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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

10 February 2005

Victorian Waterwatchers earn national recognition

Four outstanding Victorian Waterwatchers have earned national awards in recognition of their outstanding work to protect local waterways.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today congratulated Vera Lubczenko from Melbourne, Noel Morgan from Melbourne, David Hodgkins from Shepparton and Patrick Monaghan from the Wimmera, as well as the 10 other recipients of the National Waterwatch Awards, who were announced at a special ceremony in Melbourne last night.

“These four Victorians are very deserving winners of the National Waterwatch Award. They have all worked tirelessly to promote Waterwatch to school students and the wider community and encourage people to become involved in protecting their waterways,” Senator Campbell said.

“Having held the position of Victorian Waterwatch Coordinator for eight years, Vera is the longest serving state Waterwatch coordinator in Australia. Her contribution to Waterwatch in Victoria has been immense. She has overseen an increase in both participation and investment from 60 participants and $30,000 in 1993 to attracting investment of over $1 million from Australian Government and regional sponsors and 15,000 participants when she left the position in 2001.

“David Hodgkins, another pioneering member of Waterwatch, was part of the national pilot for community monitoring programs in the 1990s and now coordinates the Goulburn-Broken Waterwatch program in Shepparton. He is known as an innovator and motivator and has successfully encouraged his five local coordinators to take on bigger and better projects.

“Patrick Monaghan this year celebrates his tenth year with Waterwatch. He first started with the program in 1994 and has gone on to create the first Wimmera Waterwatch Monitoring Manual. He has also dedicated himself to environmental education in schools and the wider community.

“Much of the water monitoring by Waterwatchers would not be possible without the humble Turbitity Tube. Developed by Noel Morgan, the fourth Victorian winner, this simple yet effective tool has helped volunteers measure sediment in their waterways. More than 4000 Turbitity Tubes have been sold by Friends of Waterwatch and Noel has made a significant contribution to water resource education in Australia.”

Waterwatch is a national community water quality monitoring network that encourages all Australians to become involved in the protection and management of their waterways and catchments. The Australian Government started Waterwatch in 1993 in recognition of growing community concern for water quality.

“Since Waterwatch began, the number of monitoring groups has grown from 200 operating in 16 catchments, to nearly 3000 groups in 200 catchments. Around 500 sites are monitored regularly,” he said.

“I congratulate these Victorian winners for their outstanding efforts in protecting their local environments and hope their achievements motivate other Australians to get involved.”

Vera and David were nominated by Jane Ryan from the Department of Sustainability and Environment's River Health Unit. Patrick was nominated by Brad Hollis at the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and Vera nominated Noel for his award.

For more information on Waterwatch, visit

Media contact:
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos on 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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