Check out Merri Creek Management Committee's recent achievements by reading our latest Annual Report. Here's a few snapshots for the year:
Each year World Wetlands Day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Ramsar Convention in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.
This year Merri Creek Management Committee Waterwatch and Catchment Education Programs joined forces with the Friends of Merri Park for a wetland walk, talk and litter clean up at the beautiful Merri Park wetland in Northcote. This wetland, which has Water Sensitive Urban Design features, was developed in 1999, after almost two decades of community advocacy and planning, led by Merri Creek Management Committtee (MCMC), with Melbourne Water and the City of Darebin as key partners. See more here.
Federal Communities Environment Program: At very short notice we helped prepare eight Expressions of Interest for this grant program, in close consultation with Friends of Merri Creek and Wallan Environment Group. Seven of these applications were successful and the funded projects have been confirmed (details below). We are very appreciative of the support shown for Merri Creek restoration by our local federal MPs.
Hume City Council Community Partnership Grant: We are delighted to have a $10,000 grant for the first year of A Little Nature Play in Hume. The three-year project will enable Merri Creek Management Committee staff to support and lead outdoor nature play in the City of Hume. Funding for the second and third years is contingent on the success of the first year.
The first activity of MCMC's Upper Merri Sodic & Erosive Soils Working Group kicked off with a special presentation by eminent soil scientist Dr Robert van de Graaff in October. Dr van de Graaff explained that due to the geological and climate history of the Merri Creek catchment, most soils in the catchment are sodic and thus highly susceptible to erosion. These soils present major challenges for urban development and until now have been largely overlooked. Detailed mapping of the soils and assessment of the degree of risk they pose is sorely needed. Dr van de Graaff's presentation is here (8.8MB pdf).
Photo: The muddy Merri (foreground), thick with sediment from sodic soils in the upper catchment, meets the Yarra, June 2018 © Katrina Roberg
We applaud Moreland Council's initiative in purchasing Merri Creek open space at 1-17 Leonard St, and 154-156 McBryde St Fawkner from the State Government. This 0.7 hectare site includes part of the Merri Creek Trail and contains a precious remnant of the critically endangered Victorian Volcanic Plains Grassland plant community. The McBryde St frontage makes a good local entry point to the Merri Trail and parklands and has potential to be much enhanced. In the vicinity are ideal areas for bush kinder visits and general nature play. More details on the site and its values are here.
The Friends of Merri Creek will help restore the native grassland at this site with their recently awarded grant from the Federal Communities Environment Program.
More than 30 happy participants made dioramas showing the habitat requirements of Melbourne’s frogs in an activity led by Merri Creek Management Committee community engagement staff. The activity was a 2019 Fun Palace event, held at at Lalor Library in October.
Fun Palaces is a global annual event held every October celebrating the culture at the heart of our communities. Fun Palaces invite local people along to share their passions and expertise with others in the community. Activities are free, creative, interactive and lots of fun!
Congratulations to the Reservoir Frogs Group and the Merri Creek at Northcote/Brunswick East Waterwatch Group for being nominated in the Sustainability category of the City of Darebin community awards. Both groups are supported by the Merri Creek Management Committee. This year there were more than 50 nominations, so the competition was tight.
Although neither group won in the category, Toni, the leader of the Merri Creek Waterwatch group in Northcote/Brunswick East commented "It was a thrill being nominated and I just wanted to share the acknowledgment with everyone in our group, as it’s a 100% team effort and I’m so lucky it’s such a wonderful group."
We partnered with Melbourne City Mission for a morning of activities along Merri Creek in Fawkner during the 2019 Easter School holidays. Activities included a walk and talk along the creek, looking for birds and other wildlife. A Swamp Wallaby was spotted on the banks of the Merri, we caught waterbugs from of the creek, tested the water (salinity and turbidity) and met a local Spotted Marsh Frog. Kids also had fun rolling down hills and climbing trees. The session finished with morning tea put on by Melbourne City Mission.
We have converted some unused space in our backyard at 2 Lee St Brunswick East into a Seed Production Area (SPA). Victorian Indigenous Nurseries Cooperative (VINC) kindly provided the plants which were installed into rows of drip-watered beds in mid-July 2019. The SPA will help ensure a steady supply of Merri-provenance seed is available for propagation by VINC, and for direct sowing by Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) into the Merri Creek grasslands.
Staff from Intrepid Group participated in three different hands-on activities this year. After twice handweeding in East Brunswick earlier in the year, they planted over 500 small indigenous flowering plants (forbes) at Moomba Park, Fawkner in late July (photo left). These plants will help to link habitat and create a seed source for future rare plants along the Merri.
CSL Ltd staff planted shrubs and removed woody weeds at Galada Tamboore in early July as part of a bird habitat creation project funded MCMC's Merri Creek Environment Fund. They also helped out last year at a planting near Merri Creek in Fawkner, for a project funded by Melbourne Water.
Our sincere thanks to the Intrepid and CSL staff for their efforts If your corporate group would like to volunteer with MCMC, check out the information here and get in touch.