WetlandSnap is a new citizen science initiative to engage and mobilise communities to help track environmental conditions at wetlands and rivers. A network of photopoint monitoring sites in public and private areas is being developed to capture images of wetlands and rivers that will be used to assess water, landscapes, soil, plants and other biota, and how they change over time. WetlandSnap is driven by a community of contributors including researchers, water and wetland managers, landowners and members of the public who can participate by submitting photos from existing WetlandSnap sites, or by establishing new sites. Images and spatial information submitted from WetlandSnap sites and one-off snapshots from other sites are intended to be available through an online database for visualisation, outreach, research, and other purposes.
Around 30 WetlandSnap photopoint monitoring sites have been installed in several wetlands and rivers already, including the Macquarie Marshes, Gwydir Wetlands, and smaller systems in western NSW. Early results show that periodic photographs from established sites capture and record water level fluctuations, vegetation growth and decline, and minor channel changes due to sedimentation and erosion. This data is being combined with on-ground rapid assessments of erosion risk and high-resolution topographic surveys at selected sites, to help understand why wetlands and rivers are so important, how they function, and what threatens them. Together with local, national and international collaborators, we aim to provide improved understanding of wetlands and rivers to support and enhance their conservation and management. For more information and to participate, see www.wetlandsnap.com.