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Get involved!

Anyone can be involved! If you are interested in rivers, streams, wetlands, ponds, oxbows or even farm dams, then join us as we figure out how many of Australia's waterways are in good nick, and how many need a bit more TLC. 

We'll be using a net and an app to have a closer look at our waterways.  By identifying the littler animals (waterbugs) that live in them, we can learn a lot about freshwater ecology, and also how healthy these water bodies are. 

Waterbug experts are on hand to answer questions and confirm waterbug identifications.

Why get involved?

  1. get outdoors and spend time in nature discovering and exploring our waterways
  2. learn about freshwater ecosystems and waterbugs
  3. figure out if the waterways you care about are healthy
  4. contribute to data sets that can help us improve the condition of our rivers and wetlands

How long does a Waterbug Blitz take?

Participants can get involved in the National Waterbug Blitz in three ways:






Mayfly Muster EASY Have a look under rocks and on wood in the waterway ... can you see any mayflies?  Tell us about it even if you don't ...we want to know where they aren't. Approx. 20 minutes
QUICK Waterbug Survey QUICK Identify the obvious waterbugs such as dragonflies and water striders and use these to assess your site.

Approx. 1-2 hours

DETAILED Waterbug Survey DETAILED Complete a full assessment of your site identifying as many animals as you can with a magnifying glass, using the Agreed Level Taxonomy (ALT) method.

A few hours or make a day of it!


The DETAILED waterbug survey uses the Agreed Level Taxonomy (ALT) method, which has been specially designed for both citizen scientists and professional scientists to use to collect quality data. It uses clear, every-day language and explanations for identifying waterbugs without the need for microscopes.

The QUICK Survey is a simple method directed for schools and new participants which identifies bugs to the equivalent of Order level. 

Both the QUICK and DETAILED survey methods use live pick methods where participants collect the waterbugs with a net and identifying them in trays, then returning them alive to the river. See our 'How To' videos on how to sample, ID, record and return your waterbugs.

The data can also be compared with other existing data sets collected by government departments and other scientists. See more detail about the Waterbug Blitz method at The Waterbug Company ALT webpage.

What resources and training will be available?

A range of free resources are available to assist participants to complete the Blitz:


The App

The Waterbug App: helps with waterbug identification. Download it for free from Google Play or iTunes, and login to prepare for to complete your Waterbug Blitz.  


Waterbug Gear

Nets and gear are available from The Waterbug Shop.


Waterbug ID training

Training sessions can be arranged through The Waterbug Shop if you'd like to sponsor one in your area or by contacting us if you'd like to find out if there are any already organised near you.


To complete a Waterbug Blitz, all you’ll need are some nets, a bucket, white trays, spoons, pipettes and your smartphone or tablet. Printed copies of the waterbug identification guide and result sheets are also available if you don't want to get your phone wet (available from The Waterbug Shop, or you can download them for free and print them out yourself here).

Participants will be able to use a smartphone or tablet to submit photographs of waterbugs they can’t recognise for our waterbug experts to identify.

The National Waterbug Blitz Team is looking to join with local support partners to host/run training workshops for volunteers, staff and others who may wish to enhance their Waterbug Blitz skills prior to the annual survey. Contact us to organise a training workshop for your area.  

What happens to all the data?

Once we have a bunch of different people's data from all over Australia we make maps.  

We are also looking for historical waterbug data to be added to our database, to help compare what was found in the rivers and wetlands around you in the past and see if they have got worse, better or stayed the same.  This will help us flag waterbodies that might need help. Contact us to find out more.

Keen? Buy the T-shirt... or the travel mug...

We have merchandise that you can buy featuring our awesome logo here.  Help get the word out about The National Waterbug Blitz without even talking to people!

merch swag