Merri Creek Management Committee

After the success of 2014’s projects in Reservoir and Northcote, MCMC and Friends of Merri Creek have received almost $60,000 for new bushland restoration and community plantings along Merri Creek in Northcote, Thornbury, Preston and Reservoir:
A $20,000 Melbourne Water Community Grant will establish low growing vegetation along Merri Creek, between Normanby Pde Thornbury and Kendall St Preston. The project, Addressing threats to urban habitat on Merri Creek, will protect and enhance rare vegetation that was re-established gradually over 25 years and encourage adherence to dogs-on-lead areas to support local wildlife. In parts of this narrow urban stretch, the habitat widens around Strettle Wetland and Tate and Egan Reserve. This area now supports uncommon birds such as the Nankeen Night Heron and Banded Rail.
Another $20,000 Melbourne Water Community Grant has funded Friends of Merri Creek for the project, Koonda Lat is where it’s at, to control weeds, restore habitat and engage the new residents of nearby apartments near the Koonda Lat bridge on the shared path in Northcote. The Friends hope to involve new residents of the area in the community planting scheduled for 16 August.
A $19,993 National Landcare Program 25th anniversary grant will build the resilience of Reservoir’s 9 Hectare Native Grassland, Ngarri-djarrang. The project, RRR: Community Restores Resilience, involves an ecological burn, weed control, and a community planting. This planting will extend the cover of grassland over a currently weed dominated area.

The Wurundjeri Tribe Council has also contracted us to do some revegetation works at the important archaeological site, Sunbury rings, funded by the National Landcare Program 25th anniversary grants. Besides revegetation, we’ll also be managing weeds and mapping weeds of National Significance.

Plains Yam DaisyThe story of the Plains Yam Daisy links us to thousands of years of this land’s traditional custodianship and to conservation challenges facing current and future generations. In May 2014, a community survey added another line to this story.

For thousands of years, the daisy’s sweet, fat roots were a staple food for local Aboriginal people. The abundance of Yam Daisy reported by early European explorers seems likely the result of the careful tending of the land to sustain important foodplants.

The introduction of sheep in 1835 broke this age-old relationship. On the grassy plains around Melbourne, the flocks ate the daisies and then dug up and ate the roots. Within a few years the daisy was decimated. Detailed knowledge around this plant disappeared along with the forced removal of Aboriginal people from their land, their language and their traditional way of life. 

The lost Aboriginal knowledge might have shed light on the botanical puzzle facing scientists in the second half of the twentieth century. Since 1800, different forms of yam daisy had been collected and named from different parts of the landscape in Australia and New Zealand. In the 1970s, when fresh collections of plants were made, it was discovered that a skinny-flowered kind once found across the basalt plains north and west of Melbourne was now extremely rare …and, it was getting rarer.

2013 was the 20th anniversary of Waterwatch Victoria. The Waterwatch Celebrating 20 Years Report recognises and celebrates the significant contribution of volunteer monitors to this program.  It includes some familiar faces from the Merri.  The report’s timeline acknowledges that community water quality monitoring in Merri Creek began in 1992.  MCMC is proud to have supported community monitors for such a long time (22 years).  We look forward to many more years of Waterwatch at Merri Creek and thank our member councils - Darebin, Mitchell, Moreland, Whittlesea and Yarra - for their continuing support of this important ‘citizen science’ program. 
If you’d like a hard copy of the Waterwatch Celebrating 20 Years or  to join a monitoring group, contact our Waterwatch Coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Brunswick East Primary School-Merri Creek project-1 imageFor the first two terms of 2014, children at Brunswick East Primary school have done research into the Merri Creek and produced some large collages of the changing faces of the creek. These collages have now been published as a book titled, Our Creek, Merri Creek, which was launched on Friday 25th July at Brunswick East Primary school. Representatives of MCMC and the Friends of Merri Creek attended the launch. The book is available for sale and you can see it at http://blur.by/1t1U3zN 

Solar Panels on MCMC roofOn Thursday 10 July 2014, MCMC had a 1.5kW solar electricity system installed on the roof of our office in East Brunswick. MCMC paid a reduced price for the system through the generosity of Moreland Energy Foundation (MEFL) and the Moreland Community Solar project. Moreland Council won the system through the 2013 Earth Hour pledge competition when hundreds of Moreland residents pledging to reduce their carbon emissions. Thanks to MEFL who offered the system to MCMC and made the necessary arrangements. We’re happy that our payment for the system will provide seed money for the community solar project.

