Merbein Common has a new lease on life, following the completion of a huge program of community-led environmental works delivered across the Common and nearby wetlands.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville said the major rejuvenation was part of the Andrews Labor Government’s record $222 million investment in waterway and catchment health across the state.
Merbein Common was identified as one of 36 priority waterways in Water for Victoria – the Labor Government’s long-term water plan, which recommends large scale restoration over the next 30 years.
Over the past three years an extensive program of works has been led by local advocates, with the final result delivering significant environmental, social, cultural, economic benefits to the local community.
The highlight of the Merbein Common project is the upgrade of The Cutting to improve public safety and access, while better protecting the area’s fragile wetland environments.
New walking tracks, viewing and camping areas, native vegetation and erosion control have been delivered across the site, while bollards have been strategically placed to help severely degraded areas of floodplain naturally regenerate with native vegetation.
This will improve habitat for the area’s native animals such as the Carpet Python and Growling Grass Frog, while providing a great community space for all to enjoy.
Other works undertaken across Merbein Common include the installation of more visitor facilities, upgrades to more than 23 kilometres of roads to secure all-weather access, more than 3.7 hectares of native vegetation and seven kilometres of fencing.
Water for the environment is also being delivered to the area’s nationally significant wetlands, such as Cowanna Billabong, Brickworks Billabong and Lake Hawthorn, benefiting local waterbirds and other wildlife.
The works were coordinated by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority, in partnership with Parks Victoria.
Traditional Owners and community groups such as the Friends of Merbein Common, Yelta Landcare Group and Mildura 4WD Club were heavily involved in the planning, prioritisation and delivery of works.
As stated by Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“Merbein Common is a fantastic example of the difference we can make when the community is at the centre of decision making – helping to deliver environmental, social and cultural benefits.”
As stated by Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp
“It’s been three years in the making, but the improvements made to Merbein Common will ensure this great community space can stand the test of time and continue to thrive.”