Monitoring - platypus, water quality & litter
We monitor platypus presence, water quality (including sedimentation), macroinvertebrates (waterbugs, which platypuses eat) and litter levels at key platypus habitat locations in Bacchus Marsh.
You can help us by reporting platypus sightings here.
This helps us keep our local platypuses safe from litter and pollution.
BMPA and our collaborators monitor platypus presence in waterways of Bacchus Marsh and surrounds through:
Visual monitoring and sightings by BMPA members and the community (report platypus sighting here)
Live platypus surveys conducted by platypus scientists (Australian Platypus Conservancy)
Environmental DNA (eDNA) testing, in which water samples are tested for platypus DNA (conducted by and in collaboration with Melbourne Water)
Water quality & macroinvertebrate monitoring:
The Werribee River in Bacchus Marsh has been turning an orange hue due to sediment runoff, mainly from housing construction sites. This sediment can smother the food platypuses eat (macroinvertebrates, which are small but visible animals without a spine - also known as 'waterbugs').
In response to this concern, BMPA has started the MAISOP Project, which stands for Monitoring & Addressing Impacts of Sediment On Platypus habitat. We are collecting data on sediment input and macroinvertebrate levels in the Werribee River, Bacchus Marsh, upstream and downstream of key housing construction areas. Experienced biologists are helping guide this process. The data will be used to analyse impacts of the sediment runoff on platypus food and habitat, and to help us work with relevant authorities and stakeholders on a plan of action. The first 6 months of the project has been funded by a Small Environmental Grant from Wettenhall Environmental Trust.
Litter poses a major threat to platypuses, especially ring-shaped and string-shaped litter. Platypuses get easily tangled up in litter, because of their size, shape, type of feet, and the way they search for food with their bills.
BMPA conducts litter counts (audits) and cleanups along the Werribee River in Bacchus Marsh, in collaboration with Melbourne Water, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Werribee River Association and Moorabool Environment Group.
During our litter audits, around 50% of litter collected has been construction-related waste. We will be implementing a 'Clean Site for Platypus' program in response to this finding (find out more here).
Find out more about our other project areas below...