Every month, sometimes in the pouring rain, over 30 Bellingen Riverwatch volunteers, make their way to 29 sites on the rivers in the Bellinger Valley to test water quality. Why, you might ask? Because these people know that water is the foundation of life and is vital for our future.
“It’s up to all of us to take care of our rivers”, says Bellingen Riverwatch Coordinator, Amy Denshire. “Healthy rivers are our collective responsibility and we all have an important role to play.”
Bellingen Riverwatch began in 2017 in response to a turtle mortality event which killed an estimated 90% of the Critically Endangered Bellinger River Snapping Turtle (BRST). With less than 200 BRST left in the wild, the situation remains critical. “This turtle is one of the 25 most endangered turtles in the world”, says Gerry McGilvray, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) coordinates a multifaceted conservation project for the turtle under the Saving our Species (SoS) program funded by the NSW Government. As part of this program, DPIE is working with Symbio Wildlife Park and Taronga Zoo on captive breeding programs and there have been two successful releases of captive bred turtles. DPIE continues to monitor the animals via radio tracking.
The data collected by Bellingen Riverwatch volunteers is shared with recovery team partners, and is available online at www.ozgreen.org/br_data.
This week, during National Water Week, Amy Denshire is asking for help. “We are launching a crowdfunding campaign for the small items that make a big difference to our program”, says Amy. “Turtle recovery takes time, so we are looking long-term for Bellingen Riverwatch and are calling for sponsors to support our program into the future.”
OzGREEN would like to thank Vendart Diagnostics, the Foundational for Regional Renewal, ANZ, and Bellingen Shire Council for their support this year. To enquire about sponsorship, email [email protected], or to donate, visit https://chuffed.org/project/water-is-everything