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

10 February 2005

Territory Waterwatchers earn national recognition


Two members of the Northern Territory Waterwatch network have earned national awards in recognition of their efforts in protecting local waterways and enlisting the support of local communities.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell today congratulated Denise Spencer for her work in the Arnhem Land region and Liza Schenkel for her work in and around Darwin, as well as the 12 other recipients of the National Waterwatch Awards, who were announced at a special ceremony in Melbourne last night.

“Denise and Liza are very deserving winners, having worked hard to ensure that the local Waterwatch network plays a key role in their communities,” Senator Campbell said.

“During her six years with the Gapuwu Mel'ngu Mala - the North East Arnhem Land Waterwatch group, Denise helped expand monitoring and community awareness activities around Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala. She also helped to bring together a diverse range of groups, including the Indigenous community, Landcare groups, schools, businesses and the nearby bauxite mine and treatment plant. The group worked with the mine to achieve improvements in water quality and raise community awareness of water quality issues. She was also instrumental in developing an improved approach to management of wetland weeds following an outbreak of Salvinia in one of the town's lagoons.

“Liza became synonymous with Waterwatch around the Darwin region during her time as Regional Waterwatch Coordinator from 1994 to 2001, delivering the program to landholders, government agencies, industry, Indigenous communities, local councils, schools and community groups. During that time she prepared numerous water quality assessments, annual catchment reports and helped develop the NT Waterwatch Education Kit. She has helped increase understanding and commitment of the local community to protect waterways across the Top End.” he said.

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,” Senator Campbell said.

“The Waterwatch network is made up of people like Denise and Liza, community groups and school groups who undertake biological and habitat assessments and physical and chemical tests to build a picture of the health of their waterways and catchments.

“I congratulate Denise and Liza for their outstanding efforts in protecting their local environments and hope their achievements motivate other Australians to become involved.”

Denise and Liza were both nominated by Paul Lloyd, NT Water for Life Facilitator.

For more information on Waterwatch, visit www.waterwatch.org.au

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

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