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Field Nats thanked for years of top quality work

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The Sunraysia Field Naturalists Club has decided to close the lid on its water quality monitoring equipment for the last time, bringing to an end six years of volunteer work with the local Waterwatch program.

Field Nats thanked for years of top quality work

Members of the Sunraysia Field Naturalists Club with Mallee CMA Manager of Rivers and Wetlands, Peter Kelly.

The “field nats”, as the group is affectionately known, has been checking water quality around the region since it joined the the Mallee Waterwatch program in February 2005.

The field nats are some of more than 40 volunteer monitors who regularly test the water quality of the rivers, wetlands and other water bodies in the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) region.

Members of the club began voluntarily monitoring water quality at Mildura rowing club and boat ramp, but for the past two years, members of the field nats have been regularly checking the water quality at Sandilong Creek and Riverside Gold Course where restoration and protection works have been taking place. However, the field nats have decided that the increasing age of its members means the club can no longer continue as water quality monitors.

Mallee CMA chairperson Sharyon Peart said the field nats have played an important part in the Waterwatch community monitoring program.

“The Sunraysia Field Naturalists Club has set such a great example within the community and we feel very grateful to have received such tremendous support from them over the years,” Ms. Peart said.

“Volunteers are vital to the community monitoring program and the dedication of the field nats was invaluable.”

The field nats were farewelled at a barbecue lunch for all Waterwatch volunteer monitors during the week, which coincided with the annual Mallee Waterwatch Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) event.

The QA/QC checks the monitoring skills of the Waterwatch volunteers and gives them the chance to improve the accuracy of the data they collect on the region’s water quality.

During the event, monitors tested a range of ‘mystery’ water samples prepared by a scientific lab to reflect the parameters that are normally tested in the field, such as electrical conductivity, pH and turbidity. The results have been sent to Victorian Waterwatch to be recorded and assessed.

Ms Peart said QA/QC is fundamental to ensuring practices are carried out appropriately and accurately.

“QA/QC is so important to our Waterwatch program,” she said.

“It allows us to make sure our water quality monitoring technique and data is of high quality and accurate.”

Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Waterwatch program can contact the Mallee CMA on 5051 4377.

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