Merri Creek Management Committee

Family group at Lorne StOur sincere thanks to the 54 donors to the  Merri Creek Environment Fund 2016 Appeal who helped raise $11,350 for ongoing projects to improve the Merri. You can still donate to the Appeal.
Donations to the 2015 Appeal funded the recent Planting up the Gap community event on the Merri near Lorne St Fawkner on Sunday 14 August. An enthusiastic group enjoyed glorious weather while planting 450 indigenous grasses and shrubs to help bridge the habitat gap.
Our thanks also to our first Good2Give donor. This is a work place giving organisation which enables employees to make pre-tax donations to registered charities, such as MCMC, direct from their pay. Registered employers then match the employee donations.  Is your workplace a member of Good2Give?

Lakeside College landA big thanks to the Darebin City Council, which has decided to buy the approximately 1.8ha of Merri Creek frontage abutting the former Lakeside Secondary College. An offer of  $270,000 will be made to the Victorian Education Department for the land. This is a great win for the environment as now the land, which includes Critically Endangered indigenous vegetation will be secure as public open space cared for by Darebin Council. This land forms part of the Merri habitat corridor as well as the Merri Shared Path. Thanks also to the many community members who agitated strongly for this.

Brunswick North Primary School June 2016A $200,000 partnership project Melbourne’s Water – Proactive from Brunswick coordinated by Merri Creek Management Committee in partnership with Brunswick North West Primary School is complete. Funded by a grant from the Victorian Government, the project inspired the school community to go above and beyond the project’s goals. This included new plans to manage water flows at school and the production of a film to celebrate the process of creating their new indigenous habitat garden. Created on a flood-prone area above the long buried Melville Creek, the new area is proudly celebrated in Woiwurrung language as Yakai Barring,  meaning ‘surprise track’.

NAIDOC ASGDuring NAIDOC Week 2016, Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Dave Wandin joined Merri Creek Management Committee’s Angela Foley to give a presentation to the Science Group of the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, and to share stories about how MCMC and the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation & Cultural Heritage Council work together.

Planting - Queens Lodge July 2016During July, MCMC helped residents of Queen’s Lodge in Lalor to transform a weedy down trodden area into a new lively indigenous garden at their doorstep. The project, coordinated by Arts Access Victoria, includes glass mosaics, landscape design, and earthworks. MCMC’s role was supported by recurrent funding from City of Whittlesea.

PascoeValeGirls in Fawkner with Bikes in RainYear 10 Outdoor and Environmental Studies students from Pascoe Vale Girls Secondary College braved blustery winter conditions, cycling from school to Merri Creek in Fawkner, to join MCMC staff inn exploring habitat values and contributing some hands on work to revegetation. This was part of MCMC's Habitat Heroes project, generously funded by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust.

After the the excursion, student Tarryn Clancy wrote to us:

“On Friday 17th June, the girls from Pascoe Vale Girls’, Outdoor Environmental Studies class had the opportunity to learn about the environment along Merri creek. We took the opportunity to prepare for our next bike riding camp and rode to and from the Merri creek where we met the wonderful staff from the Merri Creek Management Committee.
While planting native plants, we discussed the effects different plants and animals have on the environment.
The Merri Creek team were kind enough to teach us the effects we are having on the land. We were also able to learn how to test the clarity of water and what it means when the water in our creeks, streams and rivers are not clear.  We also learnt how to properly plant trees and when the right time was to let them grow out without the protective guards around them. We now know how to make sure that we always have healthy outdoor environments like the Merri Creek because they are so important to Australian food webs and ecosystems.
It was a very special day and even though it rained on us, we all learned so much. We would like to say a big thank you to the Merri Creek Management Committee for your teaching us the importance of maintaining different ecosystems and making the day fun and interesting."

Our sincere thanks to the students for their enthusiastic assistance.

We are enormously grateful to have received a substantial grant from The Myer Foundation’s Sustainability and Environment Capacity Building Stream 2016. This will enable us to undertake much needed strategic and organisational planning to continue building on our achievements and ensure we remain viable and vibrant.

We have secured two Corridors of Green grants from Melbourne Water. One is for weed control and revegetation to encourage the regeneration of Escarpment Shrubland and Streambank Shrubland along Kalkallo and Merri Creeks at Laffan Reserve, south of Kalkallo. The other is to replace weedy vegetation with competitive revegetation to achieve a continuous 3.3 km stretch of managed indigenous vegetation on the west bank of the Merri Creek in Fawkner. These projects will be rolled out between July 2016 and December 2017. (June 2016)

We feared the polluted fire-water runoff generated from an industrial waste fire in Somerton in late 2015 would have a terminal impact on nearby populations of endangered Growling Grass Frogs in Merri Creek. Thankfully this is not the case. A report by Growling Grass Frog expert Dr Geoff Heard confirms the frogs have persisted and successfully reproduced at three sites downstream from the tip fire site. It’s even possible the frogs benefited because the deoxygenated fire-runoff killed formerly wide-spread European Carp and Redfin Perch, both predators of frog eggs and tadpoles.
It’s also possible the massive effort by Melbourne Water to pump fresh water into Merri Creek during and after the fire may have helped the frogs.  
Unfortunately the wider picture for the Growling Grass Frog in the middle reaches of Merri Creek is much less rosy. Of an average of 12 sites occupied by Growling Grass Frogs for ten years up to 2012, only 6 were occupied in 2015-16 and of these 6 sites, 3 sites recorded only a single frog. (June 2016)

Plains Yam Daisy in cageMCMC has cracked some of the Plains Yam Daisy’s ‘lifecycle code’, expanded its Merri Creek populations and prepared the way for others to follow.
We learnt that on the Merri Creek:
•    plants go dormant during late summer dry periods and regrow rapidly following fires and autumn rains;
•    flowers and seed are mainly produced in autumn with a second flowering peak in early summer;
•    plants are generally short lived in cultivation but appear to have an indefinite lifespan in the wild; and
•    seedlings germinate rapidly following autumn rains when they are vulnerable to slugs and trampling by kangaroos but that copper tape barriers and chicken wire cages are an effective protection.

Download the full details here.

Some people listening to Bill NicholsonThe Sumner Loving project has worked hard to engage the community over two years of many diverse events and activities. Irena Cassettari has now stepped forward to coordinate the new Friends of Merri Park group (as a sub-group of Friends of Merri Creek) for 2016 and has kicked off her role at the Merri Magical Morning event on 21 Feb by meeting up with many friends and families connecting with this gorgeous creekside area. This event was extremely well attended and people enjoyed the Welcome to Country from Uncle Bill Nicholson, the Djirri djirri Dancers, the butterfly tent, the tour of Merri Park Wetland, and twining toys from local grasses. Irena will lead the Clean Up Australia Day event in Northcote on 6 March supported by MCMC. Please join us and register at: http://www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/Merri+Park

Merri Events Calendar

04 Mar 2017;
01:00PM - 03:00PM
MECCARG Site Maintenance

05 Mar 2017;
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Merri Magical Gum Morning

05 Mar 2017;
12:00PM - 07:00PM
Sydney Road Street Party

05 Mar 2017;
02:00PM - 03:30PM
Streamteam Water Quality Testing (Friends of Merri Creek)

12 Mar 2017;
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Litter Clean Up – North Coburg (Friends of Merri Creek)

19 Mar 2017;
10:00AM - 12:30PM
1st of 6 Woody Weed Whacking at Bababi Marning (Friends of Merri Creek)