Merri Creek Management Committee

Merri Creek in MerriangMerri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) recently cemented stronger ties with the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA). Our success in gaining funding to employ a Landcare Facilitator for the Upper Merri led to the development of a formal partnership agreement with the PPWCMA. 

MCMC also joined over 70 other organisations listed as partner organisations to the CMA's Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS). It means we formally support the pursuit of the visions and targets for relevant parts of the RCS and have agreed to help achieve optimum results, within our available resources.

As a partner organisation, MCMC submitted two projects for the Prospectus section of the RCS: the Merri Creek Biolink project and the Merri Creek Community Engagement project. The Prospectus is akin to a ‘stakeholder billboard’ on which organisations summarise their most important, desirable, practical and/or innovative project proposals. Although it doesn't guarantee funding, it advertises the fact that we are looking for help to achieve the projects.

Photo: Merri Creek in its upper reaches in Merriang

Chris Cobern landcareWe welcome Chris Cobern, the first ever Upper Merri Landcare Facilitator.  Funding for the position is from a Victorian Govt Landcare Facilitators grant for a one day per week postion, until June 2024. Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position. He will be focused on increasing community natural resource management activities in the Upper Merri (and the upper Plenty) community.

Chris is pursuing the formation of a Landcare group in the area and is keen to hear from interested people. He'll also be encouraging the formation of Friends groups in more suburban parts of the upper catchment, as well as supporting existing groups.

Chris can be contacted on Wednesdays at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ZarasGroupCleanUpMay2021MCMC supports many litter clean-ups undertaken by community volunteers. We give our thanks to Zara Hakam who 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. 

Of the 13kg of litter Zara and her six friends collected in one hour along Merri Creek in May 2021, over 97% was plastic. Most were single use items such as disposable face masks (9), plastic bottles (18) and plastic straws (35). Zara calculated that if these levels of litter were found along the entire 60-kilometre length of the creek, the Merri would hold approximately 2.5 million individual pieces of plastic!

MCMC supported Zara's clean-up efforts with advice and equipment.

Photo: Zara, 2nd from left, and friends sorting Merri Creek litter

To read Zara's report, follow the read more prompt.

Strettle wetland 11 4 21After 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.

Smoking ceremony at Mt William quarryOn 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.

Growling Grass Frog metamorph by G HeardMerri 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.

Oak Park Green Team water testing sessionApril2021Students 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.

Litter clean up groupA 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.

Platypus presentation 2 5 21Thirty 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.

Dianella Ameona World1 19 4 21MCMC 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.

Merri Events Calendar