Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) celebrated its 30th Anniversary with an afternoon walking tour along Merri Creek on 23rd May 2019.
First stop was near CERES in Brunswick East, where the MCMC President, Ann McGregor, talked about some of the first plantings along Merri Creek in the 1970s. Then people walked downstream along the Northcote side of the Merri where Geoff Mabett talked about the transformative works of the Northern Waterways Group in creating Merri Park in the late 1980s. The group was photographed on the footbridge between Merri Park and Sumner Park.
Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) teamed up with RMIT University and Melbourne Water on 31 May to present a litter education session for 18 lucky Year 3 Antonine College students. RMIT Scientist, Dr Kavitha Chinathamby, helped the students release plastic bottles fitted with GPS 'trackers'. The GPS-enabled plastic bottles to simulate litter that comes into Merri Creek, usually from street stormwater drains, and is subsequently washed into Port Phillip Bay. Each GPS-enabled device sends signals pinpointing its location at defined time intervals so the litter voyages can be tracked. You can track the Merri Creek bottles and other bottles in waterways around Melbourne HERE. All plastic bottles will be rounded up and removed at the end of the project.
The failure of a constructed waterway near Donnybrook Rd Mickelham was highlighted last year by Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) in our Muddy Merri Troubles Report. Behind the scenes, Melbourne Water have been working to rectify the problems exposed by this waterway. They recently provided a welcome update to MCMC on progress on this matter.
Melbourne Water have also acknowledged the widespread occurrence of problematic soils in the Kalkallo Creek sub-catchment of the upper Merri (west of the Hume Highway between Donnybrook Rd and Beveridge). They will require all future developers to address the issue of erosive/dispersive soils earlier in the planning/design process to avoid similar problems occurring.
Read more below for full comments from Melbourne Water and an outline of the rectification options.
Photo: Constructed section of Donnybrook Creek south of Donnybrook Rd, Mickelham, August 2018. The channel is eroding, rilling erosion can be seen under the jute matting (dark lines), the jute matting has been ripped apart by high flows, and the slopes above the jute matting are poorly stabilised and eroding.
Our President, Ann McGregor, photographed this Powerful Owl in a Peppercorn tree overlooking Merri Creek shared path in Fitzroy North, in May 2019. We believe this is the first time a Powerful Owl has been recorded along the Merri in the inner suburbs.
Please let us know of your own wildlife sightings along Merri Creek by using the reporting form on our website. A photo is of great help. All significant confirmed sightings are forwarded to appropriate databases such as the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.
Merri Creek Management Committee staff and visitors were amazed to see a Little Button Quail in the native grassland garden at the front of MCMC's office in East Brunswick on 18 January 2019 (photo left). This species is usually associated with more inland grasslands. Its presence, even only for a couple of days, clearly shows the value of planting indigenous plants in suburban gardens.
Around the same time in January a number of people reported hearing the distinctive call of a lone male Eastern Whipbird in nearby Merri Park, Northcote and across Merri Creek in Phillips Reserve south of Blyth St in Brunswick East. It was heard by the Friends of Merri Creek bird surveyers in mid February and was still calling in mid March. Whip Birds are usually associated with wet habitats, including rainforest, eucalypt forest and dense scrub near watercourses along the coastal band of Eastern Australia.