Citizen Science is a phrase that’s bandied about a lot at the moment. You might think it’s a new activity but it's not. Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) has been at the forefront of citizen science water quality monitoring. As early as 1992 we initiated a citizen science program that involved local schools in water quality monitoring of Merri Creek.
By 2017/18 MCMC's Waterwatch program had consolidated to support 30 volunteer monitors at 15 regular monitoring sites. In 2017/18 we also educated around 2,000 students at more than 20 educational organisations (from early years up to tertiary level) on waterway health. The data from our monitoring sites is lodged via the Waterwatch Victoria online data portal and is used by EPA Victoria for their Annual Report card of waterway health.
In contrast to the good news that Moreland Council is buying land for the Merri Creek corridor, it's hugely disappointing to report that Melbourne Water is planning to sell off Merri Creek land, land designated part of the Merri Creek Marran Baba Parklands. This 'surplus' land, at the rear of an industrial property in Trawalla Ave, Thomastown, is part of an original floodplain reserve owned by Melbourne Water. Over a number of years it was improperly occupied, filled and built on by the adjacent landowners, previous and current. Despite its modified conditon there is no reason it can't be ecologically restored, as has been achieved for many formerly degraded areas along Merri Creek.
Aitken Creek in Craigieburn was a hive of activity as Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) helped to implement the ‘Aitken Creek’s Living Pathways’ project in 2018. This Friends of Merri Creek project has established pathways for blue banded bees to pollinate endangered Matted Flax Lilys. We invite you to learn about and help take care of this magnificent tributary of Merri Creek habitat corridor. You can use the new interactive on line map to tour the creek from home. View the map in the browser on any web-connected device. Or download the mobile app from the Google Play Store with your Android device.
Timely action by Moreland Council has saved two critical parcels of land next to Merri Creek from residential development. Excellent campaigns from the local community, Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC), Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) and in Fawkner, the Fawkner Residents Association led to this result.
Council negotiated a successful offer for a parcel of VicRoads land at McBryde St Fawkner. This significant piece of land abuts Merri Creek and has been an effective part of the open space corridor for many years. Council also made a successful purchase on the open market of a prominent block of private land at 2 Spry St Coburg North, next to the Merri Creek Trail and Merri Creek.
In May we reported on a major turbidity event in Merri Creek in our Muddy Merri Troubles article. The intense yellow colour of Merri Creek generated high levels of community concern. A month later, in mid-June, the same thing happened again. This time we decided to measure the actual turbidity levels of Merri Creek in Brunswick East and to take photos of the creek. You can read the detailed results of our investigation below or download the full report as a pdf.
In brief we found: (1) At its peak the turbidity was 500 NTU. This is higher than any other level recorded in the lower reaches of Merri Creek over the last 18 years. (2) It took 15 days of steady decline for the turbidity to drop to an acceptable level of less than 20 NTU. (3) Visually, Merri Creek was perceived as 'very muddy' for 14 days.