Creeks & Critters Update

Congratulations to all “Creeks & critters” citizen scientists who participated in the Autumn 2024 eDNA field sampling of our local waterways. We were forced to postpone our field sampling on a number of occasions due to wet weather, saturated catchments and swollen creeklines…but we finally got there!

All Autumn eDNA samples are now with the Melbourne EnviroDNA laboratory undergoing analysis and we eagerly await the results end July/early August.

Check out the Spring 2023 eDNA Sampling Results and our innovative Data Dashboard.

For more information visit the Community, Creeks and Critters webpage.

Project statistics thus far

  • 94 citizen scientists participated in the Spring eDNA sampling
  • 54 citizen scientists participated in the Autumn eDNA sampling (participation dropped off due to our sampling Saturdays having to be cancelled and rescheduled 4 times due to ongoing rainfall events and saturated catchments)
  • 91 proposed creek sampling site locations were nominated by the community via our online mapping tool
  • 85 citizen scientists attended one of three eDNA sampling training workshops
  • 41 local waterway sites sampled for eDNA across Hornsby Shire
  • 164 eDNA filters sent off for laboratory analysis (i.e. 2 replicate samples @ 41 sites x 2 sampling events)


Are you curious about the wildlife living in and around your local Bushland Shire creek?

Here's an exciting opportunity for citizen scientists of all ages to join a ground-breaking creek investigation project using cutting-edge environmental DNA (eDNA) technology.

Citizen scientists are invited to participate by collecting water samples from creeks using special, easy to use eDNA sampling kits. Samples will be sent off for laboratory analysis where a DNA reference library detects genetic traces (such as skin particles, mucus, faeces, and urine) left by different species (e.g. fish, waterbirds, frogs, mammals, reptiles) in our local creeks.

This valuable DNA data will not only facilitate a baseline assessment of creek biodiversity across the Shire, but also offer insights into our local aquatic wildlife and provide crucial knowledge in the event of a natural disaster such as a major bushfire or flood.

By volunteering, you will:

  • learn about the animals or 'critters' that live in your local creeks
  • learn citizen science-based sampling and survey skills
  • connect with your local community
  • become a 'champion', by sharing your knowledge with local networks
  • help Council deepen our understanding of aquatic biodiversity
  • contribute to the promotion of healthy waterways.

The amount of time required to volunteer is entirely flexible and anyone can participate, including families and school students. Each citizen scientist will be required to undertake a short, in person training session to learn how to use an eDNA sampling kit and be available to collect the water samples on one of the two sampling days in October. See the Key Dates on the right hand side.

There are lots of other ways to contribute if you would prefer not to do the water sampling, including:

  • data collection
  • site assessment
  • photography
  • administration
  • first aid
  • logistics and support
  • authoring creek critter fact sheets
  • social media posts
  • blog writing
  • project promotion.

We welcome your valuable input and support. Get in touch with us if you’d like to assist in any way.

Remember, eDNA data of this kind has never before been gathered within the Bushland Shire, making this the most significant citizen science and creek biodiversity research project in Hornsby’s history.

Registrations closed: Tuesday 5 September 2023

The 'Community, creeks and critters' project, funded by a NSW Social Cohesion Grant, builds upon the success of a recent citizen science pilot project initiative called 'Using Hornsby Platypus eDNA as a Catalyst for Healthy Waterways.'

While the pilot project focused specifically on detecting platypus DNA in Hornsby's Colah Creek, Glenorie Creek and Still Creek, this new project utilises broader focus eDNA (environmental DNA) metabarcoding techniques that can detect a wider range of species beyond just platypus. It also expands the water sampling efforts to a wider selection of Hornsby Shire creeks.

Find out more about the project.

eDNA sampling points

Below map shows the final freshwater creekline, dam or waterhole location (big red dots) for eDNA sampling in October.

Our scientific experts reviewed all sites submitted by the public (smaller blue dots) and confirmed 40 Hornsby Shire sampling site locations.

Zoom in and click on a red dot to get a bit more detail about the sampling location.

View a full screen map.