MCMC recently completed two 18-month projects along the Merri’s middle reaches, both funded through Melbourne Water grants. The Loving Laffan project saw MCMC take on the Weed of National Significance, Gorse (Ulex europeaus), along a one kilometre stretch of Merri Creek south of Laffan Reserve in Craigieburn North. Dense infestations were controlled along several hectares of endangered Escarpment Shrubland vegetation. The planting of 200 indigenous shrubs restored some of the habitat values that had been provided by the Gorse. Hume City Council’s Bushland Management Team assisted MCMC staff in this physically demanding task. During this work we discovered a previously unrecorded population of the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth and a population of Emu Foot (Cullex tenax), an endangered pea not seen locally in over a decade.
The second project Merri Models saw MCMC restore endangered Creekline Tussock Grassland at Craigieburn’s Rushwood Drive Reserve.
Dense swathes of highly invasive Toowoomba Canary Grass were targeted and replaced with over 4,000 indigenous grasses to restore Creekline Tussock Grassland vegetation. Rushwood Drive Reserve and the adjoining Galgi Ngarrk Nature Conservation Reserve (Craigieburn Grassland) are also home to some of the most intact examples of Escarpment Shrubland vegetation remaining along the Merri. Detailed weed control was undertaken around isolated populations of Dwarf Skullcap, Rock Correa, Prickly Starwort and White Elderberry – plants that are becoming increasingly rare in the Merri Valley. Genetically diverse companions were planted to boost the populations of some of these species. Thanks to volunteers from Ford Motor Company and Melbourne Polytechnic for their help with these plantings.