Newsletter of the Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC)
Purchase our unique Merri Christmas greeting cards and help protect the Merri catchment and provide a lasting benefit for the community (one card for $10 or five cards for $25). The card features the Spotted Pardalote, one of Australia's smallest birds and one of the many inhabitants of the Merri Creek bushland. Its numbers have increased thanks to the revegetation carried out by Merri Creek Management Committee, Friends of Merri Creek, local Councils, and hundreds of community volunteers. See order form here.
A wildlife garden puts us in touch with the natural seasons of our land. "True Spring" in the Six Seasons Calendar (the last several weeks of "winter") is marked by the opening of many kinds of wildflowers and arrivals of migratory birds. This forms an extended spring-like season that precedes the burst of flowering, insect activity and birdsong in September and October. All this occurs in MCMC's own front garden in East Brunswick - see the pdf article (a modified version of which first appeared in the Friends of Merri Creek newsletter, Merri Growler, November 2017).
Has thirty years of restoration of the Merri Creek made a difference? Woodland birds think so! Friends of Merri Creek quarterly birdwatch data give us a wildlife ‘census’ at the Merri Creek woodlands in Fawkner and Reservoir. These woodland have expanded by thirty hectares in thirty years. Up to 33 woodland birds now use the tree canopy, understorey shrubs, native groundcover and sparse leaf-litter strewn ground.
MCMC led two nights of frog discovery along Edgars Creek and the Edwardes Lake wetland in Reservoir in October and November. The excursions included educational games such as a frog quiz, waterbug discovery and frog bingo. In total 40 participants heard 11 frogs calling from two local species: the Pobblebonk and the Common Eastern Froglet. All frog calls were recorded as part of Melbourne Water's citizen science Frog Census and uploaded via the Frog Census app.
Moreland Council has joined the community in calling for a parcel of VicRoads land by Merri Creek in Fawkner to be retained as public open space. The land is zoned Public Park & Recreation Zone (PPRZ) and is actively used by the community and wildlife. VicRoads has declared the land 'surplus' to its requirements; the majority of the land is headed for a rezoning before it is sold for residential development. Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) is calling on the state government to show leadership to protect the land, a vital part of the Merri Creek corridor.
For the past two years, Melbourne Water and MCMC's Waterwatch program have been training keen community members to collect and identify waterbugs in order to assess the health of Merri Creek. This citizen science project, which is open to anyone, helps provide a picture of the comparative health of Merri Creek and a basis for future actions to improve the condition of the waterway. In 2017 MCMC ran five waterbug sampling and identification sessions. The results showed that the lower, urbanised reaches of the Merri Creek only support waterbugs that are tolerant of pollution. Things are a little better in the upper reaches north of Epping where some of the sensitive waterbugs, less tolerant of pollution, are found (See table of waterbug pollution sensitivity in Read More section).
The 49 flora and fauna sightings recorded by MCMC staff or reported to us by the community between October 2016 and end of September 2017 hint at habitat improvements along Merri Creek. They also document the discovery of previously overlooked species and verify the results of conservation efforts.
MCMC is delighted to have received four grants to continue our ongoing ecological restoration and community engagement activities on the Merri. These grants include a partnership project with the Wurundjeri Tribe Council at the Merri-Yarra confluence, a project to renovate mature revegetation in East Brunswick by reducing overland erosion and introducing more appropriate understorey species, a project to improvie the quality and resilience of revegetated Streambank Shrubland in Northcote, and a project that will extend and build the resilience of recent restoration work in Fawkner.
Congratulations to the Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC) for their success in gaining the three new innovative grants. These projects will help to improve the environs of Merri Creek and tributaries, and will connect community to local nature in tangible ways. FoMC acknowledges the critical support of MCMC in preparing the project plans and grant applications. MCMC and the Friends will work together to deliver these exciting projects.
The heavy rain from Friday 1st to Monday 4th December brought floods to many parts of Victoria and although Merri Creek wasn't badly hit, the creek was still high and flowing fast - as shown in this photo looking upstream from Blyth St, Brunswick East on Saturday 2nd December. As is now usual following high flow events in the Merri catchment, the creek turned a distinct muddy colour and has carried lots of litter downstream.
|01 Feb 2018;|
06:00PM - 07:30PM
Wetland Walk and Talk in Darebin
|04 Feb 2018;|
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Litter Clean Up – Nth Fitzroy (Friends of Merri Creek)
|04 Feb 2018;|
02:00PM - 03:30PM
Streamteam Water Quality Testing (Friends of Merri Creek)
|18 Feb 2018;|
08:45AM - 10:30AM
Friends of Merri Creek Bird Survey 1 for 2018
|25 Feb 2018;|
08:45AM - 10:30AM
Friends of Merri Creek Bird Survey 1 for 2018 (continued)
|03 Mar 2018;|
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Friends of Merri Park Litter Clean-up