Newsletter of the Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC)
In May we reported on a major turbidity event in Merri Creek in our Muddy Merri Troubles article. The intense yellow colour of Merri Creek generated high levels of community concern. A month later, in mid-June, the same thing happened again. This time we decided to measure the actual turbidity levels of Merri Creek in Brunswick East and to take photos of the creek. You can read the detailed results of our investigation below or download the full report as a pdf.
In brief we found: (1) At its peak the turbidity was 500 NTU. This is higher than any other level recorded in the lower reaches of Merri Creek over the last 18 years. (2) It took 15 days of steady decline for the turbidity to drop to an acceptable level of less than 20 NTU. (3) Visually, Merri Creek was perceived as 'very muddy' for 14 days.
Aitken Creek in Craigieburn is a hive of activity as Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) helps to implement the ‘Aitken Creek’s Living Pathways’ project. This Friends of Merri Creek project aims to establish pathways for blue banded bees to pollinate the endangered Matted Flax Lily and invite YOU, the local community to help take care of this magnificent tributary of Merri Creek habitat corridor.
Take a spring tour of the creek with skilled MCMC staff as your guides and discover the wildlife and ancient redgums and wildflowers that call it home on 24 November or use the new interactive on line map as your guide. View the map in the browser on any web-connected device. Or download the mobile app from the Google Play Store with your Android device.
Join the on-site tour walk or bike-ride on Saturday 24 November, 10.30am-1.30pm
Spring is breeding season for the South African Weed Orchid, Disa bracteata, and the Special Weed Orchid Terminators are ready for action! Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) hosted three weekend events to help the Friends of Merri Creek’s SWOT team stop this weed invading Reservoir’s state-significant Ngarri-djarrang grassland reserve.
Each Weed Orchid flower can produce tens of thousands of tiny seeds which are easily spread on the wind, vehicles, tools and clothing, threatening native grasslands around Melbourne. Its fleshy leaves and tubers compete with indigenous wildflowers like orchids, lilies and other herbs for prime space between the grass tussocks.
We congratulate our member group, Friends of Merri Creek, on gaining the following grants. Merri Creek Managment Committee staff assisted the Friends with the grant applications, using our extensive ecological, community and project management knowledge.
$21,635 from Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority for the project: Returning and Re-learning: bringing cultural burns and locally rare plants back to Fawkner grasslands. This project aims to return Traditional Owner management knowledge and rare plant species to Bababi Djinanang native grassland by Merri Creek in Fawkner.
$8,800 from Moreland City Council Arts Activation Grant program for the Merri Murnong group's Murnong Harvest 2018 by Merri Creek in Coburg. The Merri Murnong group is a sub-group of the Friends of Merri Creek.
$3,500 from Darebin City Council for the Friends of Merri Park project to plant Climate Change adapted plants in Merri Park Wetland, Northcote. The Friends of Merri Park is a sub-group of the Friends of Merri Creek.
$500 from Parks Victoria for buckets, gloves, geared loppers, flexi-tubs, and safety glasses for woody weed removal at Bababi Marning native grassland near Cooper St, Campbellfield.
Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) is delighted to renew our partnership with Melbourne Water for delivery of Waterwatch for 2018-19. This agreement covers services for the Merri and Moonee Ponds Creeks and the lower Yarra River. Activities include supporting community Waterwatch monitors, running community Frog events, running WaterWatch training for community monitors and providing ALT(waterbug) surveys for trained community members.
If you're interested in getting involved, please contact our Waterwatch Coordinator, Julia Cirillo email@example.com ph. 9380-8199
Citizen Science is a phrase that’s bandied about a lot at the moment. You might think it’s a new activity but it's not. Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) has been at the forefront of citizen science water quality monitoring. As early as 1992 we initiated a citizen science program that involved local schools in water quality monitoring of Merri Creek.
By 2017/18 MCMC's Waterwatch program had consolidated to support 30 volunteer monitors at 15 regular monitoring sites. In 2017/18 we also educated around 2,000 students at more than 20 educational organisations (from early years up to tertiary level) on waterway health. The data from our monitoring sites is lodged via the Waterwatch Victoria online data portal and is used by EPA Victoria for their Annual Report card of waterway health.
Australia’s gum trees can guide student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking entry for STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) as well as Law and Language. A three minute video - Gum tree learning: Inspiring primary educators to teach with Australian eucalypts produced by Merri Creek Management Committee provides teacher support for the cross-cultural curriculum priority (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures). Use it in the classroom and pause to focus on different elements.
Timely action by Moreland Council has saved two critical parcels of land next to Merri Creek from residential development. Excellent campaigns from the local community, Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC), Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) and in Fawkner, the Fawkner Residents Association led to this result.
Council negotiated a successful offer for a parcel of VicRoads land at McBryde St Fawkner. This significant piece of land abuts Merri Creek and has been an effective part of the open space corridor for many years. Council also made a successful purchase on the open market of a prominent block of private land at 2 Spry St Coburg North, next to the Merri Creek Trail and Merri Creek.
After Moreland Council's success in negotiating the purchase of VicRoads' land at McBryde St Fawkner, we are hopeful that VicRoads land at nearby Leonard St in Fawkner will also become permanent open space. This land is an integral part of the Merri Creek habitat and parkland corridor. If it is not acquired by Council for open space, it will be sold off for residential development. Merri Creek Management Committee congratulates Moreland Council on its decision to pursue acquisition of this land. We share Council's frustration that it has to use ratepayer’s funds to purchase land from another level of government.
