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)