Sixteen participants enjoyed exploring nocturnal nature at the Alphington wetlands in late December 2019, with the help of staff from the Merri Creek Managament Committe and the City of Yarra. The wetlands are nestled beside the Yarra River in Alphington.
Participants learned to recognise local frogs by their calls and collected data using the Melbourne Water Frog Census app. The highlight of the evening was hearing at least three Peron’s tree frogs (Litoria peronii) calling from the wetlands The last time Peron’s tree frog was recorded in the City of Yarra was more than 25 years ago, in 1994. (photo at right by Craig Lupton, City of Yarra).
Check out Merri Creek Management Committee's recent achievements by reading our latest Annual Report. Here's a few snapshots for the year:
Each year World Wetlands Day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Ramsar Convention in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.
This year MCMC joined forces with the Friends of Merri Park for a wetland walk, talk and litter clean up at the beautiful Merri Park wetland in Northcote. This wetland, which has Water Sensitive Urban Design features, was developed in 1999, after almost two decades of community advocacy and planning, led by MCMC, with Melbourne Water and the City of Darebin as key partners.
Federal Communities Environment Program: At very short notice we helped prepare eight Expressions of Interest for this grant program, in close consultation with Friends of Merri Creek and Wallan Environment Group. Seven of these applications were successful and the funded projects have been confirmed (details below). We are very appreciative of the support shown for Merri Creek restoration by our local federal MPs.
Hume City Council Community Partnership Grant: We are delighted to have a $10,000 grant for the first year of A Little Nature Play in Hume. The three-year project will enable Merri Creek Management Committee staff to support and lead outdoor nature play in the City of Hume. Funding for the second and third years is contingent on the success of the first year.
The first activity of MCMC's Upper Merri Sodic & Erosive Soils Working Group kicked off with a special presentation by eminent soil scientist Dr Robert van de Graaff in October. Dr van de Graaff explained that due to the geological and climate history of the Merri Creek catchment, most soils in the catchment are sodic and thus highly susceptible to erosion. These soils present major challenges for urban development and until now have been largely overlooked. Detailed mapping of the soils and assessment of the degree of risk they pose is sorely needed. Dr van de Graaff's presentation is here (8.8MB pdf).
Photo: The muddy Merri (foreground), thick with sediment from sodic soils in the upper catchment, meets the Yarra, June 2018 © Katrina Roberg
We applaud Moreland Council's initiative in purchasing Merri Creek open space at 1-17 Leonard St, and 154-156 McBryde St Fawkner from the State Government. This 0.7 hectare site includes part of the Merri Creek Trail and contains a precious remnant of the critically endangered Victorian Volcanic Plains Grassland plant community. The McBryde St frontage makes a good local entry point to the Merri Trail and parklands and has potential to be much enhanced. In the vicinity are ideal areas for bush kinder visits and general nature play. More details on the site and its values are here.
The Friends of Merri Creek will help restore the native grassland at this site with their recently awarded grant from the Federal Communities Environment Program.
More than 30 happy participants made dioramas showing the habitat requirements of Melbourne’s frogs in an activity led by Merri Creek Management Committee community engagement staff. The activity was a 2019 Fun Palace event, held at at Lalor Library in October.
Fun Palaces is a global annual event held every October celebrating the culture at the heart of our communities. Fun Palaces invite local people along to share their passions and expertise with others in the community. Activities are free, creative, interactive and lots of fun!
Congratulations to the Reservoir Frogs Group and the Merri Creek at Northcote/Brunswick East Waterwatch Group for being nominated in the Sustainability category of the City of Darebin community awards. Both groups are supported by the Merri Creek Management Committee. This year there were more than 50 nominations, so the competition was tight.
Although neither group won in the category, Toni, the leader of the Merri Creek Waterwatch group in Northcote/Brunswick East commented "It was a thrill being nominated and I just wanted to share the acknowledgment with everyone in our group, as it’s a 100% team effort and I’m so lucky it’s such a wonderful group."
We have converted some unused space in our backyard at 2 Lee St Brunswick East into a Seed Production Area (SPA). Victorian Indigenous Nurseries Cooperative (VINC) kindly provided the plants which were installed into rows of drip-watered beds in mid-July 2019. The SPA will help ensure a steady supply of Merri-provenance seed is available for propagation by VINC, and for direct sowing by Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) into the Merri Creek grasslands.
The promise of a new Upper Merri Park linked to a Wallan Regional Park along the Merri is coming closer to reality. Both are critical parts of the Greater Wallan-Merri Park concept, a 2016 joint initiative of MCMC, Friends of Merri Creek and Wallan Environment Group to create A living landscape for a liveable Melbourne.
The Upper Merri Park is one of five new 'suburban' parks the State Government has committeed to. A feasibility study for the Wallan Regional Park is also commencing. The park boundaries will be determined through consultation with stakeholders and community.
MCMC had a very positive first meeting with the DEWLP project officers for the Upper Merri Park in mid-July - see below for key steps and time-lines for the park development process.