Merri Creek Management Committee

Fireweed at Galada TambooreSaltmarsh is most often associated with coastlines, but the Merri Creek in Campbellfield and Thomastown supports some unusual vegetation dominated by salt-tolerant indigenous species. At Galada Tamboore the Merri Creek gorge has exposed ancient sediments, buried when volcanoes erupted along the Merri several million years ago. Where the lava flows and the more ancient sediments meet, naturally saline spring-water wells from the escarpment and saltmarsh plants have gained a foothold. 

In order to conserve these special ecosystems, Friends of Merri Creek has secured a $20,000 Melbourne Water Community Grant. Working with Wurundjeri Land Council and community, the project will map, protect and enhance this rare vegetation, and restore endangered shrublands along the adjoining escarpments. The Friends have contracted MCMC to deliver the project, which will run until June 2020.

Photo above: Fireweed Groundsel, Senecio linearifolius, in a vertical saltmarsh at Galada Tamboore.

 

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Merri Creek Management Committee's (MCMC) ecological restoration work was recognised in a recent award presented by Melbourne Water. The Exceptional Contribution Award was in recognition of MCMC's efforts to improve riparian condition through the River Health Incentives Program.

Ryan van den Hove, a Waterway and Land Officer with Melbourne Water, said it was a pleasure to present MCMC with this award that acknowledges Melbourne Water’s appreciation for the successful, high quality projects delivered by MCMC during the group's long history participating in the program.

Red browed FinchMerri Creek Management Committee has been awarded a $17,905 Community Grant from Melbourne Water to diversify habitat structure and promote bird habitat in the vicinity of Phillips Reserve and Kirkdale Park, Brunswick East. There are many gorgeous birds that feed, play and nest along this stretch of the creek including sociable Red-Browed Firetail Finches (photo) which require habitat with a dense understorey. The grant will fund the planting of 700 understorey plants and shrubs across the sites with the help of the community, as well as weed control in the preliminary stages and whilst the plants are establishing.

You can help with the planting on 14 July at Phillips Reserve, Brunswick East.  Subscribe to our events notification emails for details of this and other events.

World Wetlands Day Darebin 2019Merri Creek Management Committee and the City of Darebin celebrated World Wetlands Day 2019 with a walk and talk event at Edwardes Lake and the Edgars Creek wetlands in Reservoir on 31st January. The 25 participants learned about the benefits of wetlands in reducing stormwater pollution, as important habitat for local bird, aquatic and macroinvertebate species and their role in helping our local environments become more resilient to climate change. They looked for frogs, wetland birds and waterbugs, tested the salinity levels and the muddiness of Edgars Creek and learned more about what the collected Waterwatch water quality data is saying about the health of Edgars Creek and Edwardes Lake.

BEST group pic NarrapLunch 141218In mid-December the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation & Cultural Heritage Council’s Narrap (Land Management) Team hosted a lunch at the confluence of the Merri Creek and the Yarra River. A Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Uncle Dave Wandin provided a rich cultural context for the 23 participants.

During his Welcome to Country, Uncle Dave Wandin stood before the three eucalypts that were scarred by representatives of the Wandin, Terrick and Nevin Wurundjeri families in September 2016. He spoke about how the Narrap Team had developed from a base of two lawn mowers, a brush cutter and no depot. Narrap Team’s new manager, Sean Hunter, spoke about the strong future for the team with four trainees now working towards their Certificate IV in Conservation and Land Management.

litter clean up communityWould you like to do something about the litter that gathers along the Edgars and Merri Creeks after rainfall? In 2018, twenty-nine volunteer cleanup events were held (that we know of) with 350 people contributing to this massive effort. In 2019 we are hoping for even more.

Friends of Merri Creek encourages community litter cleanups on creeks in the Merri catchment, but wants to make sure that this is done safely. See Friends of Merri Creek community litter collections page. The Friends also need your help to collect information on the type and amount of litter entering the creeks, with the aim of tracing it to its source and planning to prevent further litter from reaching the creeks. 

Waterwatch 30 years celebrationIt was boiling hot, then thundered with rain on the evening of 30 January, but nevertheless 30 participants enjoyed  learning about the local ecology and pollution issues of Edgars Creek at Creeds Farm Living and Learning Centre in Epping North, while celebrating 25 years of Waterwatch in Victoria.

The event, Our home, our nearby nature around Edgars Creek, organised by the Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC), featured activities for the kids, including skin art of the local animals that live in Edgars Creek, looking at live waterbugs and meeting a Spotted Marsh Frog. Participants enjoyed the a chance to network and the delicious food supplied by the City of Whittlesea.

Katrina Roberg head shotBrian 2017Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) recently farewelled two of our longest-serving staff members.

In January 2019, Katrina Roberg (right) resigned from her position as Manager of our Ecological Restoration Program (formerly Parkland Management Program) after 13 years.  A month earlier, Brian Bainbridge (left) said farewell after 21 years with MCMC. He resigned from his substantive position as Ecological Restoration Planner in early 2018 but stayed on for the rest of the year for one day per week. 

Little Button Quail 18 01 19Merri 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.

IMG 2167Even though it’s been raining a lot lately, being out in nature doesn’t need to be a washout. Young families proved this when heavy rain fell at MCMC's most recent Nature Play event at Hall Reserve in Clifton Hill on late November. Parents and children came in their gumboots and raincoats, umbrellas in hand, and had a great time stomping in puddles, checking the high water level in the Merri Creek, spotting Tawny frogmouths and Kookaburras, collecting waterbugs and insects and meeting a local Spotted Marsh Frog.
The bushland at Hall Reserve is really taking off and providing important habitat to local birds, reptiles and frogs.

Merri Events Calendar

24 Apr 2019;
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Wednesday volunteers - Re-scheduled to 1/5

26 Apr 2019;
06:30PM - 07:30PM
Frogs of Fawkner

28 Apr 2019;
10:00AM - 12:30PM
Woody Weed Whacking, Bababi Marning #1 in 2019 - Campbellfield - Friends of Merri Creek

30 Apr 2019;
06:30PM - 07:30PM
What frogs live in Lalor?

01 May 2019;
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Wednesday Volunteers - Friends of Merri Creek

04 May 2019;
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Friends of Merri Park Litter Clean-up – Northcote