Newsletter of the Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC)
Check out Merri Creek Management Committee's 2017 achievements by reading our latest Annual Report. In summary we:
Could you be a foster-carer to a new generation of the Merri's wildflowers? The Friends of Merri Creek's Secret Seven project is seeking committed individuals with a green thumb to help increase the seed supply of some local rare plants. In 2018- 19 volunteers will be sought to tend plants that will produce seed for reintroduction into the Merri environs.
How does it work? Seven locally rare plant species will have ‘Seed Production Area' (SPA) populations established from cuttings and seeds sourced from the last survivors on the Merri and nearby. Some of these SPAs will be in the ground near the Merri Creek, others will be maintained by nurseries, and some by the Joe’s Garden team at CERES. These precious plants will be pampered and carefully tended to maximise production of seeds which can then be used to expand the population of these plants in secure reserves near the Merri. Some species are suitable for growing in containers. We believe volunteers (like you?) can make good foster-carers for these growing seed banks.
MCMC recently completed two 18-month projects along the Merri’s middle reaches, both funded through Melbourne Water grants. The Loving Laffan project saw MCMC take on the Weed of National Significance, Gorse (Ulex europeaus), along a one kilometre stretch of Merri Creek south of Laffan Reserve in Craigieburn North. Dense infestations were controlled along several hectares of endangered Escarpment Shrubland vegetation. The planting of 200 indigenous shrubs restored some of the habitat values that had been provided by the Gorse. Hume City Council’s Bushland Management Team assisted MCMC staff in this physically demanding task. During this work we discovered a previously unrecorded population of the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth and a population of Emu Foot (Cullex tenax), an endangered pea not seen locally in over a decade.
The second project Merri Models saw MCMC restore endangered Creekline Tussock Grassland at Craigieburn’s Rushwood Drive Reserve.
Inside: Led by MCMC staff, about 20 families got out of the January heatwave and into the cool of the Brunswick Library for the little kids to look at different local plants and make monoprints with them. Our Merri Creek Catchment Map helped everyone think more about where we are and how we're connected.
Outside: On another day, another place, we went out exploring the new wetland near the confluence of the Merri and Edgars Creeks in Coburg with members of Moreland Rotary. It was fantastic to stroll in the shade of the gum trees, walk around the wetland and enjoy the gorgeous habitat. The engineering is hidden, but it is great for us all to consider how this haven intercepts and treats polluted urban stormwater before it gets to our local creeks.
MCMC has kept a record book of flora and fauna sightings since 1997 with our own staff being key contributors to this. The current (third) volume began in 2004 and is almost full. These records are useful when reviewing the success of restoration in providing habitat. They can reveal whether wildlife is just passing through or whether it is significantly supported by the landscape. Some of the detailed notes from Spring and Summer 2017 provide valuable insights to this process.
In response to a call out for new volunteers in January, four eager participants joined MCMC to test water quality in Merri Creek in Northcote/Brunswick. The volunteers completed a full suite of water testing for nutrients, dissolved oxygen, sediment, pH and salinity. This site is sampled monthly to get an accurate idea of its water quality, but more volunteers are needed for the group. If you're interested, contact MCMC's Waterwatch Coordinator: JuliaCirillo@mcmc.org.au.au or phone 9380 8199. Thank you to Darebin and Moreland Councils for supporting this group and the event.
To celebrate 2018 World Wetland Day, MCMC led 19 participants on a walk and talk around the picturesque Edwardes Lake in Reservoir on 1st February. This year’s theme was Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future and Edwardes Lake, Edgars Creek and associated wetlands were a very appropriate locale (see why below). Attendees learnt about water quality testing, the current ecological health of the waterbodies and how the wetlands and Gross Pollution Traps (GPTs) help improve water quality. They also got to see a local Spotted Marsh Frog.
MCMC congratulates Friends of Merri Creek for obtaining a $23,242 Community Grant from Port Phillip & Western Port Catchment Management Authority to control the highly invasive South African Weed Orchid (Disa bracteata). The grant will support Friends of Merri Creek’s fledgling Special Weed Orchid Terminator volunteers to continue their weed control work. Along with MCMC staff expertise, the Darebin Council's Green Army team’s enthusiasm, and the methodical surveys of volunteer Andrew Kuhlmann, SWOT systematically searched 80% of Ngarri-djarrang grassland in 2017, and removed over 1,500 Weed Orchids.
After almost 21 years, Brian Bainbridge, MCMC's Ecological Restoration Planner, has left us for a position as Biodiversity Officer with Hepburn Shire Council. This move enables Brian to work closer to where he now lives. Brian has amazing skills in identifying fauna and flora and is excellent at planning, analysing and communicating ecological restoration projects. He has discovered a number of rare species at Merri Creek sites, including Golden Sun Moths. However we haven't lost Brian's valuable contribution altogether as he's still working for us one day a week, helping out with a hand-over to Michael Longmore.
If you would like to help protect Merri Creek beyond your lifetime, please consider making a gift in your will to Merri Creek Management Committee. Your gift, large or small, will fund important projects which may not otherwise be possible.
We have an activity for you!
We have lots of activities coming up and there's bound to be something that suits you. We've got a bike ride, nature plays, weedings, talks, litter clean-ups and bird surveys. Just check out our calendar, or if you would like to be notified about events along Merri Creek, sign up here. You can sign up to receive email notices for all events, for events in a specific area, or for certain types of events.
|25 Mar 2018;|
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Friends of Merri Park Hand Weeding
|25 Mar 2018;|
11:00AM - 04:00PM
Waterwatch stall at the Darebin Community & Kite Festival
|01 Apr 2018;|
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Easter Litter Clean Up – Coburg - Friends of Merri Creek
|01 Apr 2018;|
02:00PM - 03:30PM
Streamteam Water Quality Testing - Friends of Merri Creek
|07 Apr 2018;|
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Friends of Merri Park Litter Clean-up
|08 Apr 2018;|
10:00AM - 01:00PM
Wetland to Wetland Bike Ride (MCMC)