Merri Creek Management Committee

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.

Merri Creek Management Committee has received $19,947 from the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA for the project Getting Wildflowers at Ngarri-djarrangEdgy: Addressing Edge Effects at Ngarri-djarrang Grassland Reservoir. The project aims to secure a fire break to protect Reservoir’s critically endangered Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plains.

121 species of native plants have been recorded at Ngarri-djarrang Grassland, which is considered of State Significance for conservation due to its high plant diversity. Endangered plants like a nationally significant population of Matted Flax Lily, state-significant Rye Beetle-grass and even orchids have persisted at Ngarri-djarrang, surrounded by houses.

The project will focus on controlling the weeds at the edges of the site, particularly the eastern boundary, where grassland meets private back yards, and the area alongside the new gravel fire break. Afterwards, these areas will be revegetated by direct seeding and a community planting, scheduled for 13 July 2014. Check out our events calendar (lower left of page) for more details.

MP Bronwyn Halfpenny with Thomastown Secondary studentsThomastown Secondary College students have made a huge improvement to Edgars Creek near Main Street Thomastown. In late August they planted 900 trees and shrubs into a series of plots near the creek and also took time to learn about waterbugs and other features of the creek habitat. Local MP, Bronwyn Halfpenny, teachers, MCMC staff and others joined in the action.
Then, two weeks later, students created an indigenous garden in their school grounds, not far from Edgars Creek, and got more than 400 plants into the ground.
These activities were part of the Edgars Creek: Creek Connections project, funded by Port Phillip & Westernport CMA.