Merri Creek Management Committee

Ann Bruce 1977Merri Creek stars in a recent paper on Communities caring for land and nature in Victoria published in the Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education by long-term Merri Creek activists, Ann and Bruce McGregor.

The McGregor's paper explores the importance of getting to know an area to be more a part of it and nature, and that areas suitable for outdoor adventure lie unnoticed near the centre of Melbourne. It outlines evidence that humans need nature in order to live happy, healthy lives and gives personal examples from Ann and Bruce's 40 years of activism on Merri Creek.

It highlights the important role that community organisations like Merri Creek Management Committee and Friends of Merri Creek have played in caring for land and nature along Merri Creek, and the significance of the Victorian National Parks Association at the state level. The paper was originally presented to the Victorian Outdoor Education Conference in 2019. 

Photo: newspaper cutting of Ann and Bruce McGregor planting along Merri Creek in 1977.

Western Golden tipCongratulations to our member group, Friends of Merri Creek, for being awarded $14,549 from the City of Darebin’s Community Grants Program. The grant will help to protect threatened species and ecosystems in Reservoir’s Ngarri-djarrang Grassland Reserve. The project was developed with substantial support from MCMC and MCMC will oversee its implementation. The 12-month project will engage volunteers to create resilient Seed Production Areas for three rare and threatened plants – Western Golden-tip (rare in Victoria), Arching Flax-lily (vulnerable in Victoria) and Common Everlasting (locally threatened).

Photo: Western Golden-tip, Goodia medicaginea

Bequest site plantingThe first stage of a five-year plan for a 'Bequest site' next to Merri Creek in Oldis Gardens, Northcote, has been completed. The site was prepared, planted and mulched by Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) through the generosity of Geoff Richards. Geoff plans to leave a bequest to Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC) in memory of his partner, Harry Nash. However, he is keen to see some restoration at the site and is donating $5,000 p.a. for five years to FoMC to achieve this. The site, above a spectacular basalt escarpment, is close to where Geoff and Harry lived.

FoMC has contracted MCMC to develop the site over the next five years, tackling a fifth of the site at a time.  MCMC will do the weed control and site preparation and organise community planting with indigenous plants. The whole Bequest sit' will be maintained in perpetuity, with planting and weed control undertaken as necessary. 
FoMC is currently in discussion with Darebin City Council about a sign for the site which will be called The Harry Nash Indigenous Garden.

flooding from trainline southwest 15 09 16

Photo above: Herne Swamp after heavy rain, Mt Fraser in background. Sept 2016.

Herne Swamp is a hidden gem on the upper Merri Creek awaiting the opportunity to be brought 'back to life'.  Lying to the south and east of the town of Wallan it has 'all the ingredients required for a spectacular restoration project'. This is the central point made in an inspiring discussion paper from the Nature Glenelg Trust -  Restoration Vision for the Wallan Wallan wetlands, including Herne Swamp, as the centrepiece of the Wallan Wallan Regional Park. The Nature Glenelg Trust are experts in wetland restoration and were invited by local community members to inspect Herne Swamp in 2018. 

Chip Cherries Leratiomyces ceresA very successful Fungi of the Merri webinar, with Fungal Ecologist, Dr Sapphire McMullan-Fisher, was held in July 2020, attracting 69 participants.
The link takes you to a recording of the presentation, which is full of fascinating information about the fungi found near Merri Creek and their important roles.
The webinar was jointly organised by the Friends of Merri Creek and Merri Creek Management Committee. (Photo: Chip Cherries, Leratiomyces ceres).

Help publish a full colour book on Fungi
You can help publish Australia’s first book on practical land management harnessing the mysterious mycological kingdom: Fungi for land, by donating here.

Five Mile Creek sampling Julia April 2020Sediment samples have been collected from Five Mile Creek in Essendon and sent off for testing as part of the fantastic Pesticide Detectives program. The positive news is that, as with the results from Merri Creek late last year, there were no pesticides found in the sample.

The nation-wide citizen science project is a collaboration between volunteer citizen scientists and RMIT University’s Aquatic Environmental Stress Research Group (AQUEST). The program is investigating the occurrences and concentrations of pesticides in Australian waterways. Pesticides found in our waterways include those used in homes and gardens, as well as the pesticides used in agriculture.

Powerful Owl with Ring tail 17 April 2020 1b in Fairfield by Craig LuptonA female Powerful Owl has been spotted with a Common ring-tail possum in her claws, not far from the Merri Parklands. Craig Lupton, Senior Biodiversity Officer, at Yarra City Council, photographed the bird near the Yarra River in  Fairfield on 16 April 2020. Craig said: "She’ll sit on it [the possum] until dusk, devour it, then fly off into the night to continue looking for a mate and foraging."  

As an apex predator, this urban Powerful Owl commonly feeds on Ring-tail possums, young Brush-tail possums, and quite possibly Grey-headed flying foxes and some species of day birds. It's inspiring to see these birds utilising our precious urban bushland areas.

Angela kidsMerri Creek Management Committee staff visited Galada Kindergarten in Epping to introduce local biodiversity to 12 groups of four year olds over two days in March 2020. We used storytelling to introduce Spotted Marsh Frog, Pacific Black Duck, Rakali, Long-necked Turtle, Platypus (Dulai wurrung), and Short-finned Eel (Iuk) as local creatures of Wurundjeri Country and their Woi-wurrung names (when known).

World Wetlands Day 2020 Julia presentingEach 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 (MCMC) 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 was developed in 1999, after almost two decades of community advocacy and planning. MCMC, with Melbourne Water and the City of Darebin were key partners in its development.


Leonard St Parkland end of current roadWe 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.

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

Merri Events Calendar