The Streamwatch program (formerly run by Sydney Water and Australian Museum) operates under the overall management of Greater Sydney Landcare Network, in conjunction with Blue Mountains City Council. Lawson Streamwatch is a member group of the Network. See

Contact: .The program has been running at Lawson Creek since 2003 and at North Lawson since 2008, usually on the third Sunday of the month. The current convenor is Peter Ardill. Testing is conducted at Lawson Creek, usually during a bushcare session, and in an unnamed tributary in north Lawson.

New volunteers and visitors are welcome, but all participants must be aged 18 or over. Sorry, no children or young people may attend, due to insurance obligations.

Lawson StreamWatch undertakes two forms of aquatic testing. The main purpose of the testing is to ensure that water quality is satisfactory, and is appropriately supporting indigenous animal species, particularly aquatic species.

1. Oxygen and phosphate levels, salt levels, acidity/alkalinity and turbidity (water clearness) are tested every month. Generally, the results for all sites are quite good. There have been problems with excessive sediment flows (high turbidity) in Lawson Creek. High concentrations of iron oxide in the tested stream at north Lawson, upstream of Fairy Falls, are also a concern, as the iron oxide reduces oxygen levels in the water.

2. Macroinvertebrates (bugs with no backbone, including aquatic insects, worms, snails and crustaceans) are sampled and counted once each year. The more the better. Our results usually fall into the “Fair-Very Good” range, but “Poor” has also been recorded.

As mentioned, Lawson Streamwatch is auspiced by Greater Sydney Landcare Network  and Blue Mountains City Council. They provide equipment, annual training, professional advice and general support. All data collection techniques are quality controlled and data is recorded on a central StreamWatch website.

Living Catchments, Living Streams

For further information about stream water quality and health, and to view the most recent Blue Mountains City Council Healthy Waterways Reports, go to .

In 2010 – 2011 Lawson Streamwatch participated in a stygofauna (groundwater dwelling crustaceans, worms, insects) monitoring program, in conjunction with BMCC and Macquarie University. Lawson swamp, a section of Lawson Creek, recorded good levels of stygofauna activity and taxa diversity (See Archives/Stygofauna Monitoring Project Report 2011, Extract).

Click on an image to view a range of our StreamWatch activities.

Bushcare and Streamwatch are highly complementary activities. Bushcare and its associated indigenous vegetation regeneration work improves water quality and bug life by stabilising catchment and riparian corridor soils, and by creating stream habitat via the deposition of woody debris. Monthly Streamwatch results can indicate if there are major degradation issues in a catchment, such as excessive land clearing, gross pollution, over fertilisation of public land, chemical dumping and stormwater management deficiencies.

To see Streamwatch in action, have a look at our film ‘Bushcare Blue Mountains: South Lawson Park’. Water quality testing and macroinvertebrate sampling are demonstrated. Go to

Collecting macroinvertebrates Photo: V Hong
Collecting macroinvertebrates Lawson StreamWatch Image: V Hong 2017
Analysing macroinvertebrates Photo: V Hong
Analysing macroinvertebrates Lawson StreamWatch Image: V Hong 2017


(The South Lawson Park Bushcare Group website, including text and analysis, is managed by Peter Ardill. Australian Copyright Act 1968 applies. Text, media and all other contents of this site are subject to copyright. Many thanks to the members of South Lawson Park Bushcare Group, BMCC Bushcare Officer and Second Minutes Hours Productions for their contribution of images to this website)