Merri Creek Management Committee

Big River understorey establishingMerri Creek Management Committee completed work on the Big River Project in late 2018. This was a partnership project with Collingwood Children’s Farm. It was focussed on a 1km stretch of vegetation along the edge of the Yarra River in Abbotsford, controlling high threat weeds such as Pampas Lily of the Valley and Wandering Tradescantia. With the help of wonderful volunteers, over 1,000 understorey and mid-storey plants were added to the site, providing much needed stabilisation and biodiversity to the river bank. See the before and after photos here. The project was funded by a Melbourne Water Community Grant.

We have been successful in grant application to continue this restoration work in partnership with the Collingwood Children's Farm in 2019. (Photo: Indigenous understorey of Tussock Grass and Hop Goodenia establishing on the Yarra River bank.)

South African Weed Orchid editedWebMCMC congratulates Friends of Merri Creek for obtaining a $23,242 Community Grant from Port Phillip & Western Port Catchment Management Authority to control the highly invasive South African Weed Orchid (Disa bracteata). The grant will support Friends of Merri Creek’s fledgling Special Weed Orchid Terminator volunteers to continue their weed control work. Along with MCMC staff expertise, the Darebin Council's Green Army team’s enthusiasm, and the methodical surveys of volunteer Andrew Kuhlmann, SWOT systematically searched 80% of Ngarri-djarrang grassland in 2017, and removed over 1,500 Weed Orchids.

Laffan woody weed removal smallMerri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) completed two 18-month long restoration projects along the Merri’s middle reaches in early 2018.  Both projects were funded by Melbourne Water grants. The Loving Laffan project saw MCMC take on the Weed of National Significance, Gorse (Ulex europeaus), along a one kilometre stretch of Merri Creek south of Laffan Reserve in Craigieburn North. Dense infestations were controlled along several hectares of endangered Escarpment Shrubland vegetation. The planting of 200 indigenous shrubs restored some of the habitat values that had been provided by the Gorse. Hume City Council’s Bushland Management Team assisted MCMC staff in this physically demanding task. During this work we discovered a previously unrecorded population of the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth and a population of Emu Foot (Cullex tenax), an endangered pea not seen locally in over a decade. 

The second project Merri Models saw MCMC restore endangered Creekline Tussock Grassland at Craigieburn’s Rushwood Drive Reserve

Horsefields Bronze CuckooMerri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) has kept a record book of flora and fauna sightings since 1997 with our own staff being key contributors to this. The current (third) volume began in 2004 and is almost full. These records are useful when reviewing the success of restoration in providing habitat. They can reveal whether wildlife is just passing through or whether it is significantly supported by the landscape. Some of the detailed notes from Spring and Summer 2017 provide valuable insights to this process.

Yellow Ochre butterflyThe forty-nine flora and fauna sightings recorded by Merri Creek Management Committee staff or reported to us by the community between October 2016 and end of September 2017 hint at habitat improvements along Merri Creek. They also document the discovery of previously overlooked species and verify the results of conservation efforts. 

Enhanced Pic of Fantail Cuckoo v2

Has thirty years of restoration of the Merri Creek made a difference? Woodland birds think so!  Friends of Merri Creek quarterly birdwatch data give us a wildlife ‘census’ at the Merri Creek woodlands in Fawkner and Reservoir. These woodland have expanded by thirty hectares in thirty years. Up to 33 woodland birds now use the tree canopy, understorey shrubs, native groundcover and sparse leaf-litter strewn ground.