Kermit introduces the Black throated finches threatened by Adani
Kermit, the Growling Grass Frog couldn’t resist the opportunity of hitching a ride in my bag to Bonn, Germany and COP23. What frog doesn’t want to see the world beyond their own wetlands? Especially when their species is declining and climate change may be an important factor determining future species survival?
Kermit was centre stage at the Fossil of the Day awards on Day 2 of the conference, when Australia received it’s first Fossil of the Day award for the Adani coal mine.
The 23rd meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – to give it it’s full title – was held from 6 to 17 November in Bonn, Germany, under the presidency of the government of Fiji, the first time that a small island nation has served in this role.
I was attending the conference along with Andrea Bunting as members of Climate Action Moreland, part of the Climate Action Network Australia, a node of the global Climate Action Network, an environmental NGO (also called an ENGO).
Congratulations to Friends of Merri Creek for receiving $50,000 in community biodiversity grant funding from the state government for their program: The Secret Seven: Seeds for our Flora’s Future.
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio visited the sheoak woodlands at Moomba Park in Fawkner on September 14 where the announcement was made that an additional $4 million will go towards community-based projects in the latest round of grants under the Biodiversity On-ground Action program. (See Ministerial press release)
While Fawkner residents still have unanswered questions with the EPA over the Fawkner toxic site, a recent spill in Campbellfield was promptly acted upon by the EPA.
A spill of tomato salsa from Baxters Foods Australia P/L, of Jesica Road, Campbellfield into a drain that connects with Merri Creek brought prompt action of a fine issued for $7773 and a notice and a legally enforceable instruction to the company to modify and install controls to ensure waste from the site is not able to enter the soil or stormwater.
Matted Flax lilly
Here in the City of Moreland we have a highly urbanised environment, but we still have parks and creeks that permeate through our suburbs. A wealth of natural species, including at least 36 threatened species, manage to co-exist with human settlement and all of our buildings and roads.
Today – September 7 – is National Threatened Species Day, and we should pay attention to the species threatened with extinction in both our local environment and nationally.
Here in Moreland some species have learnt to live among the houses and roads and in the street trees we have planted.
Many more live in the parkland environments along watercourses and flood mitigation basins and wetlands, including along Merri Creek, Moonee Ponds Creek and Merlynston Creek.
A few find some refuge along the Upfield rail verge. Some find solace and nesting holes in mature trees and live among our dead in the Fawkner and Northern Memorial Cemeteries.
At least 36 threatened species partially live or visit Moreland. Many are bird species which visit the area, but we also have moths, lizards, dragons, fish, frogs, flying foxes and grassland flowers. Each is unique.
So we have dioxin contaminated site at 100 and 102 McBryde st, Fawkner, and now VicRoads wants to subdivide 104B McBryde street just north of the contaminated site.
Perhaps 25 houses and a road to go in. The subdivision plan encroaches closer than 50 metres to Merri creek which means it fails to comply with Moreland’s open space strategy.
We need a full and open environmental audit of the contaminated site and surrounds before we do any sub-division and development. That’s simple precautionary principle.
The risks from living near a toxic site are not clear, but if not managed properly could have a high impact on population health. We have already seen cancer clusters on McBryde street and in Reservoir in the surrounding area to the NuFarm site in the past.
Therefore we need to use the precautionary principle and oppose this sub-division development until we know the long term remediation and management of the toxic site is in hand.
The State Government announced $1.7 million upgrade to develop visitor infrastructure, including 6km of new bike and walking paths, at Merri Creek Park in Campbellfield. But we are still to see any commitment to build important bicycle shared use paths in Campbellfield: the extension of Merri Creek Trail and Extension of the Upfield bike path to Barry Road at Upfield.
The Money for the Merri Creek Park facilities comes from the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) fund. The 6 km of new paths will improve some community access to the 650 hectare green space in Campbellfield, which hosts nationally significant native grasslands. It is a real pity there is no public commitment from state MPs to fund the missing links that would help connect the park and local residential suburbs.
Friends of Merri Creek: You’re invited to the November bird surveys along Merri Creek. See meeting points below.
