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

10 February 2005

TAS Waterwatchers earn national recognition


Two members of the Tasmanian Waterwatch network were today presented with a national award recognising their efforts to protect local waterways.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today congratulated Mel Kelly from the South East Waterwatch region and Geoff Smart from the Five Rivers Waterwatch region, as well as the other 12 recipients of the National Waterwatch Awards who were announced at a special ceremony in Melbourne last night.

“Mel and Geoff are very deserving winners of these awards. They have worked hard to build up their local Waterwatch network,” Senator Campbell said.

“As a part-time Coordinator with South-East Waterwatch, Mel's work epitomises the community spirit. Through her previous employment in local shearing sheds, with oyster growers and in the local pub, she has promoted the Waterwatch program and earned respect in her community. She has written successful Environmental Management Systems for oyster growers and helped farmers in the catchment secure funding from the Australian Government Envirofund.

“Geoff has served as the president of Five Rivers Waterwatch for more than 10 years and has integrated Waterwatch with regional natural resource management planning. His professional approach to water monitoring has earned his group Australian River Assessment System accreditation, which reinforces the quality of its data. The group formed in March 1994, originally looking at the Rubicon and lower Mersey Rivers, and has grown to include 17 schools, seven Landcare and Coastcare groups, local councils, government agencies, industry and community members monitoring almost 200 sites.” 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 Mel and Geoff, community groups and school groups who undertake biological and habitat assessments and physical and chemical tests to build up a picture of the health of their waterways and catchments.

“I congratulate Mel and Geoff for their outstanding efforts in protecting their local environments and hope their hard work motivates other Australians to get involved” he said.

Mel was nominated by Imogen Birley, Australian Government Natural Resource Management Facilitator in Hobart. Geoff was nominated by Western Waterwatch Coordinator Todd Walsh in Ulverstone.

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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