News

20
Feb
2018

Ninth Murnong Gathering

The Merri and Edgars Creek Confluence Area Restoration Group’s Murnong Gathering on 11 November 2017 was bigger than the event in 2016, which we thought was pretty big then! With easily 200 people attending, perhaps they’re building up to an even bigger tenth event in 2018. Once again the day included, a warm Wurundjeri Welcome to Country from Aunty Di Kerr, fabulous dancing from the Djirri Djirri dancers (joined once again by many in the audience – as in the photo), fun weaving, and of course the harvest and cook-up of the endangered Murnong, along with other bush tucker. However, this time there was even a mobile compost toilet on site! Thanks to Moreland Council for funding and to MCMC for providing marquees, equipment and assistance for the BBQ.

9
Oct
2017

Learn About the Creek

Thanks to the Darebin City Council, for voting on 5 September, to purchase approximately 1.8h of creek frontage abutting the former Lakeside College from the Education Department for $270,000 plus GST. This is a great win for the environment, as now the land…

Thanks to the Darebin City Council, for voting on 5 September, to purchase approximately 1.8h of creek frontage abutting the former Lakeside College from the Education Department for $270,000 plus GST. This is a great win for the environment, as now the land…

17
Nov
2016

Darebin Council to buy Lakeside College land

Thanks to the Darebin City Council, for voting on 5 September, to purchase approximately 1.8h of creek frontage abutting the former Lakeside College from the Education Department for $270,000 plus GST. This is a great win for the environment, as now the land, which includes Critically Endangered indigenous vegetation as well as the shared path, will continue to be cared for by Darebin Council, rather than left to be taken over by weeds, which is usually the case with private developers.

The Council also offered $6.9 million for the former Ruthven Primary School site, to be used as open space. The unfortunate side to these great outcomes is that the public has to pay twice for the land. Thanks to our members and supporters who lobbied for this win.

8
Aug
2016

Upcoming FoMC changes

Aug 08 2016

We are looking at providing on-line membership, thanks to our webmaster, Simon D’Alfonso, and our Membership Secretary, Monica Williamson, with valuable input from Yasmin Kelsall, and we are also considering a new email address.

1
Aug
2016

New “Help the Blue-banded Bee” crowd-funding campaign

Aug 01 2016

This project aims to increase the numbers and reproductive potential of the Matted Flax-lily, Dianella amoena along the Merri Creek. The Matted Flax-lily is Critically Endangered Australia-wide due to destruction of its grassland habitat. Only a few thousand plants have been mapped through Victoria and Tasmania.  Remnant plants are threatened by competition from weeds and population isolation that can lead to genetic decline and low fertility.

Through crowd-funding, we aim to increase the numbers and reproductive potential of the Matted Flax-lily, Dianella amoena along the Merri Creek. Only a few thousand Matted Flax-lily plants have been mapped through Victoria and Tasmania and they are threatened by competition from weeds and population isolation.

A few hundred Matted Flax-lily plants have been located in the Merri Creek catchment including about a hundred in Reservoir and Fawkner south of the Metropolitan Ring Road. Dense populations, each of a few dozen plants, occur in two native grassland reserves and are regarded as significant to the species’ conservation. Scattered plants are also found along three kilometres of the Merri Creek parklands nearby.

Cross-pollination between plants requires specialised ‘buzz-pollination’ that is carried out by native bees, in particular the Blue-banded bee, Amegilla sp.  The foraging distance for these bees has been estimated at approximately 300 metres.  Based on this distance, the Matted Flax-lilies in Fawkner and Reservoir are actually fragmented into several smaller disconnected populations.  Habitat quality for the Blue-banded bee may be poor due to the loss of density and diversity of co-occurring wildflowers that the bee needs for nectar.

This October 2016 – December 2017 project will expand on previous work and ongoing grassland management in Fawkner and Reservoir with targeted actions that aim to increase the Matted Flax-lily reproductively viable population to 400 plants.  Actions include:

  • Securing existing remnant plants through detailed weeding to increase plant vigour and develop niches for new plants to establish.
  • Collect and propagate Matted Flax-lily plants from diverse local sources to establish a genetically diverse captive population for reintroduction (within permit conditions).
  • Establish patches of lilies and nectar producing wildflowers that can function as ‘stepping stones’ for foraging Blue-banded bees between existing lily populations.
  • Plant propagated lilies to enlarge existing small isolated populations.
  • Enhance wildflower density and diversity around new and old Matted Flax-lily populations.
  • Trial the suitability of specialised bee ‘hotels’ for Blue-banded bees in natural grasslands.
  • Monitor Blue-banded bees and other pollinators in the grasslands before and after actions to enhance pollinator activity.
  • Engage the community, schools and citizen scientists in these projects to build an ongoing relationship with these species and their habitat.

Actions are aligned with those from the National Recovery Plan for Matted Flax-lily and the Victorian Actions for Biodiversity Conservation database.  Reporting on the project will be shared with other groups working toward the plant’s conservation.

Check out the Pozible campaign, keep up to date through Facebook, tell your friends and colleagues and pledge your support!