In early May, Zara Hakam organised a litter clean-up in East Brunswick for a university assignment, and wrote about her experience, explaining how it relates to broader ecological issues. Here is a summary of her report.
By hosting a litter pick-up event along Merri Creek, I sought to contribute to my community’s long-standing efforts to protect the ecology of Merri Creek and reduce the amount of rubbish entering Port Phillip Bay. I also aimed to gain a better understanding of how anthropogenic waste impacts the environment.
(Photo: Zara, 2nd from left, and friends at the litter clean-up.)
After a busy start to the year and the ups and downs of numerous lockdowns, MCMC is celebrating two recent successful grant applications, both focused on waterway restoration:
-$21,030 from Melbourne Water’s Corridors of Green program for the project, 'High Density Living: Improving Habitat Structure for Rare Merri Birds,' which aims to extend dense shrub habitat for rarely seen Pink Robins and Rose Robins, along Merri Creek in Thornbury, between Normanby Avenue and the Harding St bridge, where they've lately been seen.
- $21,687 from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s Port Phillip Bay Fund for the project, 'Building up the banks of Brunswick,' which aims to repair riparian vegetation in Brunswick East, damaged by heavy use during recent lockdowns, as well as improve streambank stability and provide training to increase awareness of stream health.
Stay tuned to our event calendar for ways in which you can be involved in these projects.
On 2 February, MCMC's Angela Foley gave the presentation: Pitching in: Working with the recent ‘experimental archaeology’ of Wurundjeri Country, at La Trobe University’s Victorian Archaeology Colloquium 2021. The presentation considered appropriate ways for non-Indigenous people to ‘pitch in’ and work together to acknowledge Country.
MCMC participated in the colloquium with formally agreed support from seven Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders. The formal requirement was triggered by the presentation’s reference to the article: The Koorong Project: Experimental archaeology and Wurundjeri continuation of cultural practices.
Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) has successfully applied to use the residual funds in the Growling Grass Frog (GGF) Trust. MCMC’s project will develop a masterplan to guide better planning and habitat outcomes for Growling Grass Frogs in the lowest part of the Merri Creek corridor where these endangered fogs are known to occur. We'll be scoping the area from Moomba Park, Fawkner, northwards to Cooper St, Somerton.
Students from Oak Park Primary School’s Green Team made some interesting discoveries about the water quality of Moonee Ponds Creek.
Every Wednesday at lunchtime over four weeks, about 10-15 students from Year 3-6 met with MCMC Waterwatch Coordinator, Julia Cirillo, to undertake water quality tests at Moonee Ponds Creek.
The students, along with Sustainability Teacher John Hughes, collected water samples from the creek to test temperature, pH, salinity, phosphate (nutrients) and turbidity (water clarity). They discovered that the creek water quality can change drastically after rainfall. In one week, when over 16mm of rain fell within 24 hours before testing, turbidity increased dramatically from 9 (excellent) to 21 (poor) and nutrients also increased. This indicated that the rain took large amounts of soil and other organic matter (eg dust, leaves, detergent) into the creek via stormwater drains.
A big shout out to all the wonderful community groups and individuals within the Merri catchment who are doing their bit to remove litter from our streets, parks and waterways and preventing it from going into Port Phillip Bay.
In April 12 volunteers from Lateral Food Corp, Dr Bronners All One charity & partners cleared up more than 12 kgs of litter in just over an hour on Merri Creek in East Brunswick. Most of the litter was broken glass, plastic bags, plastic food packets, macro plastics, coffee cups and yes some face masks.
In May, Zara and her team of fellow students from the University of Melbourne collected 13kg of rubbish after just one hour - all within 50 metres south of the footbridge over Merri Creek between Sumner Reserve, Brunswick East and Merri Park, Northcote.
Thirty participants joined an MCMC event, intriguingly named “Are there Platypus in Merri Creek?” in early May at the CERES Environmental Park in Brunswick East, by Merri Creek.
The event began with a presentation by Josh Griffiths from Cesar Australia about Platypus - their distribution, biology, diet, habitat requirements and current threats. The latter include loss of waterway habitat (removal of instream and bank vegetation) and the impact of 'urban stream syndrome', the combined effect of stormwater pollutants and too frequent high flows. Josh discussed the monitoring of platypus and how this is changing to be less invasive, including use of the citizen science Platypus spot app and of DNA to detect Platypus in waterways.
MCMC is storing 300 large pots of the endangered Matted Flax-lily Dianella ameona at its depot in Brunswick East. The plants were orginally part of a PhD research project into pollination at the University of Melbourne Burnley Campus, but are now destined for various sites in the Merri parklands in Fawkner, to extend pollination pathways.
The University gave the plants to MCMC after an infestation of Thrips changed the focus of the research project from pollination to Thrips. The GPS location of all plants will be recorded and the plantings arranged so that both large and small populations are located in sites of both poor and good quality vegetation to allow for future research projects on pollination.
After an action-packed couple of months, our busiest burning season yet is at an end.
This autumn we conducted 14 ecological burns in grassland vegetation. Eight of these were at Merri sites and 6 at other locations across greater Melbourne, including a few sites that haven’t seen a fire for several decades. We’re very excited to see what grassland treasures emerge from these reserves this spring!
Follow the 'read more' prompt to see MCMC drone footage of the eco-burn at Ngarri-djarrang, a grassland reserve in Reservoir next to Central Creek, a tributary of Merri Creek.
A new project is providing much needed information on the ecological health of Merri Creek. Since mid-2020 MCMC has been involved in a collaborative project with RMIT University that has installed sensors in the creek. These measure water temperature and light every hour, and turbidity (water clarity) every two minutes.
|30 Sep 2021;|
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Platypus back in the Merri? Meet the 'Merri Platypus Paddle'
|02 Oct 2021;|
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Friends of Merri Park Litter Cleanup
|03 Oct 2021;|
09:00AM - 12:30PM
Friends of Edwardes Lake Hand Weeding
|03 Oct 2021;|
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Litter Clean Up - North Coburg - Friends of Merri Creek
|03 Oct 2021;|
02:00PM - 03:30PM
Streamteam Water Quality Testing - Friends of Merri Creek
|10 Oct 2021;|
10:00AM - 12:30PM
Weeding at Strettle Wetland - Friends of Merri Creek