Waterbug Blitz workshop coming to Bellingen

The National Waterbug Blitz is Australia’s first nationwide waterway monitoring event, and it is coming to Bellingen on September 15, 10am to 3pm at Gleniffer Hall.

In spring each year, Australians are encouraged to become ‘citizen scientists’ and investigate how healthy their local waterways and wetlands are, simply by exploring and identifying what waterbugs they contain. 

Waterbugs (also called ‘freshwater macroinvertebrates’) are small animals like mayfly nymphs and shrimp that live in freshwater. These can include juvenile stages of many insects like dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies, caddisflies, water beetles and more. 

Waterbugs are awesome because they provide us with a mini ecosystem that demonstrates ecological concepts such as trophic webs (who eats who) and ecological niches (who lives where and why). They also provide an easily accessed example of how ecosystems respond to the various ways we impact our waterways. 

These very small creatures live in our freshwater waterways and are highly sensitivity to changes in the water. Each type of waterbug has a certain sensitivity to pollution or water quality changes in their waterway. Therefore, the quality of a river, creek or wetland will determine the presence or absence of these animals living in the water. 

In a very disturbed, poor quality waterway, only a few very hardy waterbugs (who are not sensitive to water quality changes) will be present. These include snails, bloodworms and backswimmers.

In good quality waterways, water bugs that are sensitive to change will also be found, such as: stonefly nymphs, mayfly nymphs, caddisfly nymphs. These waterways should also have a good diversity of waterbugs present.

We can find out how healthy our local waterways and wetlands are, simply by exploring and identifying what waterbugs they contain.

We can find out how healthy our local waterways and wetlands are, simply by exploring and identifying what waterbugs they contain.

Through Waterbug Blitz, we can look at the type and number of bugs found in a waterway, which can tell you how healthy it is.

This fun, hands-on workshop sees experts, John Gooderham, Cecil Ellis and Ingrid Garland, visiting Bellingen to teach you how to collect and identify waterbugs, plus how use the Waterbug App. Then, you’ll have all the skills you need to do you own Waterbug Blitz at your local freshwater waterway!

There are also optional extra bug survey events on offer. 

RSVP essential by Thursday, September 13. Limited places available, so get in quick! RSVP at http://www.ozgreen.org/national_waterbug_blitz

For more information on the National Waterbug Blitz, go to www.waterbugblitz.org.au or contact Ingrid Garland on 0405 761 593 or ingrid@envirocommconnections.com.au.

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