Platypus in the Merri - the work continues

26th September 2022

It was, of course, a difficult mission, because we know from the research report commissioned by the Merri Paddle – Returning Platypuses to the Merri Creek, by Josh Griffiths of enviroDNA,  that the iconic animal finds life pretty tough in our beloved waterway.

The problems facing the platypus were very much in evidence on 18 September: a very high flow, bordering on torrential, thanks to the conversion of the Merri over many years into an urban drain. These unnatural flows wipe out the macroinvertebrate species – the water bugs – on which the platypus depends for its diet. While there might be the occasional sightings in the Merri, as migrating animals look for territory, they don’t stay long for want of food.

But undaunted, Tash Pace from ACF, and Julia Cirillo and Peter Ewer, from the Merri Paddle, talked through these issues with thirty hardy souls eager to know more about what needs to be done to encourage the return of the platypus. Three groups explored different parts of the confluence with the Yarra. They saw at first hand the issues facing the Merri and saw plenty of evidence why FoMC is campaigning for specific new initiatives to further remediate the Creek. These are contained in our election prospectus, which will be put to parties and candidates standing at the state election in November.

If we want a living Merri, more needs to be done: notably by protecting the headwaters from over-development through declaration of the wallan wallan and marram baba regional parks, more effective planning controls, more wetland construction, the installation of toxic contaminant traps and more.


people with binoculars looking out from the river bank



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