Merri Creek Management Committee

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The failure of a constructed waterway near Donnybrook Rd Mickelham was highlighted last year by Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) in our  Muddy Merri Troubles Report. Behind the scenes, Melbourne Water have been working to rectify the problems exposed by this waterway. They recently provided a welcome update to MCMC on progress on this matter.

Melbourne Water have also acknowledged the widespread occurrence of problematic soils in the Kalkallo Creek sub-catchment of the upper Merri (west of the Hume Highway between Donnybrook Rd and Beveridge). They will require all future developers to address the issue of erosive/dispersive soils earlier in the planning/design process to avoid similar problems occurring. 

Read more below for full comments from Melbourne Water and an outline of the rectification options.

Photo: Constructed section of Donnybrook Creek south of Donnybrook Rd, Mickelham, August 2018.  The channel is eroding, rilling erosion can be seen under the jute matting (dark lines), the jute matting has been ripped apart by high flows, and the slopes above the jute matting are poorly stabilised and eroding.

Little Button Quail 18 01 19Merri Creek Management Committee staff and visitors were amazed to see a Little Button Quail in the native grassland garden at the front of MCMC's office in East Brunswick on 18 January 2019 (photo left). This species is usually associated with more inland grasslands. Its presence, even only for a couple of days, clearly shows the value of planting indigenous plants in suburban gardens.

Around the same time in January a number of people reported hearing the distinctive call of a lone male Eastern Whipbird in nearby Merri Park, Northcote and across Merri Creek in Phillips Reserve south of Blyth St in Brunswick East. It was heard by the Friends of Merri Creek bird surveyers in mid February and was still calling in mid March. Whip Birds are usually associated with wet habitats, including rainforest, eucalypt forest and dense scrub near watercourses along the coastal band of Eastern Australia.

Fireweed at Galada TambooreSaltmarsh 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.

 

BEST group pic NarrapLunch 141218In mid-December 2018 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.

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Merri Creek Management Committee's (MCMC) ecological restoration work was recognised in an award presented by Melbourne Water in March 2019. The Exceptional Contribution Award was for MCMC's efforts to improve riparian condition through Melbourne Water's River Health Incentives Program.

Ryan van den Hove, a Waterway and Land Officer with Melbourne Water, said it was a pleasure to present MCMC with this award that acknowledges Melbourne Water’s appreciation for the successful, high quality projects delivered by MCMC during the group's long history participating in the program.