Merri Creek Management Committee

Merri Creek turbidity Blyth St, 20 June 2018

In May we reported on a major turbidity event in Merri Creek in our Muddy Merri Troubles article. The  intense yellow colour of Merri Creek generated high levels of community concern. A month later, in mid-June, the same thing happened again. This time we decided to measure the actual turbidity levels of Merri Creek in Brunswick East and to take photos of the creek.  You can read the detailed results of our investigation below or download the full report as a pdf.

In brief we found:   (1) At its peak the turbidity was 500 NTU. This is higher than any other level recorded in the lower reaches of Merri Creek over the last 18 years.   (2) It took 15 days of steady decline for the turbidity to drop to an acceptable level of less than 20 NTU.   (3) Visually, Merri Creek was perceived as 'very muddy' for 14 days.

Muddy Merri upstream from Blyth St bridgeA dramatic change in the colour of Merri Creek - from its usual darkish hue to a worrying, pale-yellow - had concerned locals contacting MCMC, posting on Facebook and reporting the issue to the EPA. The spate of yellow muddiness began after rain in mid-May and continued for more than three weeks, an unprecedented time. 'Old hands' said that the turbidity (sediment load) in Merri Creek was much worse than anything they'd seen in their decades of creek-watching. What caused this massive pollution event? Was it 'natural', or the result of disturbance from urban development activity? 

Photo above: Merri Creek at Blyth St, Brunswick East, 15 May 2018

MCMC welcomes State Govt $1.7 million for Merri Creek Park - Galada Tamboore
On 5th Feb 2017 the State Government unexpectedly announced the allocation of $1.7 million to upgrade and develop visitor infrastructure – including 6km of bike and walking paths in the ‘Merri Creek Park’.
The new visitor infrastructure is planned for the Galada Tamboore part of the Marran Baba [Merri Creek] Parklands in Campbellfield/Thomastown.

WW Dec 17MCMC led two nights of frog discovery along Edgars Creek and the Edwardes Lake wetland in Reservoir in October and November 2017. The excursions included educational games such as a frog quiz, waterbug discovery and frog bingo. In total 40 participants heard 11 frogs calling from two local species: the Pobblebonk and the Common Eastern Froglet. All frog calls were recorded as part of Melbourne Water's citizen science Frog Census and uploaded via the Frog Census app.

Pollution Sign at Edwardes LakeThree separate fires at industrial premises threatened Merri waterways during January/February 2017. One resulted in serious impacts on Edwardes Lake in Reservoir. The Merri Catchment includes significant industrial areas and the risk of fire runoff polluting Merri Creek is of increasing concern. We are grateful for the prompt and skilled response of Melbourne Water teams in managing the runoff from these fires. Nevertheless, it's time for a hard look at how to effectively protect our waterways from the threat of pollution from industrial areas, whether from fires, accidental spills or illegal discharge.