Merri Creek Management Committee

Salli doing DNA sampling on Moonee Ponds Creek StrathmoreIn spring 2021, MCMC helped 18 volunteers collect water samples from 11 sites on the Yarra River, Merri and Moonee Ponds Creeks in the first ever Citizen Science Great Australian Platypus Search.

The Great Australian Platypus Search trains volunteers to collect samples from waterways safely and accurately so that platypus presence within the last 24-48 hours can be detected. A large syringe and filters are used to capture DNA, samples are taken directly from a waterway and shipped to the EnviroDNA laboratory for analysis. Volunteers have submitted samples from sites all over Victoria. Waterwatch turbidity sampling was also completed and added to the Waterwatch Victoria data portal.

Nature StewardsAfter coming out of lockdown in November 2021, MCMC had the chance to meet up with a fun bunch of nature stewards. Nature Stewards is an interactive and engaging 10 week outdoor learning program for anyone aged over 18 who wants to learn more about their local environment and to help protect and enhance it.

The enthusiastic Nature Stewards completed Waterwatch water testing, water bug collection and identification and assessment of a wetland, amongst the gorgeous gums at Le Page Homestead, Plenty Gorge Parklands.  Thanks to the City of Whittlesea for funding this great program.

Wallan rail reserve showing eucalypts with a grassy understoreyA hidden natural gem has been re-discovered by members of the Wallan Environment Group (WEG) in the far upper reaches of the Merri Creek catchment.

The 1.2km section of the former Heathcote Junction to Bendigo railway line near Hidden Valley in Wallan has been unmanaged and unused by trains for more than 50 years, however the significant natural values of the site have persisted. The area has remnants of the native vegetation that once covered the surrounding area. Otherwise these are limited to small, fragmented patches on roadsides.

The native vegetation however is under pressure from weed invasion especially large patches of Gorse and Blackberry, as well as Briar Rose and other woody weeds and the emerging and highly invasive South African Weed Orchid (Disa bracteata).

Crowds at Joes Garden

During lockdowns, we all learned how important our local parks and waterways are to our well-being. Now, a virtual trail along the Merri Creek has been developed to create a greater awareness of people’s connection to the land and water. The Merri Creek Women’s Walk tells the stories of inspiring women who have contributed to the Merri Creek and its local environment, including MCMC’s President, Ann McGregor, and Manager, Luisa Macmillan.

The idea to establish a Women’s Walk along Merri Creek began after hearing about the assault on a woman jogging along the creek in broad daylight in 2019. It was initiated by Meredith Gibbs of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Water Association, and includes the participation of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, MCMC, Friends of Merri Creek and CERES.

A two page article about MCMC's involvement with Moreland Primary School's recent Creekulum program featured in the Autumn 2021 edition of the Australasian Parks and Leisure journal. The article highlights public parks as rich places for school children’s outdoor learning, using Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) - innovatively grounded in Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung cultural perspectives - and leaving no footprint. You can see the article, entitled Parking the school: Learning about Country from the ground up, here. The project evaluation report for Creekulum is here.