Under 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.
Merri 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.
Our 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.
Saltmarsh 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 Creek Management Committee has been awarded a $17,905 Community Grant from Melbourne Water to diversify habitat structure and promote bird habitat in the vicinity of Phillips Reserve and Kirkdale Park, Brunswick East. There are many gorgeous birds that feed, play and nest along this stretch of the creek including sociable Red-Browed Firetail Finches (photo) which require habitat with a dense understorey. The grant will fund the planting of 700 understorey plants and shrubs across the sites with the help of the community, as well as weed control in the preliminary stages and whilst the plants are establishing.
You can help with the planting on 14 July at Phillips Reserve, Brunswick East. Subscribe to our events notification emails for details of this and other events.
Merri Creek Management Committee and the City of Darebin celebrated World Wetlands Day 2019 with a walk and talk event at Edwardes Lake and the Edgars Creek wetlands in Reservoir on 31st January. The 25 participants learned about the benefits of wetlands in reducing stormwater pollution, as important habitat for local bird, aquatic and macroinvertebate species and their role in helping our local environments become more resilient to climate change. They looked for frogs, wetland birds and waterbugs, tested the salinity levels and the muddiness of Edgars Creek and learned more about what the collected Waterwatch water quality data is saying about the health of Edgars Creek and Edwardes Lake.
In mid-December the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation & Cultural Heritage Council’s Narrap (Land Management) Team hosted a lunch at the confluence of the Merri Creek and the Yarra River. A Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Uncle Dave Wandin provided a rich cultural context for the 23 participants.
During his Welcome to Country, Uncle Dave Wandin stood before the three eucalypts that were scarred by representatives of the Wandin, Terrick and Nevin Wurundjeri families in September 2016. He spoke about how the Narrap Team had developed from a base of two lawn mowers, a brush cutter and no depot. Narrap Team’s new manager, Sean Hunter, spoke about the strong future for the team with four trainees now working towards their Certificate IV in Conservation and Land Management.