From the Devilbend Foundation May Newsletter …


Aquatic Ecology Works Update 

In early 2008, Parks Victoria established a research program to facilitate management of aquatic habitats in Devilbend Reserve. An ecosystem approach was adopted, with multiple phases of research, as follows: 

Phase One: A desktop summary of existing data and a mapping exercise describing the aquatic vegetation communities. This work was undertaken by Parks Victoria in early 2008. 

Phase Two: A detailed ecological survey of aquatic habitats in the Reserve, including invertebrate life, fish communities and amphibians. This work was undertaken by Monash University under contract to Parks Victoria in late 2008 (see Ecosystem Study Monash Uni Version3) 

Phase Three: A study to design a monitoring program to measure changes in the aquatic habitats of the reserve, and to have a genuine understanding of the impacts of any changes in management. This work was undertaken by Monash University under contract to Parks Victoria in late 2010 (see Aquatic Ecology Monitoring Program). The study informed the DFI’s Waterwatch initiative at Devilbend reserve, sponsored by Melbourne Water. DFI’s Waterwatch team monitors the water quality at Devilbend Reservoir (two sites), Bittern Reservoir (one site), and Devilbend Creek (one site). The team continues to collect and analyse samples on a monthly basis. 

Phase Four: A Toxicology Study to test for heavy metals and pesticides in the sediments of Devilbend Reservoir. This study was undertaken by the Aquatic Environmental Stress Research Group (AQUEST) of RMIT University under contract to DFI in 2022, in close collaboration with Parks Victoria (see Contaminant Assessment Dec 2022). The study found that the collected sediments showed no indications of toxicity: there were zero detections of pesticides, and low levels of some metals and hydrocarbons that were all below ecological guideline values and comparable to the clean reference site sediments. Repeated attempts were made, without success, to launch a study of the level of toxins in flesh of fish that are commonly caught by visitors to the Reserve. 4 

The Phase 3 and 4 studies were funded from grants to DFI provided by the Reichstein Foundation and associated donors, provided under the auspices of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). DFI is grateful for the support of these organisations, and for the very strong support provided by Park Victoria. 

Jamie Edgerton, Devilbend Toxicology Study Coordinator