May 12 2014
Conservationists trying to protect nature in the upper Merri have been dealt a very poor hand from a deck heavily stacked in favour of developers by the Victorian Government.
The Government led by releasing the Growth Corridor Plans before the Biodiversity Conservation Strategies (which is back-to-front planning), then followed up by adding in some so-called “Logical Inclusions” to the Urban Growth Boundary, without any clear environmental process at all.
They then trumped it by only proposing to protect 61% of Grassy Eucalypt Woodland within the Urban Growth Boundary, instead of the 80% that they had agreed with the Federal Government. These are the beautiful old River Red Gums that are such a feature of landscapes to Melbourne’s north. Corridors for Growling Grass Frog habitat are still being whittled down. The Government then threw out the monitoring and evaluation plan and the independent auditor that they were supposed to have.
However, we conservationists still have a few cards up our sleeve! Along with other groups, such as the Wallan Environment Group and the VNPA, we are still working hard to save the remaining areas of high conservation value. After a brief meeting of some FoMC Committee members and a couple of interested guests on 26 March, one of our aces, Yasmin Kelsall, is reviewing priority sites, to focus on the key areas that we want to protect in order to make a decent biodiversity network in the upper Merri. We will take this map to politicians, Councils and the Metropolitan Planning Authority to clearly show them the areas that need to be protected and the reasons for it. Stay tuned to see how we go.
Jan 27 2014
Friends of Merri Creek, has received $19,997 from the Melbourne Water River Health Incentives program for restoring native vegetation at the striking Northcote Gorge. This volcanic escarpment on the east bank of Merri Creek north of Heidelberg Rd Northcote, still retains some of its original vegetation. The project: Gorge-ous Views! Restoring the Merri Creek Habitat Corridor, involves controlling serious environmental weeds, then planting trees, shrubs, and dense ground-storey plants. Everyone is invited to the community planting and BBQ on 15 June.
This will hopefully be just the first stage in the eventual conversion of the largest block of exotic weeds remaining in the area between Heidelberg Rd and High St. As this is narrow stretch of creek corridor, it vital to improve its habitat quality to increase its value as a wildlife passage.