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Swamp Wallabies, Wood Ducks, microbats, platypuses and pardalotes are among the many animals that are set to benefit from the recent awarding of over $800,000 in grant funding for four Merri community groups: Merri Creek Management Committee (with Friends of Merri Creek), Friends of Edwardes Lake, Merri-bek Council (with Friends of Edgars Creek) and the Wollert Community Farm.

“We are thrilled that the Victorian Government has recognised the incredible value that one of the best-loved creeks in Melbourne’s north gives to people and creatures alike,” said Merri Creek Management Committee Executive Officer Bernadette Thomas.

Minister for Water, Regional Development, and Equality Harriet Shing MP, announced the funding in March 2024, part of a $10 million investment to “improve habitat, water quality, and provide cool green spaces for communities around our urban creeks, rivers and waterways.”

Merri Creek Management Committee will use the funding to focus on a four-kilometre stretch of the Merri Creek between Coburg and Northcote to create fenced, densely planted refuge areas that will provide safety and shelter for urban populations of Swamp Wallabies and small insectivorous woodland birds. Over 17,000 mid-storey shrubs, grasses and herbs will be planted at strategic locations to improve habitat connectivity.

Michael Longmore, Manager of MCMC’s Ecological Restoration Team, is delighted that the value of local communities working together was also recognised by the funding of our partner organisations Friends of Edwardes Lake and Merri-bek Council.

“It’s so important that we work together across different jurisdictions,” says Michael. “The animals that we all love to see as we walk along the Merri Creek don’t know anything about where one Council’s boundary stops and another begins. They just care about how they’re going to move between food sources, or which trees are available to rest in on their journey to warmer climates.”
It’s the reason that Merri Creek Management Committee works so closely with councils and volunteer groups.

PardaloteKate Jost, Friends of Edwardes Lake President, said “This funding will help us create habitat at Edwardes Lake, Edgars Creek Wetlands and Edgars Creek in Reservoir between Broadhurst and Glasglow Avenue. The funding will allow us to restore over 9,000 m2 of creekline by removing weeds; planting over 20,000 indigenous plants; installing 30 nesting boxes and two habitat logs for native turtles; and an education sign about the Common Long-necked Turtle, featuring illustrations by Carly Al-tree Williams, a local biodiversity artist.”

Merri-bek Council’s Natural Resource Management Officer, Vince Andreana was also delighted with the grant Merri-bek received, which will allow the Council in collaboration with the Friends of Edgars Creek to improve riparian habitat for reptiles including the Tussock Skink, Endangered in Victoria, by encouraging foraging native insects through healthier understorey vegetation.