Muddy Merri Troubles update

Melbourne Water investigates constructed waterway failure.

 This failure, 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.

They 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). All future developers will be required to address the issue of erosive/dispersive soils earlier in the planning/design process to avoid similar problems.

Constructed section of Donnybrook Creek south of Donnybrook Rd, Mickelham, August 2018.

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.

Melbourne Water comments regarding failure of constructed waterway at Donnybrook Rd, Mickleham: “Melbourne Water is aware of the failure of a constructed section of Donnybrook Creek on the southern side of Donnybrook Road, Mickleham.”

Melbourne Water have been actively working with the developer and their engineering consultant to rectify this issue. Investigation into the failure shows that the Kalkallo catchment is susceptible to highly erosive/dispersive soils which did not sustain the waterway that was designed and constructed. The constructed waterway is within the defects liability period and has not been accepted or handed over to Melbourne Water for ownership and maintenance. Melbourne Water’s acceptance for the handover of this asset will require the failure to be addressed.

Melbourne Water has met with the developer and consultant to discuss a number of rectification options including:

  • Widening the waterway to reduce the velocities and shear stress in the channel.
  • Constructing drop structures to flatten the longitudinal grade of the waterway.
  • Replanting the waterway to create a vegetated core riparian zone and replace vegetation lost in the failure of the channel.
  • It is expected that rework will occur in late winter-early spring 2019, with re-planting to occur immediately after the civil works.

    Melbourne Water notes that the erosive/dispersive soil is widespread amongst the Kalkallo catchment, with the issue being prominent in areas where the integrity of the surface is being disturbed. As such, Melbourne Water will be requiring all future developers to address these issues earlier in the planning/design process.”


    Successful community grant from Melbourne water

    Read about a new grant project – planting for birds.
    Merri Creek Management Committee has been awarded a Community Grant from Melbourne Water to diversify habitat structure and promote bird habitat around Phillips Reserve and Kirkdale Park, Brunswick East.

    There are many gorgeous birds that feed, play and nest along this stretch of the creek including sociable Red-Browed Firetail Finches (photo) which require habitat with a dense understorey. The grant will fund the planting of 700 understorey plants and shrubs across the sites with the help of the community, as well as weed control in the preliminary stages and whilst the plants are establishing.

    The Friends will be helping out and there will be a community planting day on 14 July at Phillips Reserve, Brunswick East.  
    Keep an eye on our events calendar for details of this and other events.
    Image: Red browed firetail finch. Jim Bendon, Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0


    New discussion paper from the Nature Glenelg Trust.

    Advocating for the restoration of Herne’s Swamp, Wallan.

    This restoration would be a central feature of the proposed Wallan Wallan Regional Park.

    Read the discussion paper here:

    Restoration Vision for the Wallan Wallan Wetlands, including Herne Swamp, as the centrepiece of the Wallan Wallan Regional Park

    The Trust works on wetland restoration and management and threatened species research and recovery.

    The Friends of Merri Creek, along with the Merri Creek Management Committee and Wallan Environment Group – have long advocated  for the park, and as development pressure increases to the north of Melbourne, a committment to Hernes Swamp is vital to give the project the best chance of success.

    The paper covers the history and ecology of the swamp,  opportunities presented and the benefits of creating the wetland and all that it can offer.

    “Allowing Herne Swamp to function naturally again will have a wide range of catchment and environmental benefits. A functioning wetland ecosystem not only triggers the natural recovery of biodiversity values, but also literally ‘cleans up’ the water on its way through, so the quality of water entering Merri Creek downstream will be significantly improved.”

    The state government has committed to a feasibility study for the Wallan Regional Park.



    10 years of Merri Birdwatch

    Read on for more on birdwatching on Merri Creek.
    2018 marked the 10-year anniversary of Merri BirdWatch.
    The collection of seasonal monitoring data adds to the knowledge of the health of the creek and the fauna and flora that call it home.
    You can go to the global eBird website to see the survey records, recorded by hotspots.
    It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the Merri Creek and catchment too – urban parkland with extensive indigenous revegetation plots up to 35 years old, two lakes, a natural rocky gorge with open grassland and native grasslands near the (current) northern edge of the suburbs.

    The wide variety of habitat types encourages a diversity of bird species, whether resident, regular migrants or just passing through.
    To help with identification, we have produced a colour brochure illustrating 62 relatively common species of the Merri and northern Melbourne. This is available to participants in our surveys, and is for sale at CERES Nursery in East Brunswick.

    Our bird survey events are listed in our events calendar.
    Have you spotted any of these? Merri Creek BirdWatch surveys – species list 2008-2018.
    Welcome to join in, and learn as you go!


    Happy New Year!

    New Year greetings and thanks so much to all our Friends. 
    We couldn’t do without your support and committment to Merri Creek.

    A full calendar of activities is planned for 2019 – so we hope to see you along the Creek sometime!

    A busy year was 2018….

    128 helpers in site maintenace – handweeding at Strettle Wetland, Thornbury and the Merri Murnong patch, Coburg; African weed orchid removal at Ngarri-djarrang, Fawkner; Woody Weed Whacking at Bababi -Marning, Campellfield; Secret Seven Seed Collection with VINC and the contributions of the Wednesday Volunteers across the catchment.

    67 helpers planted 2325 plants at Aitken Creek, Craigieburn; Merri Park, Northcote; Lynch Road, Fawkner and Strettle Wetland.

    63 litter-picker-uppers – Ngarri-djarrang; Rushall Station North Fitzroy; Coburg Lake; Roseneath St, Clifton Hill; Edwardes Lake, Reservoir; Keady St, North Coburg; Arthurton Rd, Northcote; Harding St, Coburg; Merlynston Creek confluence; Edgars Creek, Coburg; Aitken Creek Craigieburn; Bell St, Coburg and Edgars Creek.

    102 StreamTeamers tested water quality at St Georges Road, North Fitzroy and Edgars Creek, Reservoir.

    36 Bird Surveys at 7 sites along the catchment.

    6 successful grant applications – stay tuned for opportunities to be involved in these activities.

    4 tours – expeditions to spots along the catchment.

    5 campaigns – Community action and MCMC advocacy helped here. Moreland Council is buying land at 2 Spry St, North Coburg, 106 McBryde St, Fawkner and there is an offer in for land in Leonard St, Fawkner. However, we failed to prevent a business buying Melbourne Water land which had been illegally built upon at Trawalla Ave, Thomastown.

    For more detail on all the above – read the Merri Growler here.