A big thanks to the Darebin City Council, which has decided to buy the approximately 1.8ha of Merri Creek frontage abutting the former Lakeside Secondary College. An offer of $270,000 will be made to the Victorian Education Department for the land. This is a great win for the environment as now the land, which includes Critically Endangered indigenous vegetation will be secure as public open space cared for by Darebin Council. This land forms part of the Merri habitat corridor as well as the Merri Shared Path. Thanks also to the many community members who agitated strongly for this.
A $200,000 partnership project Melbourne’s Water – Proactive from Brunswick coordinated by Merri Creek Management Committee in partnership with Brunswick North West Primary School is complete. Funded by a grant from the Victorian Government, the project inspired the school community to go above and beyond the project’s goals. This included new plans to manage water flows at school and the production of a film to celebrate the process of creating their new indigenous habitat garden. Created on a flood-prone area above the long buried Melville Creek, the new area is proudly celebrated in Woiwurrung language as Yakai Barring, meaning ‘surprise track’.
During Merri Creek Management Committee’s surveys of Golden Sun Moth in summer 2016/17 we learnt three important things:
During NAIDOC Week 2016, Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Dave Wandin joined Merri Creek Management Committee’s Angela Foley to give a presentation to the Science Group of the Environment Protection Authority Victoria, and to share stories about how MCMC and the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation & Cultural Heritage Council work together.
During July, MCMC helped residents of Queen’s Lodge in Lalor to transform a weedy down trodden area into a new lively indigenous garden at their doorstep. The project, coordinated by Arts Access Victoria, includes glass mosaics, landscape design, and earthworks. MCMC’s role was supported by recurrent funding from City of Whittlesea.
We are enormously grateful to have received a substantial grant from The Myer Foundation’s Sustainability and Environment Capacity Building Stream 2016. This will enable us to undertake much needed strategic and organisational planning to continue building on our achievements and ensure we remain viable and vibrant.
We have secured two Corridors of Green grants from Melbourne Water. One is for weed control and revegetation to encourage the regeneration of Escarpment Shrubland and Streambank Shrubland along Kalkallo and Merri Creeks at Laffan Reserve, south of Kalkallo. The other is to replace weedy vegetation with competitive revegetation to achieve a continuous 3.3 km stretch of managed indigenous vegetation on the west bank of the Merri Creek in Fawkner. These projects will be rolled out between July 2016 and December 2017. (June 2016)
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)
MCMC has cracked some of the Plains Yam Daisy’s ‘lifecycle code’, expanded its Merri Creek populations and prepared the way for others to follow.
We learnt that on the Merri Creek:
• plants go dormant during late summer dry periods and regrow rapidly following fires and autumn rains;
• flowers and seed are mainly produced in autumn with a second flowering peak in early summer;
• plants are generally short lived in cultivation but appear to have an indefinite lifespan in the wild; and
• seedlings germinate rapidly following autumn rains when they are vulnerable to slugs and trampling by kangaroos but that copper tape barriers and chicken wire cages are an effective protection.
Download the full details here.
In February 2016 MCMC received a $13,000 grant from the Dhal Trust, which supports project that focus on Eucalypts. So this year we will be exploring and celebrating all things gum with Connecting Kids: the future protectors of River Red Gums. This will include running Eucalypt education with students of varying ages, that will culminate in a presentation of their ideas about how to protect these iconic trees into the future.
To try and tackle the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) fields, MCMC decided to focus on environmental science and provide opportunities to girls in the latter part of their schooling careers. We received a grant from the Victorian Women's Benevolent Trust to build on the Women in Science conference that was held in 2015 for 140 upper high school students.