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Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI)

Launch of Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch Websites

18 October 2016

CeRDI have recently completed development work on two prominent Victorian citizen science programmes: Waterwatch, and its sister programme, EstuaryWatch.

Both Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch are well-established, important community engagement programme’s promoting interest in, and connecting local Victorian communities, with water issues including sustainability, water management and the health of local waterways.  

The websites for both these programme’s now provide a central location for its members, and the community, to access information and participate in activities and monitoring of local waterways and estuaries.

Waterwatch facilitates community involvement in river health and sustainable water practices. Community members are encouraged to become participants in their local environment through waterway monitoring and ongoing activities.

Similarly, Estuarywatch promotes the monitoring of estuary health and local waterways in regions across 18 Victorian regions and is supported through involvement of local catchment management authorities. Both programmes rely heavily on community and volunteer contributions who assist with regional data collection and recordings of water quality across Victoria’s rivers and associated waterways.

The recently launched Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch websites provide an essential resource for all members to access current information and data. Both websites provide access to innovative technical tools and data portals. Core to their functionality are re-designed databases, rapid data interrogation tools and interactive maps for accessing and visualising region-specific data. Direct upload and download of data about local waterways estuaries will facilitate more rapid dissemination of each program’s monitoring achievements. Provision of the data as web services in addition to ease of access will enable information to be quickly and easily exchanged between organisations and community groups.

CeRDI has led the development of both websites, with its research and technical staff members working with program coordinators to ensure maximum value for users. CeRDI’s Dr Birgita Hansen has been the leader on both these projects. Birgita and the CeRDI team – with significant input from Paul Feely, Sudeera Abeywickrema, Heath Gillett and Peter Plucinski – have worked closely with project partners and representatives from both programme’s to maximise the value-potential for all website users. Already feedback from users and project partners at launch events has been extremely positive.

An important next stage for this project is the commencement of a longitudinal programme of social research. CeRDI, in partnership with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, has appointed a PhD student to conduct research focusing on the growth of citizen science as a tool for building repositories of knowledge to inform policy and management. The PhD student will commence their studies before the end of the year.

For further information about these projects visit:

www.estuarywatch.org.au

www.vic.waterwatch.org.au

Or contact CeRDI’s Dr Birgita Hansen: b.hansen@federation.edu.au

Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch launch