· Biomass reduction by grazing needs to be managed to enhance the range of grassland values, including rare plants, stony knolls and riparian verges.
The Craigieburn Grassland Interim Mangagement Statement, produced in 1998, includes much relevant information.
An area of approximately 100 ha of open space along and surrounding Merri Creek between Barry Road and Cooper Street including the 52.6 ha Cooper Street Grassland Reserve managed by Parks Victoria.
The Plains Grassland area is of national significance as habitat for two nationally significant species. The grassland was rated as having State (floral) significance (DCE 1990) and is one of the largest areas of relatively undisturbed native grasslands in the Melbourne area.
The Merri Creek and the River Red Gums along the escarpment are rated as State significance on the basis that the trees infrequently provide habitat for endangered species.
Cooper Street Grassland, together with Craigieburn Grassland and the link between, is listed on the Register of the National Estate (Australian Heritage Commission 1998). The listing was on the basis that the
Maintain intact riparian link upstream to Craigieburn Grassland and downstream to Barry Road Gorge.
DCE (1990) listed Cooper Street Grassland, as one of eight highly significant grasslands in the Melbourne area in private ownership. It recommended investigating its purchase by the government and reservation for conservation.
A small section (22 ha) was subsequently acquired by the state government as a Crown Land Reserve and is managed for conservation. A further 21 ha was added to the reserve in compensation for construction of the Craigieburn Bypass, and the Merri Creek frontage was transferred to Crown Land as part of a deal with the Istra Social Club which owned it as part of the title to their Clubroom area.
Approximately 40 ha of the grassland was lost in 2007-8 to industrial development.
At the southern end of the site there is a stream and floodway zone managed by Melbourne Water. In 2003 a group of wetlands were constructed on part of this site for stormwater treatment.
Strong consideration must be given to acquiring the creek frontage east side adjacent to the reserved land (and linking adjacent sites) from the private owners. In addition to protection of the important species and communities occurring there, and maintaining the habitat corridor - having control of the creek-line is important for protecting the reserved areas from incursions such as the infamous "Jerilderie Cattle Invasion of Merri Creek" of Nov 2002 - late April 2003. (Friends of Merri Creek 2003, p. 4-5)
There is less than 2% of Victoria’s original volcanic plains grasslands remaining. These grasslands are listed as critically endangered by the Federal Government.
This is why the Craigieburn Grassland Reserve is so important. The grassland covers approximately 400 hectares between Craigieburn Rd East and OHerns Rd in Melbourne's outer north. It contains Nationally Significant endangered plants such as the Matted Flax-lily Dianella amoena and Curly Sedge Carex tasmanica. The grassland is also home to Nationally significant fauna such as the Striped Legless Lizard, the Plains-wanderer and the Golden Sun Moth.
To visit the Craigieburn Grassland Reserve permission must first be obtained from Parks Victoria.
Golden Sun Moth
The Golden Sun Moth is a sun loving moth that is found in the Craigieburn Grassland. The moth was only rediscovered in this area in 2003. Individuals start emerging from their cocoons around mid-November and are rarely seen later than mid-February. They live out their short adult life span in only a few days. See the Golden Sun Moth Lifecycle.
This critically endandered animal has made a friend in the Friends of Merri Creek who have planted 7,500 small wallaby grasses in the Craigieburn Grassland Reserve. These wallaby grasses are the favoured food for the Golden Sun Moth caterpillar . The female is thought to lay her eggs in the base of the grasses.
The grasses also provide a playground for the mating dance, with the male moth patrolling the grasslands between 11am and 2pm on sunny days, flying rapidly about a metre above the grass searching for females to mate with while dodging predatory dragonflies and birds.
Females rarely fly. They sit on the ground and flash their brilliantly coloured wings of metallic gold to attract the male (photo above: female Golden Sun Moth).
The Friends of Merri Creek and Merri Creek Management Committee have undertaken surveys of this critically endangered species. See this detailed report on the Golden Sun Moth surveys (pdf).
More detail on the Craigieburn Grasslands can be found here.
