Students from Oak Park Primary School’s Green Team made some interesting discoveries about the water quality of Moonee Ponds Creek.
Every Wednesday at lunchtime over four weeks, about 10-15 students from Year 3-6 met with MCMC Waterwatch Coordinator, Julia Cirillo, to undertake water quality tests at Moonee Ponds Creek.
The students, along with Sustainability Teacher John Hughes, collected water samples from the creek to test temperature, pH, salinity, phosphate (nutrients) and turbidity (water clarity). They discovered that the creek water quality can change drastically after rainfall. In one week, when over 16mm of rain fell within 24 hours before testing, turbidity increased dramatically from 9 (excellent) to 21 (poor) and nutrients also increased. This indicated that the rain took large amounts of soil and other organic matter (eg dust, leaves, detergent) into the creek via stormwater drains.
Results have been added to the Waterwatch Victoria community data portal (search for site codes YMO165 & YMO160).
Students who participated in the weekly water testing really enjoyed the sessions and gained an understanding of what poor and excellent water quality looks like. However, we are also collecting this citizen science data to provide a baseline of the current water quality for the Reimagining Your Creek project, which involves a range of interventions including stormwater treatment, revegetation and removal of concrete. After the project takes place, more testing will then be conducted to see if any difference is recorded. Further information on the Chain of Ponds – Moonee Ponds Creek Plan is here.
MCMC Waterwatch hopes to continue this citizen science monitoring with Oak Park Primary School in spring/early summer this year, and into early 2022. Monitoring is also planned with Strathmore North Primary School. Other types of citizen science data we will collect includes local frogs species, waterbugs, habitat and litter. Participating schools and community groups will also be involved in on-ground works including litter clean ups, weeding and planting.
Merri Creek Management Committee and the City of Moreland are working together on this project.