Having a river in your backyard is a lovely idea, not always so pleasant in reality, as fences and dead animals go swirling past in a flood, or when you find out that a city upstream is putting something in the water that shouldn’t be there.
Waterwatch has been a great way to find out what actually is swimming or floating under the river’s surface. Previously we could only guess, but now I know the phosphate, nitrate and dissolved oxygen levels, turbidity, electrical conductivity and ph.During the first year I was collecting data it rained a lot, the river levels were high and the readings were very clean. Since last year however, the river has been mostly low, and the nitrate levels are generally off the charts high. Continue reading
I now have a wonderful kit that will tell me what’s in the water that flows past our house.
Finally, we have some way to tell what’s going on underwater, other than just admiring clear water rippling over rocks. Or staring at turbid brown floodwater, with the occasional tree or wombat carcass floating by, while hoping that we’ll soon be able to get across.
Andrew Leonard displaying a 2010 flood (no carcases)
Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch came to my assistance, specifically Woo O’Reilly and Damon Cusack who introduced me to the world of water testing, water bug assessing and riparian condition reporting. Continue reading
There’s a saying about fences. And it’s true.
I have an extra one: “If you want to plant trees on a grazing property, you’d better have good fences.”
Not as catchy.
Only a couple of years ago I was naive enough to think that a few star pickets could prop up a fence with sagging strainer posts. But I’ve now learned that sheep and cattle are smart enough to find wherever the weak point is, and make their way through.
And if there wasn’t a weak point before, there will be one by the time they’ve finished scratching their rear ends or pushing at it.
What else does an animal have to do, standing around in a paddock all day, but plot a breakout? Continue reading