Craigieburn Grasslands is made up of Plains Grassland, Grassy Wetland, Stony Knoll Grasslands and Escaprment Shrublands
The Plains Wanderer is a small, rare ground-dwelling bird found in lowland grasslands, such as Craigieburn Grassland.
Moomba Park consists of approximately 30 hectatres of open space on the western side of Merri Creek, in Fawkner.
The park was the site of Merri Creek Managment Committee’s bicentennial (1988) planting project at which many thousands of indigenous trees and shrubs were planted in hundreds of plots across the landscape.
These plots now provide, extensive woodland habitat across the landscape, supporting woodland birds and animals such as the Crested Shrike-tit and visiting Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.
Moomba Park in 1988 – Bicentennial planting site
Moomba Park is now a valuable habitat site (photo from 2006)
However this site is still under threat from patches of un-managed land within the park which harbour weeds such as blackkberry and pest animals such as rabbits that threaten existing native remnants and revegetation plantings.
The Fawkner and the Reservoir communities that surround the Merri Creek in Moomba Park are notable for being a community with a highly diverse ethnic background, including a high proportion of recently arrived migrants. Moomba Park Primary School has also been engaged in many environmental activities at this site.
To find out about the geology of this site click here.
Galada Tamboore is part of Kulin land for which the Wurundjeri, the traditional owners, are custodians. It is about 15km north of Melbourne’s CBD. The Wurundjeri named the area Galada Tamboore meaning ‘creek waterhole’.
Merri Creek runs through Galada Tamboore with the suburb of Campbellfield to the west and Thomastown to the east. A large part of Galada’s nearly 100 hectares is managed by Melbourne Water. Hume Council and Whittlesea Council own adjacent land. Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) helps with management. An important area of grassland will soon be managed by Parks Victoria.
The landscape was formed by volcanic eruptions over millions of years. The resulting lava flows shaped the course of Merri Creek and formed the impressive basalt escarpments that are found along the creek valley. Merri Merri means ‘very rocky’ in the language of the Wurundjeri.
Find out more about the geology of Galada Tamboore
Environmental impactsThere is a stormwater drain outlet in Galada Tamboore that
is full of litter and weeds. How does it get there?
Rubbish gets to Galada Tamboore from schools, parks and
the streets when it rains and the water washes the litter
into Merri Creek via stormwater drains.
How many types of litter can you find in this picture?
Exotic weeds such as Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Soursob (Oxalis pes-caprae) invade Galada Tamboore and threaten indigenous plants.
A Rich Land
Galada Tamboore has been a significant site for many thousands of years. The locals created tools near Merri Creek whilst looking out across the grasslands. Tool fragment scatterings from this work make up twelve sites considered to be archaeologically significant. These important sites also include scar trees, from which bowls and sometimes canoes were cut.
Current land use
Galada Tamboore is surrounded by urban and industrial development. Lack of knowledge about the environmental significance of Galada Tamboore has led to its use as a dumping ground for garden and building waste.
Merri Creek Management Committee and Friends of the Merri Creek have been working towards regenerating Galada Tamboore. This includes planting indigenous species, weeding and ecological burns.
Life at Galada Tamboore
Habitat for significant fauna
Escarpment cliffs are valuable habitat to many reptiles as well as birds of prey such as kites, kestrels, falcons and eagles which enjoy the soaring updrafts.
The north-facing slopes of the grasslands are warm and full of insects and therefore a great hunting ground for insect eating birds.
Within the creek there is an ever changing waterbug life including dragonfly nymphs, caddisfly larvae, freshwater shrimp and needle bugs (pictured). The needle-bug has a stick-like body and a tail that acts like a snorkel.
Find out more about Galada Tamboore.
The changing fortunes of Merri Creek come alive in a new series of displays that demonstrate how far we’ve come in restoring the creek. Images from Merri Creek Management Committee’s treasure trove of records contrast the different eras of the Merri corridor.
If you weren’t around twenty years ago you’ll be surprised at how much the landscape of the Merri has changed since the 1980’s. You can help play a role in its future.