On Sunday 20 November from 8:45am – 10:30am
at Galada Tamboore, Egan-Strettle Reserves Coburg East, CERES Blyth St-Moreland Rd, Kirkdale-Merri Parks, Clifton Hill, Edwardes Lake and Galgi Ngarrk/Craigieburn Grasslands.
On Sunday 27 November from 8:45am – 10:30am
at Bababi Djinanang and Coburg Lake.
Beginner-birders are welcome to Friends of Merri Creek surveys, as well as experienced birders. Bring binoculars if you have them, and closed-in footwear, sun-hat or raingear if necessary, and drinking water. No dogs, please.
Survey meeting points:
Galgi Ngarrk (Craigieburn Grasslands): Meet at the O’Herns Road gate off Hume Highway, Somerton (Melway 180 E6). Note this survey can take up to 12 noon to complete.
Galada Tamboore: Meet at the end of Hatty Court, Campbellfield (Melway 7 K6).
Egan Reserve-Harding St-Strettle Reserve: Meet at the steps at end of The Grove, East Coburg (Melway 30 A3).
Edwardes Lake: Meet at the playground adjacent to Griffiths Street, Reservoir (Melway 18 E5).
CERES to Moreland Road: Meet at the seats on the Merri Path at rear of CERES near Blyth Street, East Brunswick (Melway 30 B7).
Kirkdale Reserve & Merri Park: Meet at the end of Victoria Street, East Brunswick, at barbecue shelter (Melway 30 B8).
Hall Reserve Clifton Hill: Meet at the Rotunda, Hall Reserve, Clifton Hill (Melway 2D D1).
Coburg Lake Reserve: Meet near the car park, Lake Grove Coburg (Melway 17 H10).
Bababi Djinanang: Meet on the Merri Path at the end of Jukes Road, Fawkner (Melway 18 A2).
Ever wanted to be a citizen scientists? Here is your chance to help out in Fawkner.
Merri Creek Management Committee and Friends of Merri Creek invite you to participate in the Flax Lily & Blue-banded Bee Wild Pollinator Count.
What: Flax Lily & Blue-banded Bee Wild Pollinator Count
When: Sunday 13 November, 10am-12.30pm
Where: Meet in the Parklands at the east end of Jukes Rd Fawkner
(Melway 18 A2).
Visit the Lily and Blue Banded Bee project sites, place a Bee Hotel & count the wild pollinators!
Refreshments will be provided.
Phone Ray or Monica at MCMC 9380 8199. This project is funded by Victorian Government’s Threatened Species Grant and the many generous donors of a crowdfunding campaign!
Inspecting the grasslands
For October 2016 Fawkner Library features a unique exhibition of photographs showing the Merri Creek Valley before and during it’s transformation over the last 40 years.
Pop in to the library to enjoy this free exhibition and appreciate the work of so many people, many volunteers to make Merri Creek an important natural ecosystem refuge in our urban environment.
The photographic exhibition is by the Merri Creek Management Committee and the Friends of Merri Creek.
Featuring ‘before and after’ photographs illustrating the transformation of Merri Creek from a drain and dumping ground to a waterway and a much-loved bushland corridor, the exhibition celebrates the ongoing collaborative efforts by community volunteers, local Councils, government agencies and others. While there is still much to be done, the creek continues to improve.
Event: Monday 03 October 2016 to Friday 28 October 2016 during Fawkner Library Open hours
Monday and Thursday 11 am – 5.30 pm
Tuesday 11 am – 8 pm
Wednesday and Friday 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday 10 am – 1 pm
Tree planting August 2014
Merri Creek Management Committee and Friends of Merri Creek have another tree planting in Fawkner on Mother’s Day, Sunday 8 May, 2016
Everyone is invited to help out at this event:
On Mother’s Day, help Mother Earth by planting to add to the habitat along Merri Creek.
There’s also skin art for children and you can learn about local Aboriginal culture. Later, enjoy a free barbecue with vegetarian and Halal options.
When: Sunday, May 8 at 10 AM – 12:30 PM
Where: East end of Jukes Road, Fawkner (Melways Map 18 A2)
In the past these plantings of trees and native grasses have been enormously successful. Come along and meet your neighbours. Help restore the habitat and ensure wildlife diversity along the Merri Creek.