The Friends of Merri Creek (Inc.) has been active since 1988 when the community groups, which had formed the Merri Creek Coordinating Committee in 1976, decided to establish the new Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) and a separate Friends group. The Merri Creek Management Committee was formed in 1989 and coordinates works and planning along the Creek. The Friends play a major role in the MCMC providing six representatives on the Committee of Management. Other representatives on the MCMC come from the six municipalities in the creek's catchment and the Wallan Environment Group.
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Planting and Hands-On Activities
The Friends regularly plant indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses, often working together with the MCMC Revegetation Staff. These activities usually occur on a Sunday morning during the planting season and occasionally include more strenuous tasks such as mulching or weedmat removal.
Quarterly bird surveys are held at 10 sites along the Merri and at Edwardes Lake. For more information, see the Birdwatch page
The Friends were one of the first groups in Melbourne to begin removing litter from an urban creek. Almost every month, the Friends spend a Sunday morning cleaning up litter from various sections along the Creek.
Most litter is washed from the streets by rain, down the drains to the Merri, where it collects on rocks, reeds, grasses and tree branches along the Creek. Please do not drop litter as it will pollute our creeks and beaches.
Talks, Walks and Tours
Talks are occasionally held on subjects of interest, such as the flora and fauna on the Creek, or the life of the Wurundjeri (the local Aboriginal people). These talks are open to the public and usually held on week nights. There are walks to see the beautiful native wildflowers, which still flourish on the endangered grasslands remaining along the creek. Tours may include the spectacular Galada Tamboore (stream waterhole) gorge areas in Campbellfield or a bicycle ride to the Central Creek grasslands, which still manages to survive in suburban Reservoir, or a bus tour to the upper reaches of the Merri Creek to visit sites of State or National Conservation Significance.
In the past, the Friends successfully campaigned for the removal of the F2 freeway alignment from along the Creek, south of Mahoneys Rd. However, in July 2003, the Friends lost our Federal Court case against the freeway north of the ring road to Craigieburn. The Friends' campaign against this "Merri Creek Freeway" gained huge support across the northern suburbs and was successful in achieving an alignment with less impact on the Creek and on the heritage-listed native grasslands. The Federal Court case set an important precedent, as the Judge ruled that the Commonwealth would have to pay its own court costs. The campaign also achieved a higher level of State Government commitment to a regional park along the Merri Creek north of the ring road. The Friends are now assisting Parks Victoria with the development of this
Community Education Planning
The Friends publish a regular newsletter, hold displays at community festivals and contribute to publications such as "Plants of the Merri Merri" (Currently out of print) and the "Merri Creek and Environs Strategy", copies of which are available from the MCMC office.
Water Quality Testing
The Friends' "Streamteam" group regularly tests the Merri Creek's water quality and the data is fed into Melbourne Water's Waterwatch database and is used by Councils and other authorities to measure the health of the Creek.