What is Bellingen Riverwatch?
Bellingen Riverwatch grew as a response to a severe mortality event in 2015.
It is an innovative citizen science program adopting a whole ecosystem approach. Through meaningful engagement of the community, volunteers collect long-term, scientifically rigorous data that is accessed by our eleven scientist partners nationally to support recovery actions for the Critically Endangered Bellinger River Snapping Turtle ('Myuchelys georgesi').
- To meaningfully engage the community to collect long-term, scientifically rigorous data to support recovery actions for the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle and other threatened species.
- To adopt a whole ecosystem approach and collect water quality data, monitor riparian vegetation, report turtle sightings and evidence of turtle nests, conduct water bug surveys, improve habitat and other monitoring activities directly contributing to science.
- To enable easy access and use of the data collected to aid decision making, guide research, inform policy, raise awareness and improve community understanding about the environment and threatened species.
- To increase awareness and understanding of river health and threatened species conservation leading to an increase in community environmental stewardship and responsible behaviour by tourists.
- To connect the community to expertise provided by various subject experts (e.g. scientists, ecologists, academics).
Bellingen Riverwatch has been developed and implemented by the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, Saving Our Species program and OzGREEN in partnership with Bellingen Shire Council, NSW Waterwatch, Western Sydney University, Taronga Zoo Sydney, Bellinger Landcare, Earthwatch Institute, Eco Logical Australia, North Coast Local Land Services and Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance.
The breadth of project partners reflects the importance placed on working together collaboratively with key stakeholders who have a role to play in catchment health and biodiversity. This partnership approach allows us to leverage the expertise and available resources of a strong group of organisations and individuals.