StreamWatch

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 https://greatersydneylandcare.org/

Contact: streamwatch@greatersydneylandcare.org .The program has been running at Lawson Creek since 2003 and at North Lawson since 2008, usually on the third Sunday of the month. 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.

StreamWatch involves two forms of aquatic testing.

1. Having good quality stream water is essential, if aquatic life and diversity are to thrive. We test for oxygen and phosphate levels, salt levels, acidity/alkalinity and turbidity (water clearness) every month. Generally the results for all sites are quite good but we have had problems with excessive sediment flows in Lawson Creek, leading to high turbidity. High concentrations of iron oxide in the tested stream in north Lawson, upstream of Fairy Falls, are also a concern, as the iron oxide reduces oxygen levels in the water.

2. We also test for the presence of macroinvertebrates (bugs including aquatic insects, worms, snails and crustaceans, all with no backbone) 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, our StreamWatch activities are 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 https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/waterquality .

In 2010 – 2011 we 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 vegetation enhancement work improves water quality and bug life by stabilising the catchment and riparian corridor soils, and by helping to create stream habitat via the deposition of woody debris. The monthly StreamWatch results can indicate if there are major adverse issues in a catchment, such as excessive land clearing, gross pollution and stormwater flow treatment and 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 https://vimeo.com/198653820

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

(Australian Copyright Act 1968 applies. Text, media and other contents of this site are subject to copyright. Many thanks to the members of South Lawson Park Bushcare Group, our BMCC Bushcare Officer and Second Minutes Hours Productions for their contributions to this website)