February 2nd was World Wetlands Day. I cruised on down to the upper parts of Merri Creek at Moomba Park at Fawkner in the late afternoon light to check out our local wetlands. The creek here appears to be in good condition with relatively few signs of physical pollution (plastic, rubbish).
Freshwater wetlands are important carbon sinks says a new scientific study. The Australian Conservation Society commissioned an economic study of the Hattah wetlands within the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park in northern Victoria estimating the economic value of wetlands conservation and found that if healthy water levels are maintained, each year the wetlands provides millions of dollars in economic services such as water filtration, flood control, water storage and habitat preservation for maintaining biodiversity.
And then there is the harder to value amenity of the natural environment that runs through a highly populated urban area. The Merri Creek shared use path provides ready access to the Merri Creek from it’s Junction with the Yarra River through Brunswick, Northcote, Coburg, Thornbury, Fawkner and Reservoir to the Western Ring Road. After a break with no access to the creek due to Broadmeadows Motor Cycle park and a council tip, the path continues in Campbellfield past the Merri Creek Gorge to the Tamboore Grasslands.
In my late afternoon cycle ride along the creek in Fawkner I found quiet pools with ducks amoung the reeds, trees reflected in the still waters. In between the pools are small rapids where the water gurgles and splashes over rocks. Reeds proliferate along the creek.
In 2010 and 2011 there has even been occasional sightings of platypus in Merri Creek.
I saw a number of groups of people enjoying the tranquility of the Merri Creek Path, both walking and cycling.
We need to respect and support the continued work of Friends of Merri Creek (check out their Events calendar) and the Merri Creek Management Committee for all thier work to maintain and restore the creek environment and ecosystems.
I took several photos of Merri Creek on February 2, 2012 which are at the start in the Merri Creek photoset: