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.
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, wear long trousers and boots and scan the track ahead of you. Snakes can't hear, but can sense vibration - so stomping and moving slowly can give the snake a chance to move away.
More information in the event of snake bite.
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.
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 Events page and 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.
Some bird identification sites:
Birds in backyards
Find a bird – Birdlife Australia
We’d love to hear about the birds you see. Share your sightings to our Facebook or Instagram pages.
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.
Come along to a Friends of Merri Creek event – you don’t need to be a member!
There's lots to choose from:
- Bird surveys
- StreamTeam water quality testing
- Litter Clean-ups
- Planting and site maintenance sessions
- Woody Weed Whacking and nature walks
- 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
- 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, Friends of Merri Creek Wednesday Volunteers and Friends of Merri Park Northcote.
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.
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 What's on
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.
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.
More information on our Community litter collections page.
Contact Julia Cirillo for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; ph. 9380 8199, 0413 080 385
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Merri Creek Management Committee works with school and community groups teaching about the biodiversity and ecosystems of Merri Creek - their website gives more information on their range of activities and contact details.
Generally speaking we don’t encourage personal revegetation efforts, for various reasons. Even if the plants are local species, their provenance may not be appropriate for the creek. And if they are grown from locally collected seed, this needs to be done under permit and with consideration for genetic diversity and minimal impact on local plant populations. It’s also very tricky to make sure the plants end up in the right place – we don’t want them to end up somewhere that they will get destroyed by council slashers, but we also don’t want them to compete with the existing native vegetation if they end up inside existing reveg beds or remnant areas.
But, if you are willing to provide some information on the origin of the seed you are using/intend to use, the manner in which it was collected, the particular species and number of plants, there may be some potential to tie the plants in with a planned planting event.
Keep an eye on our event calendar to join in our planting events - usually held May to September each year.