Hero Image

Waterway CSI’s hit Melbourne’s rivers in eDNA blitz

Citizen scientists across Melbourne have signed up in droves to take part in a Melbourne Water eDNA monitoring blitz to help track the health and numbers of fish and animals in rivers and creeks across the city.

Dubbed Waterway CSI – volunteers will take water samples from 70 sites which will be tested for environmental DNA.

This is a simple and non-invasive way of capturing the DNA of many species with a single scoop of H2O in a test tube fitted with a special filter. That water is then sent back to the EnviroDNA lab for DNA meta barcoding.

Results can show numerous types of animals within a specific waterway. Melbourne Water has been using the innovative approach to successfully monitor the biodiversity of Melbourne’s creeks and rivers.

Waterway CSI Project Manager, Melbourne Water’s Dr Teresa Mackintosh says to have so many people keen to be involved was heartening - and volunteers would be receiving their sample packs this week.

“Everyone taking part gets a sample kit containing a test tube fitted with an eDNA filter, a lunchbox and ice block to keep the water sample cold. 

“Samples need to be mailed back express post to the lab within 48 hours of being taken. Every one of these test tubes of water is packed with animal DNA. This will provide us with important information on the biodiversity and habitat health within many of our much loved waterways.”   

Bacchus Marsh resident Jodie Valpied leapt at the chance to take part in the Waterway CSI at her beloved Werribee River.


“This is a simple and effective way that I can play a small role in helping those tasked with caring for our waterways and associated species know how our environment is tracking,” Ms Valpied said.

“This data could potentially provide new information and result in targeted environmental management of a particular site,” Ms Valpied said.

Following State Government coronavirus (COVID-19) safety guidelines, more than 150 CSI Waterway volunteers will be sampling from Werribee to the Mornington Peninsula.

Participants will be given details of the species found at their sample site. The information will also be added to Melbourne Water’s data repository.

Media Catherine Garrett : 0429 219 084