Congratulations to Friends of Merri Creek, for gaining a two year grant of $159,597 from Communities for Nature to engage the local community in weeding, planting and environmental education at Merri Park in Northcote.

Through this project, Friends of Merri Creek aims to restore the habitat and water filtering function of a stormwater wetland and the surrounding Merri Park parklands near Sumner Avenue Northcote. Affectionately nicknamed Sumner Loving, the project will celebrate and build on the community’s relationship with their local parklands.

A diverse range of events has been planned, including frog walks, wetland monitoring, litter collections, weeding workshops, and community plantings. The project launched with an Indigenous ceremony by Wurundjeri Elder, Bill Nicholson, plus historical walks, and a reptile display on Saturday 15 March. 

Students at Edwardes LakeStudents from Thomastown Secondary College enjoyed doing science outside the classroom, doing water quality sampling to examine turbidity at Edwardes Lake in Reservoir.

Industrial Thomastown landscape

Edgars Creek in Upper MerriIn its headwaters in the upper Merri catchment, Edgars Creek flows over a rocky basalt plain and through new residential areas in North Epping (photo at left).

In its middle reaches this important tributary of the Merri Creek flows through an industrial landscape in Thomastown (photo at right).

In 2010 Whittlesea City Council had the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management (at Melbourne Uni) survey water quality in drains that lead to Edgars Creek in the industrial precinct.  There was a clear association between industrial estates and high pollutant loads including toxicants such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc. Read the Report.

Two actions resulted.  EPA Victoria undertook further investigations and Whittlesea City Council and Merri Creek Management Committee partnered to prioritise stormwater education in industrial areas through a new initiative, Waterway Friendly Workplaces. MCMC trained teams visited 22 small workplaces in the summer 2013 – 14 to discuss potential pollution pathways with small business owners and their employees. Actions to reduce pollution were high on the list.

Solvent extractor machineSome of these workplaces have adopted innovative practices to prevent pollutants from leaving their workplaces through stormwater drains (like the machine to extract solvent from paint - at right).  Local newspapers also publicised the project.

 

 

Croxton Special School in Northcote has been connecting with Merri Creek Management Committee’s Learning Grounds Program since 2011. During 2012, plans were considered for indigenous plantings in a number of sites around the school, especially near the new building.

During 2013 the planning paid off, with students doing all the planting and mulching so that by January 2014 the site was transformed.

Croxton Special School BEFORE planting - June 2012

Croxton S.S 2012: the site before planting

Croxton Special School AFTER planting Jan 2014

January 2014 after planting and mulching

Saint Raphaels P.S. in Preston has a new indigenous garden planted in 2012 and it's a terrific complement to the new architecture.  The density of planting has ensured a very low weed growth. Previously the landscaping was pretty stark, but look at the transformation afterwards.

 

 

 

MCMC's Learning Grounds Program is supported by Darebin and Whittlesea Councils. If your school is interested in participating, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 9380-8199

St Raphaels BEFORE planting - July 2012

Saint Raphaels P.S. 2012: before planting

St Raphaels AFTER planting Feb 2013

2013: After landscaping and planting

Congratulations to Friends of Merri Creek, for gaining $19,997 from the Melbourne Water River Health IncentiveNorthcote Gorge planting sites program 2014 to restore native vegetation at the striking Northcote Gorge. This volcanic escarpment on the east bank of Merri Creek north of Heidelberg Rd Northcote, still retains some of its original vegetation. The project, Gorge-ous Views! Restoring the Merri Creek Habitat Corridor, involves controlling serious environmental weeds, then planting trees, shrubs, and dense ground-storey plants. Merri Creek Management Committee will help the Friends to deliver the project

Everyone is invited to a community planting and BBQ on 15 June 2014 for this project.  See our events calendar (lower left of page) for more details.

This will hopefully be just the first stage in the eventual conversion of the largest block of exotic weeds remaining in the area between Heidelberg Rd and High St Northcote. As this is narrow stretch of creek corridor, it vital to improve its habitat quality to increase its value as a wildlife passage.