Grant success

26th February 2024
This update shares news of recent success for Merri Creek in the Green Links Grant Program.

Grant success!

Last Tuesday we learnt of the Merri Creek Management Committee’s successful submission in the Green Links Grant Program, funded by the state government.

The project, Connecting up Communities - Corridors and Refuges for Urban Fauna, will provide a fully functioning ecosystem through connections and habitat for wildlife along a 4km stretch between these 6 locations along Merri Creek:

  • Tate Reserve (Coburg);

  • Kingfisher Gardens (Brunswick East);

  • Merri Park (Northcote);

  • Northcote Golf Course and Bracken Creek (Northcote/Thornbury); and

  • Strettle Lagoon (Thornbury/Preston).

With greater population density, and rising demand, especially during lockdowns, urban waterways and parklands were increasingly being loved to death. This project will allow urban fauna to persist and coexist with people’s need for recreation and public open space, providing opportunities for low-key passive recreation.

The project is to be carried out over 2 years, with plantings occurring in 2025. Features of the project include:

  • 3 fenced, densely planted dog-free refuge areas providing safety and shelter for urban populations of Swamp Wallabies and small insectivorous woodland birds;

  • weed control works along the riparian frontage on both sides of Merri Creek between Harding St, Coburg and Eunson Ave, Northcote. The weed species are designated high-threat weeds including, Wandering Tradescantia (Tradescantia fluminensis), Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans), Pampas, Lily-of-the-Valley (Salpichroa origanofolia) and Cape Ivy (Delairea odorata);

  • over 17,000 mid and ground-storey shrubs, grasses and herbs to improve habitat connectivity;

  • community participation in the delivery of the project:  building knowledge and fostering stewardship of the creek;

  • nest boxes and monitoring opportunities; and

  • sourcing of plants largely from local provenances, including from locations with a current climate matching Melbourne’s future predicted climate to improve resilience and allow adaptation to changing climates.

Small insectivorous birds, such as Spotted Pardalotes, will benefit from the increase of dense mid story habitat. They are currently being chased away by the larger aggressive birds (e.g. Noisy Miners, Rainbow Lorikeets), flourishing along the creek, thanks to the vast array of non-indigenous flowering plants growing in urban gardens. Larger populations of these small birds will help to keep insects such as psyllids contained. Psyllids are currently breeding out of control and impacting heavily on tree health.

Shady habitat along the creek banks and improved vegetation quality will improve conditions to encourage habitat for the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act-listed Platypus. Platypus often migrate up the Merri Creek from the Yarra River, but do not linger due to a lack of suitable habitat.

In all, the program funded 23 successful submissions to benefit waterways and wildlife.

Our congratulations, too, to 3 local groups on their success:

  • Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek - funding to rehabilitate and revegetate a 0.25ha section of the Creek between two existing Reserves at Hopetoun Reserve (upstream) and Brady Reserve (downstream). This will extend the bio-link for fauna and flora along the Creek, with re-plantings to utilise indigenous species;

  • Friends of Edgars Creek - funding to revegetate, connect and restore sections of Edgars Creek corridor through Newlands and North Coburg. The project will support a nature play area, weed removal, new habitat areas to encourage foraging native insects and improve habitats for reptiles, especially the Tussock Skink. This is listed as endangered under the Victorian Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act; and

  • Friends of Edwardes Lake - funding to create habitat at Edwardes Lake, Edgars Creek Wetlands and Edgars Creek. The project will remove weeds and plant indigenous plants and install infrastructure to support birdlife. This includes nestboxes for Wood Ducks, Microbats, Kookaburra and Possums and habitat logs for native Turtles. There will also be some educational signage for the Turtles.

  • Whittlesea Community Connections – funding to revegetate a section of the Curly Sedge Creek running through the Wollert Community Farm property, adjacent to galgi ngarrk. The project will restore degraded Creekline Tussock Grasslands and reintroduce the endangered Curly Sedge (Carex tasmanica) to this portion of the creek..

    Curly Sedge Creek is a tributary of Merri Creek. The Wollert Community Farm is auspiced by Whittlesea Community Connections and is located on land owned by Yarra Valley Water, on the buffer land for their Aurora Water Treatment Plant.

More to read:

Green Links Grants, 2024
Faithfull, Tony, Swamp wallaby movements on Lower Merri Creek, 2020
Merri Paddle - working to bring the Platypus back to Merri Creek
Victoria's Framework for Conserving Threatened Species

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