Paddling hard for the platypus - all things Merri Paddle
26th April 2022
Along with a local chapter of the Australian Conservation Foundation, North by North West, Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC) has formed a sub-group called the Merri Paddle to advocate for the long-term restoration of Merri Creek to create more viable platypus habitat. This will hopefully preserve and increase platypus numbers on the creek, which are currently very low. A number of local community groups have put their support behind the Merri Paddle, including MCMC, Fawkner Residents Association, Friends of Coburg Lake, Friends of Edgars Creek, Friends of Edwardes Lake and Wallan Environment Group.
We’ve already helped the Great Australian Platypus Search with DNA sampling for the platypus in the Merri and we’re awaiting the results. The chief culprit for the decline in platypus numbers over the last three decades is urban stream syndrome– the torrential flows that disrupt the stream’s ecology because we’ve converted it into a drain.
To better understand what we can do to support the platypus, Merri Paddle has raised funds to commission a research report by renowned platypus specialist, Josh Griffiths, of EnviroDNA. His ‘status report’ will collate all information about historic presence of the platypus in Merri Creek and surrounding areas and assess habitats along the creek to identify how we might return the platypus to its rightful place.
The Merri Paddle team will be helping Josh with this project, which will give the Merri Paddle priority sites for community actionwhere we can focus our efforts to increase platypus habitat. The Paddle volunteers will be out and about with Josh as he casts his expert eye over the creek and gives us an insight into what our community action program should look like.
In addition to remediation works in the lower reaches of the Creek, we also need to protect and restore the remnant wetlands in the upper reaches, between Beveridge and Wallan. FoMC is working hard, alongside our friends from the Wallan Environment Group, to have natural reserves declared- the Wallan Regional Park and the Upper Merri Parklands. If we are to do something about urban stream syndrome, the first step is to stop it getting worse, and without these parks, urban development in the upper reaches will only intensify the problem. So, there’s much to do! If you'd like to get involved in Merri Paddle, or for any further information please contact Peter Ewer, firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the The Merri Paddle .