayflies tend to “opt out” when water quality and habitat conditions in a river become degraded (mainly around towns and cities). By finding the spot where the mayflies stop we can establish which parts of a river need our help the most. If you are a fly fishing enthusiast, you can also use the Mayfly Muster to record when mayflies are emerging, and in areas where other people use the app you can check on old data to see when “the hatch” is most likely.
For ongoing information updates, you can subscribe to the National Waterbug Blitz monthly E-news here: http://www.waterbugblitz.org.au/SubcribeToEnews