In Waders and Waterproofs: Keeping the Island Running

In Waders and Waterproofs: Keeping the Island Running

Wearing her waders and waterproofs, Shelley Hawkins, Senior Environment Officer in the Infrastructure and Environment department, is key to keeping the Island’s water quality in check. 

From fresh water to sea water, Shelley’s involved in all stages of the water quality monitoring process, including programme development, sample collection, data analysis and reporting.  

The work and research that Shelley and the rest of the Water and Air team carry out helps to inform policy related decisions on how Jersey uses its land, how the waters are protected, and how to reduce environmental impacts.  

“It’s really important we monitor the Island’s water quality. For example, we’ll check streams for pesticides and other chemicals which we share with Jersey Water so they can provide the Island with safe drinking water; and with our coastal waters, we need to ensure the sea is safe for Islanders and tourists to swim in.”  

Every year, Jersey grapples with smelly sea lettuce on St Aubin’s Bay, grown quickly by nutrients going into the sea. A crucial part of Shelley’s work is real-time monitoring of nutrients in the bay and working with colleagues at the upgraded Sewage Treatment Works to help minimise nutrients and in turn help keep the beach clear of sea lettuce. 

“We carry out very diverse monitoring and focus on the presence and levels of pollutants like pesticides, nutrients and PFAS, as well as the general background chemistry which shows how healthy a body of water is.” 

As well as being up to her knees in water with a bucket in hand, Shelley also enjoys engaging with the public and educating Islanders on how their actions are polluting Jersey’s waters.  

“The Blue Fish campaign highlights some of the pollutants we often find; from cigarettes that are thrown on streets and into drains, cooking oil and paints that are rinsed down sinks, to wipes and sanitary products flushed in toilets – these all have an impact on our water.”  

Despite the rewarding nature of her work, Shelley’s biggest challenge is keeping up to date with emerging science and best practices; along with constantly evolving environmental threats.  

“We need to continually keep up with the best practices and emerging science to best protect the Island’s water, however I really feel like I’m doing something positive for the environment. We are gathering important scientific evidence needed to demonstrate impact, to steer legal and policy decisions, which in turn drives positive behavioural change to protect the environment.”  

From walks around the reservoirs to surfing in the sea, water is a big part of Jersey’s culture. Scientists like Shelley, monitoring over 230 water sites across Jersey, are key to keeping our water safe.

For more about the Blue Fish campaign, visit: Blue Fish Campaign: protecting streams, ponds and reservoirs (

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