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.


Loss at VCAT for Merri Creek land           

After the recent good news of land purchased by Moreland Council, we report a loss at VCAT.
In July 2018 the Friends of Merri Creek appeared at VCAT, strongly represented by their planning consultant for the case, Dr Stephen Rowley. Melbourne Water is planning to sell off Merri Creek land, land designated part of the Merri Creek Marran Baba Parklands.

This ‘surplus’ land, at the rear of an industrial property in Trawalla Ave, Thomastown, is part of an original floodplain reserve owned by Melbourne Water. Over a number of years it was improperly occupied, filled and built on by the adjacent landowners, previous and current. Whittlesea City Council had decided in favour of issuing a permit to the adjoining landowners and so the FoMC applied for a VCAT review of the case.
Despite its modified condition there is no reason it can’t be ecologically restored, as has been achieved for many formerly degraded areas along Merri Creek.

They argued that the removal of land from the Merri Creek corridor for industrial purposes is fundamentally at odds with planning policy and compromises the planned future enhancement of this stretch of the creek. Unfortunately this appeal was unsucessful.

Since then the FoMC and MCMC have written to the Minister for Planning urging that an alternative solution to the rezoning and sale of the land be sought, such as the compromise to lease the land for a fixed period before it is rehabilitated and returned to the public realm. The land needs to be rezoned to industrial zone before it can be sold.

Failing this, both organisations have asked that the anticipated rezoning of the ‘surplus’ land be subject to a public planning scheme amendment and public hearing, rather than being fast-tracked by the Minister. If the latter occurs there’ll be no opportunity for public input on the rezoning. The original decision to declare the land ‘surplus’ was not a public process and Melbourne Water has not convincingly demonstrated why the land is ‘surplus’.

You can read the VCAT decision here.

Image: Galada Tamboore, part of the Marran Baba Parklands. MCMC