SECTION 2 - Natural Heritage and Land Management
This section gives an overview of the terrestrial issues related to the protection and management of biodiversity, geodiversity and open space values associated with the Merri catchment waterways. It also discusses land management issues and parkland development.
Chapter 2.1 looks at biodiversityin the catchment. It discusses regional objectives and targets for native vegetation, habitats, species and habitat linkages.
Chapter 2.2 discusses the geodiversityof the catchment (that is the geological, geomorphological and soil values),
Chapter 2.3 discusses land management issues including pest plant and animal management, salinity and erosion management.
Chapters 2.4-2.6 focus on management of broad reaches of the Merri Creek Corridor to meet objectives discussed in earlier chapters. The three reaches have been segregated on the basis of the common land use and open space issues which arise in each of them. The reaches are summarised below.
Very significant biodiversity values are present along Merri catchment waterways and their adjoining lands. It is an objective of this Strategy to seek the development, as far as possible, of continuous habitat along the stream corridors principally through a variety of vegetation management means, including revegetation
To provide for long-term protection for the total range of flora and fauna found within the waterway corridors, actions on private land which enhance biodiversity values will also need to be encouraged. This is especially necessary in a context where extensive areas of native grassland can still be found on farming lands in the corridors.
The three main reaches of the creek examined in chapters 2.4-2.6 are:
2.4 Headwaters to Donnybrook Road
This reach comprises mainly rural land with some urban development around Wallan and Beveridge. There are many important sites of biodiversity and geodiversity significance and a number of populations of endangered flora and fauna species.
2.5 Donnybrook Road to Mahoneys Road
This reach covers key parts of the middle to lower catchment and includes grassland and grassy woodland remnants at Craigieburn (including on the Malcolm, Aitken and Edgars Creeks), Campbellfield and Thomastown.
2.6 Mahoneys Road to the Yarra
Within this urban reach there are already identifiable and established open space or public use zones along most of the waterway corridors. The issues in this reach relate to the management of these areas, and to the consolidation of open space along the corridors.
However, there are a small number of sites with significant biodiversity and/or geodiversity values (e.g. Bababi Djinanang grassland) and a large number of often isolated pockets of indigenous remnant plants which are valuable remnants of the original basalt plains grassland flora.
 Biodiversity is defined in the Australian Natural Heritage Charter as meaning the variability among living organisms from all sources (including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part) and includes diversity within and between species and the diversity of ecosystems.
 Geodiversity is defined in the Australian Natural Heritage Charter as meaning the natural range (diversity) of geological (bedrock), geomorphological (landform) and soil features, assemblages, systems and processes. Geodiversity includes evidence of the past life, ecosystems and environments in the history of the earth as well as a range of atmospheric, hydrological and biological processes currently acting on rocks, landforms and soils.