Merri Creek Management Committee

Julia and Mayor with Antonine CollegeIn October, we helped organise students to release plastic bottles fitted with GPS devices into Merri Creek in Coburg, part of a collaborative project between RMIT University and Melbourne Water called Litter Trackers. The project aims to better understand the movement of litter in Melbourne’s waterways and raise awareness about the environmental impact of litter on our waterway health and marine and aquatic wildlife. Ninety five percent of the litter on Port Phillip Bay beaches comes from suburban streets transported through stormwater drains.

20190420 120752 cropped smallEveryone in Melbourne's northern suburbs has heard of Merri Creek (well almost).  Real Estate ads often list 'close to Merri Creek' as part of a property's attractions.  That's a stark contrast to four decades ago when property near Merri Creek, at that time considered considered a weed-infested drain, was so cheap that Councils were able to buy up properties to create parts of what is now the Merri Creek parklands.

How far from Merri Creek does today's positive effect extend? A terrific blog article, not by Merri Creek Management Committee, answers this question. Using on-line data to analyse real estate ads and generate maps, the author shows that properties up to 1.3km from Merri Creek include the word "Merri" in their description.  Read the full article here.  

Walker St Kinder 1 2Four-year old children from Walker Street Community Kindergarten enjoyed nature play by Merri Creek at Hall Reserve in Clifton Hill in late July 2019, led by MCMC's Waterwatch Coordinator. The day began somewhat wet and windy, but many of the children wore gumboots and raincoats and enjoyed splashing through puddles and clambering through wet grass.

After a stroll to look at the height of the creek after rain and noticing how much rubbish was there, the children enjoyed looking for little creatures under leaf litter and bark, smelling eucalypt leaves, observing the growth of seedlings, and looking at waterbugs with magnifying glasses.

Cool cultural burn at Bababi Djinanang July 2019Under the guidance of Uncle Dave Wandin and the Wurundjeri Tribe Council’s Narrap Team,⁠ Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) staff participated in their first cool burn at Bababi Djinanang Grassland, Fawkner in mid-July 2019. Cool burns, also known as cultural burns, are conducted using traditional Indigenous land management techniques.

They differ from our usual ecological burns which are normally done in mid-autumn, with a hot fire which moves fast due to the largely dried out vegetation. In contrast, cool burns are done following heavy rains, when the soil is wet and lots of green vegetation has resprouted. The cool fire moves slowly and burns a patchy mosaic, giving wildlife time to move to safe ground.

Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) is delighted to have received $13,186 from The Hazel and Arthur Bruce Bequest for a project that will provide Homes for micro bats and pardalotes on the Merri. This project will be rolled out in Merri Park Northcote during 2019-20. Keep an eye out for community events related to this initiative by subscribing to our events notifications. We will run a community information session about the project and offer a series of training events for volunteers to monitor the success of the nest boxes.

We also congratulate our member group, Friends of Merri Creek, for success with three grant applications for which MCMC staff provided technical assistance.

Instagram logoMCMC is now on instagram! Follow us for a regular dose of inspiring ecological restoration images, special Merri Creek plants, community activities and more. See instagram.com/merri_creek/ 

14 Group on MCCC bridgeMerri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary with an afternoon walking tour along Merri Creek on 23rd May.   

First stop was near CERES in Brunswick East, where the MCMC President, Ann McGregor, talked about some of the first plantings along Merri Creek in the 1970s. Then people walked downstream along the Northcote side of the Merri where Geoff Mabett talked about the  transformative works of the Northern Waterways Group in creating Merri Park in the late 1980s. The group was photographed on the footbridge between Merri Park and Sumner Park.

Powerful Owl upstream of St Georges Rd 7 5 19 AnnMcGregorOur President, Ann McGregor, photographed this Powerful Owl in a Peppercorn tree overlooking Merri Creek shared path in Fitzroy North, in May. We believe this is the first time a Powerful Owl has been recorded along the Merri in the inner suburbs. 

Please let us know of your own wildlife sightings along Merri Creek by using the reporting form on our website.  A photo is of great help. All significant confirmed sightings are forwarded to appropriate databases such as the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.

Are you curious about what Merri Creek looked like 30 or more years ago? Or maybe you'd like to have a trip down memory lane?  You can do this by taking our web-based tour of Merri Creek sites in Brunswick East and Northcote from the 1980s. Just follow this link. Even better, visit Merri Creek with your web-enabled device.  Then you'll be able to view photos from decades ago and simultaneously appreciate the amazing ecological transformation that can be seen today.   

View of former MMBW depot, now Merri Park 2015 C Clarke smallerMMBW depot now Merri Park 1986 B McGregor

 

       

                                                           

Fireweed at Galada TambooreSaltmarsh is most often associated with coastlines, but the Merri Creek in Campbellfield and Thomastown supports some unusual vegetation dominated by salt-tolerant indigenous species. At Galada Tamboore the Merri Creek gorge has exposed ancient sediments, buried when volcanoes erupted along the Merri several million years ago. Where the lava flows and the more ancient sediments meet, naturally saline spring-water wells from the escarpment and saltmarsh plants have gained a foothold. 

In order to conserve these special ecosystems, Friends of Merri Creek has secured a $20,000 Melbourne Water Community Grant. Working with Wurundjeri Land Council and community, the project will map, protect and enhance this rare vegetation, and restore endangered shrublands along the adjoining escarpments. The Friends have contracted MCMC to deliver the project, which will run until June 2020.

Photo above: Fireweed Groundsel, Senecio linearifolius, in a vertical saltmarsh at Galada Tamboore.

 

Merri Events Calendar