Merri Creek Management Committee made a surprise and welcome discovery in Merri Creek last week.

MCMC’s WaterWatch Officer, Kate Rhook, found aquatic mayfly nymphs in the Galada Tamboore section of the creek, north of the Western Ring Road in Campbellfield/Thomastown.

Kate explained her excitement at the find. "This is the first time we have found mayflies in this section of the creek. Usually the water quality in the Galada Tamboore section of Merri Creek is too poor for sensitive creatures like mayflies to survive"

Mayflies are a type of insect and their juvenile or nymph stage is aquatic. They have a low tolerance to water pollution. This is the first time in recent years that mayflies have been recorded in Merri Creek itself any further downstream than O’Herns Rd in Somerton/Epping.

Asked why it was that the mayflies had made a surprise appearance, Kate commented perhaps we could thank the recent low rainfall. "The industrial areas of Somerton and Campbellfield contribute some truly awful stormwater to Merri Creek, full of heavy metal, hydrocarbons and other industrial contaminant. It’s toxic to many aquatic insects. An extended period of little no rain spares the creek from polluted stormwater and gives the aquatic ecology a chance to recover."

Melbourne Water have recently installed a toxicant treatment trap on one of the more notorious of the stormwater drains, the Barry Road drain in Campbellfield. As Kate says,"if we had treatment traps like this on all the industrial stormwater drains, we would see a significant improvement in water quality in Merri Creek."

Hume City Council undertook an intensive stormwater education program with industry in the Campbellfield area last year. The project a identified the need for an ongoing information and education on stormwater for industry in the Merri catchment.

Merri Creek Management Committee is delighted to see evidence of the creek’s capacity to recover. Manager, Luisa Macmillan, said "It’s a clear demonstration of what could be achieved for Merri Creek if a concerted effort is made to clean up all of the stormwater drains entering the creek."

For further information contact Luisa Macmillan, MCMC’s Manager,
ph. 93808199 (26/09 2007)