MCMC audits schools' rain tank use

Small tank to water surrounding gardens at Thomastown East Primary SchoolMerri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) staff often visit school grounds to deliver environmental education programs and recently we noticed that a lot of the rain tanks, which have been installed over the last decade, were being under-used or sitting dormant.

As part of a new 2014-15 project funded by Whittlesea City Council, MCMC conducted an online survey with all Whittlesea schools to gain knowledge about how they use of their rain tanks. MCMC's Waterwatch Coordinator, Jane Bevelander, is following up these surveys by visiting schools, conducting an onsite audit with school staff, and providing schools with advice on how to better utilise their rain water.

After just two school visits Jane has seen some great initiatives, such as a tank linked to watering a new mini orchard. However for those schools that need improvement, one incentive is funding and support from the project to use tank water in productive way by creating a frog bog on the school grounds.

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Merri Corridor for sale

Merri Trail passes rocks and native shrubs at Lakeside College siteMerri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) is deeply concerned about the state government’s proposal to rezone the site of the former Lakeside Secondary College at 31 Radford Rd Reservoir, from Public Use Zone to Industrial Zone, in preparation for its sale on the open market.
The rear portion of this property, between the school oval and Merri Creek, has functioned as public open space since the mid-1980s. It has been managed for many years by the City of Darebin as open space for passive recreation, ands biodiversity and waterway significance.

Its values include:

1. The Merri Creek Shared Path/Trail: This trail traverses the site and is part of the Metropolitan Trail Network and connects the Yarra Main Trail north along Merri Creek to the Ring Rd.
2. Significant Linear Open Space Connectivity: The Darebin Open Space Strategy nominates this area as recreational open space.
3. Significant Biodiversity Values: These include nationally-listed EPBC species and communities. These values are mapped and described in detail in Darebin Council’s draft Natural Heritage Plan 2011.
4. Significant Waterway Values: Merri Creek is a Melbourne’s most popular urban creek and is greatly valued by the community.

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Become a Habitat Hero

Common bluebell smallMCMC has received $87,932 from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to restore a gap in the habitat corridor along the Merri Creek in Fawkner. The three-year Habitat Heroes project starts in June 2014. It will bring Wurundjeri Traditional Land Owners and the diverse local community together with Merri Creek Management Committee through hands-on activities and events.

The Habitat Heroes project will provide opportunities for greater understanding of, and involvement in local biodiversity. It will also engage Wurundjeri Traditional Owners in land management practices. The Habitat Heroes are both the community members working on restoring habitat, and the Top Ten plant habitat species that are the focus of the project.

The first community planting is on 24 August 2014: participants will be Welcomed to Country by Traditional Owners, see a local snakes and lizards display and help to revegetate gaps in the habitat with trees and shrubs. This will be supplemented with weed control and ecological/cultural burning of native grasslands, enabling the Wurundjeri Narrap land management team and MCMC to work in partnership.

Residents can discover local biodiversity through interpretative events, bird surveys, and finding out how to use the 'Top Ten' Habitat Hero plant species in their gardens.

 
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