Werribee South’s beloved market gardens are a vital ingredient in ensuring our local food security, providing Melbourne with 85% of the state’s cauliflower, 53% of its broccoli and 34% of its lettuce. Running adjacent to many of the gardens is the splendid Werribee River, home to many native animal and plant species, including the platypus and mighty Werribee Blue Box. It is also a place of solace for the surrounding communities.
The Werribee River Association is embarking on a new project that aims to increase the efficiency of the market gardens, while improving river and waterway health. Soil can run off farms due to irrigation and rain, taking with it, sediment, pesticides and nutrients. Not only is this inefficient for farmers, who have to keep replacing what is gone, but the runoff into the river effects the health of our waterways.
As a way to assess the impact of this runoff, and implement ways to reduce it, Save Our Soils will combine water-quality monitoring with revegetation along the river’s edge. Two Bio2Lab sensors will be installed at different sites in Werribee South, and a monthly Water Watch session will provide an opportunity for the local community to get involved in collecting water-quality data. Through the revegetation of these areas, the movement of runoff is slowed, allowing excess surface water to penetrate the soil. The root systems of plants also aid in keeping soil bound together, stabilising embankments and slopes, which limits the risk of landslides.
Through collaboration and regeneration, we can work together to improve the productivity of our farms and the health of our local waterways and communities.
To get involved:
– Come along to our monthly Water Watch sessions on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Water Watch is a Melbourne Water citizen science program, that relies on community volunteers to collect water quality data and log it. If you are up for a walk, meet us at the K Road Cliffs at 9:30am to walk down and collect the water samples from the three focus drains. If you prefer to just stick to the science, we’ll be back at the K Road Cliffs by 11am to test the collected samples.
For more info and to register your interest please contact email@example.com.