Pollution and litter
Merri Creek fauna
Merri Creek birds
Merri Creek flora

Getting involved

How can I get involved?

  • Come along to a Friends of Merri Creek event – you don’t need to be a member!
    • Lots to choose from: Bird surveys, StreamTeam water quality testing, Litter Clean-ups, Planting and site maintenance sessions, Woody Weed Whacking and nature walks.
    • There are other groups that hold activities along the creek or tributaries: Meccarg Merri-Murnong, Friends of Edgar’s Creek, Friends of Malcolm Creek, Friends of Aitken Creek, and Friends of Merri Park Northcote.
  • Join Friends of Merri Creek.
  • Like us on Facebook.
  • Follow us on Instagram.
  • Help us in campaigns on issues affecting the Creek – volunteer to co-ordinate a campaign, writing to local councils, members of parliament, authorities. Campaign action requests are posted on Facebook.
  • Help with other activities – such as our newsletter.
  • Donate to the Merri Creek Environment Fund – it’s tax-deductible.

Can my organisation volunteer as a group?
Yes – your work colleagues or community group can volunteer. If your group would like to come to one of our weekend activities – let us know so that we can cater for you.

Contact Merri Creek Management Committee for more information.

Can children participate in activities?
Children are welcome to join our activities with their parent or guardian in attendance – we are unable to accept any responsibility for the care of children at our events.

Some events are more suited for children to join – for example Bird Surveys need quiet and may not suit some children, but planting events and nature walks can cater for more active children.

We also post school holiday events, and nature plays for smaller children in our Events calendar.

I can’t get to your weekend activities – do you have anything running during the week?
The Friends occasionally hold weekday and evening events.
We also run the Wednesday Volunteers, who meet monthly and work on ecological restoration projects with Merri Creek Management Committee staff. If you are interested in helping out behind the scenes, there are volunteering opportunities during the week.
Contact us for more information.

Pollution and litter

I think I’ve seen evidence of pollution in or near the Merri Creek. How can I tell if it is pollution and how can I report it?

Merri Creek is vulnerable to chemical and other pollutant spills due to its proximity to industrial sites, and because it is on the receiving end of all stormwater (street) drains in its catchment. Dumping of liquids and other waste also occurs.

Some clues to help identify pollutants:

  • Visible sheen or discolouration of water; froth or foam on surface.
  • Substances being discharged into stormwater drains for example oil, fuel or paint.
  • Discharge or leak of waste liquids or solids into a watercourse (bypassing a water treatment system).
  • Multiple fish deaths, indicating environmental stress, which may be caused by a pollutant.
  • Foul-smelling or abnormal emissions.
  • Offensive or chemical odour.
  • Dumped waste.
  • Inadequate storage or handling of chemicals or waste near the Creek.

There are markers along the Creek, with a location code and contact details for the EPA.

You can report here:
Snap Send Solve – app to upload photos from your phone and report to relevant authority, including councils, utilities authorities etc.

Litter clean-ups
Friends of Merri Creek hold monthly litter clean-ups at specific locations along the Creek. You can find out about these through the Events calendar on our website, or they are posted a week prior on Facebook.

Can I organise a group to do a one-off clean up? Can I get support to do this?

The “Rapid response to litter in the Merri after high rainfall events” program can give you support and equipment for your event.

Together with Councils and Melbourne Water we’ll identify safe places where people can clean up, provide equipment if needed and arrange appropriate waste disposal afterwards.

Contact Julia Cirillo for more information: juliacirillo@mcmc.org.au; ph. 9380 8199, 0413 080 385

If I find dumped material, who do I report it to?
You can report dumped waste to:
Snap Send Solve – app to upload photos from your phone and report to relevant authority, including councils, utilities authorities etc.

Merri Creek fauna

Are there snakes along Merri Creek?
Tiger Snakes occur along most urban waterways in Melbourne and the Merri Creek is no exception. Brown Snakes and a number of other highly venomous species also occur in the less urbanised sections of the Creek. The perception of risk of snakebite is higher than the actual risk, and snakes are an essential part of Merri Creek’s ecological system.

What should I do if I see a snake?

  • The best way to deal with snakes is to avoid them.
  • If you see a snake leave it alone and walk away, and it’s very likely the frightened snake will be heading in the opposite direction.
  • Don’t try to catch or kill a snake as they will become aggressive.
  • If you’re walking in the bush scan the track ahead of you, make plenty of noise and wear boots and long trousers.

More information in the event of snakebite.

I’ve taken a photo of a Merri Creek bird/animal. Can I forward it to FoMC?

The Merri Creek valley is home to a range of fauna – birds, kangaroos and swamp wallabies, echidnas, snakes, lizards, insects and frogs. We keep a record of sightings and it is good to have as much information as possible to build knowledge of what is happening along the creek.

