Bird survey report – 2019

Thanks to all our volunteer bird survey leaders and spotters. Over 100 species were recorded at 36 sites. A highlight was a solitary Eastern whipbird, its usual habitat the wet forests of the eastern ranges, the shrubby understory of Merri Park providing a home away from home.
Our bird surverys are held quarterly, over 2 Sunday mornings – the next round is in May – keep an eye on our events calendar.
Thanks to Peter Mollison for this wonderful photograph of a male Red-rumped Parrot.
Bird survey report – 2019


Flora and Fauna Report 2018/19

Read about sightings along the catchments in new report. 

The Merri Creek Management Committee has released their Flora and Fauna report for October 2018 to September 2019.
Sightings and observations from the Ecological Restoration Team, along with reports from the community help to build a picture of life along the creek catchment, both during a year – and over time. Along with the powerful owl, there have been swamp wallaby sightings and “hearings” of growling grass frogs. On the flora front, locally rare grassland species, propagated as part of the Secret Seven Seed project have been reintroduced and are doing well. Thankyou for your reports too, you are valuable extra eyes and ears!
Read more here.


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.