Landcare near rivers: Can waterbugs tell me if I've improved things?
Waterbugs are really good indicators of the health of a waterway. Using The tools provided by The National Waterbug Blitz, you can do your own science. Investigate you river and perhaps others in the area to see what land uses are nearby and whether there are old assessment sites that already exist near you. Or run a simple before and after experiment to see if your landcare activites have helped improve river health. Benefits that waterbugs can demonstrate are most likely for works that improve riparian (river edge) vegetation or woody debris and habitat in the river itself.
John Gooderham is a freshwater ecologist. He works with The National Waterbug Blitz. He co authored The Waterbug Book with Edward Tsyrlin (CSIRO 2002), The Waterbug App with Michael Sharman (a free ID app on iOS and Android!). He is currently making short waterbug documentaries and helping people set up citizen science projects to monitor rivers and wetlands around Australia – using waterbugs.