Merri-bek has a remarkable diversity of indigenous flora and fauna as well as sites with remnant vegetation, especially along our creeks and waterways.
These sites provide critical habitat for many fauna species including reptiles, native birds and possums. They are also sites that are historically and culturally significant to Merri-bek, contributing to the character of our landscape and our sense of place.
To better protect and enhance nature in the City, Council developed a Nature Plan with a vision to support a more diverse, connected and resilient natural environment where native birds and animals thrive and where residents explore, value and connect with nature.
Following two phases of community consultation, Council considered and endorsed the Merri-bek Nature Plan in August 2020 and we are now busy with implementation of the key actions.
Why does Merri-bek need a Nature Plan?
In 2012 Council endorsed the Open Space Strategy and a key goal was the preparation of a Biodiversity Strategy.
A Nature Plan will broaden the scope of the Biodiversity Strategy and give Council direction on how to best manage natural spaces with the expectations of the community and allocated budgets.
It will provide the community an opportunity to have a say in the development of the Plan and ensure these spaces are protected and valued into the future.
What is a natural area?
A natural area is an area of open space which contains natural features of geology, native vegetation, waterways and provides important habitat for a range of animals.
These areas are unique, have evolved over thousands of years and are managed to maintain or improve on these features.
Merri-bek's natural areas are often associated with the creek corridors of the Merri and Moonee Ponds creeks and their tributaries.
How do natural assets benefit the community?
Natural areas are unique spaces that have evolved over many thousands of years. These spaces are often rare in urbanised areas and treasured by the community.
They offer the community a great place to get outdoors, de-stress, relax and encounter wildlife. Many residents volunteer their time to improve and protect these spaces.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity describes all living plants and animals and the areas that support them.
Areas of high biodiversity are often rich in plants and wildlife and more resilient to negative impacts such as climate change.
In urbanized areas such as Merri-bek it is areas of native remnant vegetation that will have the highest levels of biodiversity and by protecting and increasing the coverage and linkages of these areas, it will give us the greatest opportunity to continue to improve biodiversity.
Urban development (through affects such as fragmentation of habitat and lighting) can effect biodiversity values and ways to ameliorate the impacts in an urban environment will need to form part of a Nature Plan for Merri-bek.
You can download the full Nature Plan here.