Successful management of coastal environments requires regular monitoring to ensure that resources are not compromised by human activities. This is especially important in Australia where 85% of the population live within 50km the coast (State of Environment Report , 2016), and development on the Gold Coast has been expanding since the 1950s.
Changes to segrass meadows may indicate changes in catchment condition upstream, so they are considered to be an important indicator of overall catchment health.
Monitoring provides continuous information so that we can separate significant change from seasonal variation.
Governments are unable to protect and conserve seagrass meadows without the assistance of local communities and rigorous scientific evaluation.
As the image above implies it is almost impossible to promote the conservation of an ecosystem if it is not understood or valued by the community. This program aims to increase awareness of the value of seagrass ecosystems and create community ownership of local meadows.
Citizen Science can be defined as the collection and analysis of data by members of the public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists. Watergum focuses on programs that collect data on elements of the natural world, but citizen science is a broad field and includes medical research, astronomy and chemical analysis to name a few.
What will I gain from joining Watergum Seagrass?
When you volunteer for us you have the opportunity to gain hands on training in scientific skills that are simple and easy to apply. Skills will be developed in seagrass identification, visual assessment techniques, compass and GPS use. Volunteers also gain a broad understanding of environmental and ecological processes such as recognition of toxic macro algae blooms and human impacts. You will also get a warm fussy feeling, knowing you are contributing to conserving a poorly understood and often undervalued ecosystem.
If you need another incentive, our surveys are also a great way to meet like-minded members of the community. We welcome individuals or groups!