A river health management study under way at Jacksons Creek (VIC) could be replicated in the United States.

Academics and students from the US and Melbourne have converged on Gisborne to observe the Water Quality Offsets Framework study, led by Western Water.

“The study is testing the creek for contaminants, and identifying the primary pollutants,” Western Water’s Managing Director, Neil Brennan, says.

“The plan then is to look at possible measures to reduce those pollutants, such as building wetlands, revegetating creek banks and collecting stormwater before it can run into the creek.”

Each measure will be assessed to see which would be the most cost-effective and have the most benefits for the creek and the community.

The $430,000 study is funded by the State Government’s Smart Water Fund, the University of Melbourne’s Carlton Connect Fund, Western Water and other regional water authorities.

It is being carried out in consultation with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI), Melbourne Water and the wider Victorian water industry.

The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Aquatic Pollution and Management (CAPIM) is working on an aquatic ecosystem assessment as part of the study.

“Scientists from multiple disciplines are applying new technologies to assess the health of the creek,” CAPIM’s Chief Executive Officer, Associate Professor Vincent Pettigrove, says.

“By identifying priority pollution issues in the catchment, we are able to assist management agencies to develop effective and efficient environmental outcomes.”

Academics at the University of California Irvine’s Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) will also be involved in the ecosystem assessment.

“This is an innovative project with international interest,” PIRE’s Principal Investigator, Professor Stanley Grant, says.

“We are interested in how it works and applying the same approach to water quality programs in the US.”

The American scientists are visiting Australia as part of a $4.9 million project to foster US/Australian collaborative research on water supply and water quality, funded by the US National Science Foundation.

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