You can share a photo on Friends of Merri Creek Facebook or Instagram accounts, or you can report a sighting to MCMC.

Here are some citizen science projects you could join:

  • Bowerbird – you can join projects, discuss findings in this online naturalists society.
  • PlatypusSPOT – for conservation and research of this amazing marsupial.
  • Frog census – records frog populations in this community monitoring program. Check our Events calendar for frog related activities.
  • Aussie Backyard Bird Count – annual count that gathers data on bird species in people’s backyards. Check our Events calendar for our Bird Surveys.

If you come across an animal or bird injured or in need of rescue in some way, phone the Wildlife Care Network’s 24 hour Wildlife Rescue line on 03 8400 7300.

What should I be aware of when walking my dog along the Merri Creek?
All of the Merri Shared Trail is a ‘dogs-on-lead’ area – for the safety and enjoyment of everyone, including our dogs. Dedicated off-lead areas are marked by signs.

When you bring your dog to the Creek – keep in mind the following:

  • Maintain a ‘no droppings left behind’ habit
  • Keep dogs on a lead whenever on the shared trail
  • Keep off-lead play to designated areas
  • Leave the wild bits of the creek to the wildlife

Wildlife cannot distinguish between a friendly dog and one that is hunting. Keeping dogs on lead ensures that wildlife can find refuge along the Merri Creek.

Informal dog tracks or ‘runs’ through bushland can hinder revegetation, destroy habitat and cause erosion. One dog has a tiny effect, but repeated dozens of times each day the impact can be severe.

More: Dogs and Merri Creek parkland

Merri Creek birds

How can I learn about the birds along Merri Creek?

  • Friends of Merri Creek hold Bird surveys quarterly at 10 sites along the Creek. We have been conducting these surveys since 2008, and over 120 species have been spotted.
  • They are listed in our event calendar and also posted via social media.
  • You are welcome to join us, no experience necessary, BYO binoculars if possible but leave your dog at home.

We’d love to hear about the birds you see. Share your sightings to our Facebook or Instagram pages.

Can I feed the ducks?
Please don’t feed ducks and other birds in public parklands.

Feeding ducks and other birds with human food such as bread, meat, oats is nothing like their usual diet. It can cause digestive and other problems such as dependence on artificial food sources. Creation of larger mobs of birds can also cause other problems for example large numbers of ducks can lead to oversupply of nutrients to waterways and contribute to the excessive growth of algae (waterweed) in summer.

Birds in backyards
To feed or not to feed

Merri Creek flora

How can I help with planting along the Merri Creek? Can my organisation get involved too?

  • Our planting events are planned to help with revegetation efforts for sites along the creek to support biodiversity of flora and fauna. We use a range of plants along with trees – grasses, groundcovers and shrubs.
  • We plant in the cooler months to give plants their best chance to get established.
  • These events are listed on our event calendar and posted via social media.
  • Corporate or community group planting days can be arranged through MCMC
  • Local councils also organize planting events for public open space within their municipality – contact them directly or check out their events calendars.

What locally indigenous plants can I plant in my garden?
From canopy trees to groundcovers and grasses, there are many to choose from to inject some of Merri Creek’s flora into your garden. Using locally indigenous plants helps support biodiversity and can provide habitat for insects, animals and birdlife.

More: Merri Creek flora and planting guides

Are herbicides used along Merri Creek?
Re-establishing indigenous vegetation communities has always been a high priority for both Friends of Merri Creek and the Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC). Invasive weeds can out-compete local species and threaten the success of revegetation projects. Herbicides are often the most time- and cost-efficient means of weed control but need to be used with great care.
We do occasionally spray blackberries along the creek, mostly small scattered regrowth but occasionally large patches too. Generally spraying in December, by late January they are dry, leafless or brown leaves and devoid of fruit. Paper signs are installed to notify of any spraying activity.

Planting strategies and preparations and maintenance regimes also aim to reduce the need for herbicide use. These include weed and seedbank removal prior to planting, use of weed mats, timing of mowing activities, design and selection of species to produce plantings that are resilient to weed invasion and hand-weeding in selected sites.

MCMC takes the following precautions in using herbicides.

  • Herbicides are selected to minimise adverse impacts on the environment, the operator and park users.
  • Marker dye is added to herbicides for visibility.
  • Signage is placed at either end of the spray zones and at some entry points.
  • Don’t enter sprayed area for a period of up to 3 days.
  • Spraying is mainly carried out in active growing season to maximize plant absorption and when weather conditions are appropriate so the potential for spray drift and water contamination are minimized.
  • Herbicide spill kits are carried whenever herbicides are used, in case spills need to be mopped up.