Cool creeks for kids

Seven organisations have  worked together to bring  environmental education alive for 170 local students as part of National Water Week and in celebration of 20 years of Waterwatch.

Gemma McNaughton and Charli Bechmann from Anglesea Primary School.
Gemma McNaughton and Charli Bechmann from Anglesea Primary School.

The ‘Creek Connections’ event, which was  hosted by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) at Spring Creek,  saw the students learn about local water catchments.

The day involved volunteers and staff from Waterwatch, The Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre, the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC), Estuarywatch and EcoLogic.

Grade 3 and 4 students from St Therese Primary School, Torquay P-6 College, Lorne Aireys P-12 College and Anglesea Primary School enjoyed everything from  ‘water bugs’ sessions and  ‘estuary discoveries’ through to a ‘walk and talk’ with Wathaurung Elder Bryon Powell.

GORCC Conservation Officer, Georgina Beale who helped to host a ‘recycle relay’ and conduct planting sessions in  threatened Moonah Woodlands  said students learnt about keeping water catchments healthy.

“The kids learnt about the interconnectedness of our catchments, rivers, estuary and marine environments and the protection and conservation  of our river systems and their dependent eco systems,” she said.

Students worked tirelessly to create water bug costumes out of recycled items for the ‘Terrific Transformer bugs Creative Costume Challenge’ in the lead up to the event.

Winners  of the best costume prize received special computer microscopes which will allow their whole class to view water bugs up close on a large screen.

Waterwatch Facilitator, Cate Barham said the diverse range of activities aimed to encourage students to develop an appreciation and understanding  of marine, estuarine and freshwater environments and  Wathaurung culture.

“Everything we do in our catchment can have an impact on our waterways. If you drop a piece of litter, it will eventually find its way to a waterway and then out to the ocean, where it can have devastating effects on our marine life,” she said.

Waterwatch Victoria recognises that only 22% of Victoria’s rivers are considered in good or excellent condition, highlighting the need for action to protect and maintain the health of our local water catchments.

Ms Barham encourages other community members to become active in protecting and caring for their local water catchments by joining a Landcare, Coastcare or Friends group in their area.

“We are all responsible for caring for our catchments and hopefully others will feel inspired by the enthusiastic efforts of our Creek Connections ambassadors,” she said.

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column

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Community vital to coast research

A new community-based environmental research initiative is helping to monitor long term vegetation and landscape change on our coast.

The Fluker Post at Lorne Point

The Fluker Post Research program, which involves monitoring change on selected sites through photography, has been established by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) and Victoria University .

Participants are being invited to submit photos taken from the post to track how a project site changes over time.

CCMA coastal projects officer Jannes Demetrious said it is a great way for the community, and even those just passing by a site, to take part in an important environmental project.

“All you need to do is take a photo and email it in. Photos can be taken with a digital camera and emailed later or with a Smartphone and emailed directly using the barcode scanner QR code on the post,” he said.

The posts have been installed for several months and already the project has received a positive response.

“We were expecting one or two photos a month but so far we have received about 20-25 photos from the posts a month,” said Mr. Demetrious

The posts are named after Victoria University’s Dr Martin Fluker who developed the idea to improve the accuracy of photo point monitoring.

Changes to vegetation are being monitored whilst rehabilitation work is undertaken on the sites and will continue for up to 5-10 years.

Mr Demetrious said this is the first use of these posts to monitor vegetation condition.

“We hope to see a decrease in weedy vegetation and we can document any erosion if it’s occurring,” he said.

There are currently five posts located on Great Ocean Road Coast Committee managed areas and two more installed on Surf Coast Shire managed areas.

Posts are located at Torquay’s Rocky Point and Yellow Bluff, Aireys Inlet along Painkalac Creek and near the lighthouse, Anglesea’s Fairylands and along Anglesea River and along Lorne Point.

The initiative is funded through the CCMA’s Coastal Tender program, funded by the Australian Government which has funded numerous environmental projects across the region.

The photos can be viewed on the CCMA Facebook page and photos can be submitted to

This story featured in the the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column.  

Changes to vegetation are being monitored.

Media Releases:

Read the full media release from CCMA here.

This media release from Victoria University (VU) explains the use of Fluker Posts on the Great Ocean Walk between Blanket Bay and Johanna Beach near Apollo Bay.

More information on Fluker Posts:

Visit the Fluker Post Research Project page on Facebook here.

Images of the CCMA Fluker Posts can be found here.

Endangered species spotted on coast

CCMA remote sensor camera captures an image of a Southern Brown Bandicoot between Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.

Sightings of the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot have buoyed conservation volunteers after images of the species were caught on remote sensor cameras between Anglesea and Aireys Inlet in recent months.

Environmental volunteers from the Friends of Eastern Otways group sighted a Southern Brown Bandicoot in June this year.

Volunteer Kaye Traynor said volunteers observed the rare species, which breed between June and December, during daylight hours in the Moggs Creek heathlands.

In a bid to protect and improve coastal biodiversity,  the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has been using remote motion sensor cameras to monitor what species are using coastal habitats in the region.

The cameras – set up at sites in Anglesea and Aireys Inlet – were successful in capturing images of the species on two occasions about three months ago.

Corangamite CMA Biodiversity Manager Nick McCristal said “the cameras are moved through a range of biodiversity projects throughout the CMA region and capture a variety of species.”

Mr. McCristal said the use of remote sensing cameras was a relatively recent addition to the program, as the technology has become less expensive and more reliable.

“The cameras are placed in locations that we believe animals will utilise, such as pathways and water holes and are activated by a motion sensor as fauna moves past,” he said.

Ms Traynor said protection of habitat was very important as well as keeping pets, especially cats and dogs under control.

“Fox predation is also a serious problem,” she said.

Southern Brown Bandicoots are listed as nationally endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

What does the Southern Brown Bandicoot look like?

  • The southern brown bandicoot is a medium sized marsupial about the same size as a small rabbit
  • Has pointed snout, small eyes, rounded ears, compact body, large rump and a thinly furred short, thin tail approximately half of the body length.
  • Fur is coarse, greyish or yellowish brown above with a whitish belly

The DSE factsheet has included a  detailed description on the Southern Brown Bandicoot.

For more information visit the Australian Government website.

Threats to the survival of bandicoots:

The major current threats to bandicoots are predation, primarily by foxes but also by dogs and cats, and loss of habitat by clearing of vegetation which removes patches where they can live and limits their capacity to move between remaining patches.

What the community can do to protect the endangered species:

The Department of Sustainability and Environment said on their fact sheet there are a number of things the community can do including:

  • Controlling foxes on your property
  • Creating new habitat or improving remaining patches by planting appropriate indigenous understory species
  • Considering staged weed removal and replacing weeds with appropriate native plants
  • Linking patches of habitat with corridors
  • Keeping cats and dogs under control at all times

If you are interested in joining a volunteer group to protect the endangered species then visit Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s (GORCC) volunteer group and opportunities page.

For information on what is involved with coastal volunteering visit GORCC’s volunteer page.

For further information on how to protect our flora and fauna visit DSE, Greening Australia , or Trust for Nature.

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