Merri Creek Management Committee

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A Caring for Our Country Urban Waterways grant of 2012 to 2013 provided the funds to set up permanent vegetation quadrats at two project sites.

Vegetation 'quadrat' analysis is a preferred technique for detecting fine-scale vegetation change.  The number of species in a set area of ground is listed and the percentage of ground within that area that each species covers is estimated.  Repeated surveys of an identical area allow us to track the changes in different species, including the overall coverage of exotic versus indigenous plants, and the cover of priority weeds.

Simple right?  No! This is a very exacting technique, especially in a complex grassland with many similar looking species.

Ecological burning has always been crucial to management of Ngarri-djarrang Grassland in Reservoir.

Ngarri-djarrang Grassland has been tended by Merri Creek Management Committee since the early 1990s. 

This article presents some analysis of fire management by MCMC and the resulting ecological improvements achieved over twenty years.

Aerial Ngarri in 2009 post burns by J. Booth
Ngarri-djarrang, May 2009.  Photo courtesy J. Booth

Kalkallo Gorse Monitoring
How do you find a Needle in a haystack? A map might help.

Mapping weeds at a fine scale helps us plan ecological restoration. Many grasslands have a mosaic of different weed infestations- from dense swards to scattered individuals. Each demands a different control approach. Mapping can help select targets, allocate resources and evaluate works, reducing the time a crew-member spends on foot lugging equipment across site. However, such mapping is time-consuming so is rarely used for routine projects.

How can we make weed mapping more affordable?

Ngarri Disturbance setupGrassland wildflowers sustain the diversity of invertebrates and in turn, a whole web of life.

An MCMC project treads a fine line attempting to re-establish wildflower diversity using an ecological process that also has potential to hasten grassland degradation. After initial setbacks, a reliable technique for restoring floral diversity may be emerging from this collaboration between Traditional owners, MCMC and researchers.  

Ngarri Chocolate Lily-June
At the time of colonisation, the harvesting of roots for food on plains in Victoria by aboriginal people was extensive. Records of early observers indicate that a widespread custom for traditional custodians in southern Australia was to replant some pieces of foodplants. This would have ensured ongoing availability of these species.

In 2010, Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) sought a partnership with the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Cultural Heritage Council Inc.(WTLCHC) to begin to re-develop and update the knowledge needed to apply digging in a remnant grassland for both ecological and cultural renewal purposes.

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