In contrast to the good news that Moreland Council is buying land for the Merri Creek corridor, it's hugely disappointing to report that Melbourne Water is planning to sell off Merri Creek land, land designated part of the Merri Creek Marran Baba Parklands. This 'surplus' land, at the rear of an industrial property in Trawalla Ave, Thomastown, is part of an original floodplain reserve owned by Melbourne Water. Over a number of years it was improperly occupied, filled and built on by the adjacent landowners, previous and current. Despite its modified conditon there is no reason it can't be ecologically restored, as has been achieved for many formerly degraded areas along Merri Creek.
Sincere thanks to the 71 generous donors to our 2018 Appeal to create more habitat for birds along Merri Creek. A total of $12,974 in donations was made to MCMC's Merri Creek Environment Fund. We look forward to letting you know about the creation of bird habitat in a future Merri e-News. If you want to know more about the Fund, check out the web page.
There's been a fantastic response to an initiative by Friends of Merri Creek member Anne Frost for a new group of volunteers to gather monthly on a Wednesday morning to help care for Merri Creek. The group has already held two very successful sessions, working closely with Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) staff on priority activities. 18 volunteers defied a frosty morning on 29 August to help plant native shrubs and do a huge amount of weeding at Blyth St Brunswick East near CERES (see photo). The volunteers did a terrific job in learning to distinguish weeds from native grasses.
Then at their second meeting on 26 September, 10 adults and 2 sharp-eyed school kids searched for and removed 50 invasive South African Weed Orchids at the Ngarri-djarrang Grassland in Reservoir. Afterwards the group enjoyed a tour guided by MCMC (none of them had been to the grassland before).
Over 50 participants attended two Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) events on National Threatened Species Day, 7 September. This is an annual day to highlight the plight of endangered plants and animals.
At the Whittlesea Public Gardens in Lalor children and adults alike enjoyed Nature Play activities such as waterbug discovery and meeting a local Spotted Marsh Frog. From the Gardens, a Discover Grasslands Walk took participants on a guided walk to nearby Galada Tamboore, a culturally significant area for the Wurundjeri, and for its geology, geomorphology, plants and animals. Thank you to the City of Whittlesea for supporting these events. Read more to see participants' feedback and other information.
Merri Creek Management Committee’s (MCMC) ecological restoration expertise is widely sought. We were recently selected by Metro Trains Melbourne as a preferred contractor to manage biosites throughout Melbourne’s train network. Biosites are sections of the rail reserve which host significant remnant vegetation and protect threatened flora and fauna species.
During 2018-19 our Ecological Restoration Team will manage and restore indigenous vegetation at 21 separate biosites covering a range of different vegetation types from the grasslands of Sunbury to the swamps of Pakenham. This follows on from recent work by MCMC for Metro Trains at nine metropolitan biosites, and management of rail-side vegetation for other clients including VicRoads, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Level Crossing Removal Project. This recognition is testament to MCMC’s skill, expertise and efficiency in the management of sensitive vegetation remnants.
Please contact us if you are interested in obtaining a quote for our Ecological Restoration Services.
Whether it has been playing the part of a local animal or a plant being eaten in a food web, discovering more about the local custodians of the Merri Creek catchment, or getting wet testing water, Brunswick North Primary School Grade 3/4 students (photo left) have been actively involved in learning more about their local Merri Creek this year. Teacher Emma Beale, along with other 3/4 Teachers, have worked successfully with Merri Creek Management Committee to link curriculum requirements with citizen science. Learning about local places uses a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) approach.
On Saturday 22 September, an enthusiastic group of people came together for a guided meander along Edgars Creek in North Epping, organised by Joanna Durst, who coordinates the Friends of Growlers Grasslands (FroGG) group. The gorgeous spring weather added to the pleasure of discovering the ephemeral wetlands and constructed ponds along Edgars Creek. The bees were humming and frogs called loudly, while the participants considered possible future actions to involve the community and to keep an eye on local indigenous biodiversity opportunities for FroGG to lead. If you're interested, why not follow the FroGG group on facebook.
Some upcoming events:
Saturday 27 October, 10-11.30am
Under Murray Rd/Southern Rd Bridge, Preston (opposite Northland on the Darebin Creek shared trail). Melway 19 C12 - see map
Saturday 10 November, 8.30am - 4.00pm
Meet at Dennis St Northcote beside the Northcote Plaza shopping centre carpark (see map) at 8.30am for bus leaving at 9am sharp. We will visit important sites for the conservation of the Merri's ‘Secret Seven’ rare plants and explore significant vegetation along the Say G’day trail near the Merri’s headwaters at Heathcote Junction. You will learn about threats to the survival of the wild plants and about the reintroduction sites that will help secure their future on the Merri.
Bookings essential - below
We have even more activities for you!
We have lots more activities coming up and there's bound to be something that suits you. Just check out our calendar, or if you would like to be notified about events along Merri Creek, sign up here. You can sign up to receive email notices for all events, for events in a specific area, or for certain types of events.
|20 Nov 2018;|
06:30PM - 10:00PM
Friends of Merri Creek Annual General Meeting
|21 Nov 2018;|
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Discovering the Frogs of Edwardes Lake, Reservoir
|23 Nov 2018;|
10:00AM - 11:00AM
Nature Play at Clifton Hill
|23 Nov 2018;|
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Discover the Frogs of the Merri Edgars wetlands
|24 Nov 2018;|
10:30AM - 01:30PM
Aitken Creek Walk and/or Bike Tour - Friends of Merri Creek & MCMC
|25 Nov 2018;|
08:45AM - 10:30AM
Merri Bird Survey 4 for 2018 (continued) - Friends of Merri Creek