Merricks-Coolart Catchment Landcare Group aims to protect the diversity and extent of natural ecosystems and species in the catchment and to protect and improve the quality of water in the catchment’s waterways. Merricks-Coolart Catchment Landcare has members from across the catchment which includes Balnarring, Balnarring Beach, Merricks, Merricks North, Somers and parts of Red Hill.
View along the Balnarring Biolink to the skate park on Feb ’23 working bee
Like all Landcare groups, we focus on the environment, catering to a wide range of interests including sustainable farming, feral animal control, plant identification, weed control and more. We are an active, friendly group. Activities include working bees on private and public land, tours of member properties, information sessions, and a biolink (wildlife corridor) project.
Being a member of the group gives you access to information about many exciting opportunities relating to sustainable land management, including free workshops and courses, and funding opportunities to help you manage your land sustainably.
Joining is easy. Click on MCCL Brochure and follow the instructions in that. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and say you want to join, or register online by clicking on the ‘Get Involved’ button to the right of this page.
Linking the Mornington Peninsula Landscape Project
The Linking the Mornington Peninsula Landscape (LMPL) project aims to reconnect fragmented remnants of indigenous vegetation to create wildlife corridors on the Mornington Peninsula. LMPL assists Mornington Peninsula Landcare groups and landholders to develop collaborative local biolink plans for catchments across the Peninsula.
This year, the Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network received funding from the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria to complete the Merricks-Coolart Catchment Landcare Biolink Plan. Landholder engagement is key to LMPL, which works with local Landcare groups to empower landholders and Landcarers to plan and implement private land conservation in a strategic and coordinated manner. If you are a landholder in the Merricks-Coolart catchment area and are interested in being part of this project, please contact LMPL.
Balnarring to Bay Biolink Project
This exciting initiative aims to connect remnant vegetation across public and private land to arrest the decline of native flora and fauna, commencing at the Balnarring Skate Park and connecting to the mouth of the Merricks Creek at Somers.
The Balnarring to Bay biolink connects the Civic Court Reserve with Balbirooroo Wetlands, then follows a natural drainage line to Merricks Creek through to Western Port, connecting fragmented areas of remnant vegetation. It will expand the habitat of native fauna and increase the threatened Swamp Paperbark vegetation. The drainage line meanders through private property to Merricks Creek, then through
crown land to Somers. This area forms part of the Western Port Biosphere.
Landholders stand to benefit from well-designed indigenous plantings that provide protection and shelter for pastures and stock, prevent salinity, reduce water run-off and improve soil structure.
The project has been broken into 3 stages:
1. Balnarring Primary School to Merricks Creek
2. Skate Park to Balnarring Primary School
3. Drainage line/Merricks Creek to Merricks Creek/Western Port Bay
A group of 20 dedicated growers have been growing plants for the biolink after attending workshops with Rohan from Peninsula Bushworks to learn how to grow plants from seed and which plants are appropriate to grow in the bioloink area. Several sites have been identified for revegetation and planting is underway with more working bees to be organised.
Pine Tree Removal Project
Our application to remove 213 pine trees in the old railway reserve land behind Balnarring Hall has been granted by the Mornington Shire Council. This area will form part of our biolink stretching from Civic Court Reserve, Balnarring, to the Western Port coast at Somers.
Once the removal of the pine trees is completed this area will be revegetated with indigenous species in such a way as to enhance the visual and natural values of this area and with the newly established Civic Court Reserve will complement the indigenous vegetation at Balbirooroo
It will connect fragmented areas of remnant vegetation, expand the habitat for native fauna and increase the range of threatened Swamp Paperbark vegetation. It will also create a safe corridor for the local koala population, which is under increasing pressure from habitat loss, dog attacks and vehicles.
The removal of the pine trees and their replacement with Indigenous species will provide valuable opportunities for creating exciting learning situations, not only for the community at large, who we would encourage to get involved, but also for the nearby kindergarten and primary school.
Before we can begin any work, our big challenge is to raise the considerable funds required to undertake this work. To that end we will be applying for grants and engaging in other fund-raising activities. Suggestions from members about ways in which we can approach fund-raising are welcome.
Regular Working Bees
Merricks Coolart Landcare hosts regular working bees on public and private land, including biolink properties and Buckleys Reserve. If you have some spare time and would like to help protect biodiversity in the catchment, events are updated on the events calendar on a regular basis.
Regular Walk and Talks
Education, engagement and exploration. If you would like to learn about and explore local reserves and other biodiversity hot spots with Merricks Coolart Landcare, events are updated on the events calendar on a regular basis.