Photograph by Robert Lee.
Annually, FFDC co-hosts events that enhance the Dandenong Creek catchment area. These events welcome the expertise and enthusiasm of many local individuals and groups. Our highest priority is planting, and we dedicate time to initiating, organising and carrying out planting events. We also assist with litter reduction efforts, environmental education and increasing awareness of the rich indigenous flora and fauna in our area.
Some of the highlights of the FFDC year include:
World Environment Day (March)
Clean up Australia Day (March)
National Tree Day (August)
Workshops (throughout the year)
KES Spring Fair (October)
Save our Skinks (SoS)
In Melbourne's East, the Swamp Skink (Lissolepis coventryi) and the Glossy Grass Skink (Pseudemoia rawlinsoni) are under significant threat due to the impacts on their habitat through rapid urbanisation, the draining of wetlands, and the pollution of waterways and changes in climate. Over the last few decades, survey efforts have recorded declining numbers of these skinks.
SoS is a focused approach to lizard conservation, dedicated to population monitoring, and habitat creation and enhancement. This program is made possible through community and government funding.
There are two main components to the SoS program, habitat creation and development, and population surveys. To conduct the surveys, citizen scientists visist bushland along Dandenong Creek from Bayswater to Vermont, through spring and early summer.
Habitat creation and development
Connolly's Reserve Lizard Lounge
Creation enabled through a Federal Grant in 2019
Key areas of interest include:
Bayswater Retarding Basin
The Mornington Peninsula
Read more about SoS here.
Heathmont’s remaining sugar gilders need help, and you can be part of the solution. This project invites residents to become stewards for wild life.
It wasn’t that long ago Sugar Gliders were a common sight in Heathmont, emerging at dusk and flying past you to their supper. With wildlife corridors critical for our native fauna to survive and thrive, yet due to urban pressures many are disappearing unnoticed.
Sugar gliders are a keystones species that will help us map remaining wildlife corridors. This project, spearheaded by First Friends of Dandenong Creek, and supported by Maroondah Council and Abzeco, records glider occupancy in specially designed, strategically placed nesting boxes. The boxes will be installed in reserves, schools and gardens. Trained experts will check their occupancy regularly and document the findings. Findings will inform a corridor strategy for the Heathmont area that First Friends of Dandenong Creek and Maroondah Council can use to protect, maintain and enhance our corridors. With increasing urban development, the unseen corridors they live and travel in are disappearing.
Residents can join a monitoring group or host a 'nest box' tree home for gliders in their garden. There are 100 new nest boxes to be placed. Monitors will connect with like-minded others in a biannual audit (depending upon COVID restrictions) of gliders in boxes. Furthermore, they will know that their findings will help inform a dynamic corridor development strategy.
If you are interested in supporting this work and can host a nest box in your garden or school, the please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, you must fall within the Sugar Glider survey zone, which is the area bordered by Canterbury Road, Heathmont Road, Dandenong Creek and Wantirna Road.
Wish to thank Hon. Michael Sukkar MP for supporting our application to the Federal Government’s Communities Environment Program
Photograph by Nalina Scarfe.
Creek Crime Stoppers
Pollution monitoring in real-time! The FFDC has deployed real-time sensors strategically within Dandenong Creek between Vermont and Bayswater, which look for characteristics of pollution events, including temperature, pH changes and conductivity. This highlights and helps tackle ongoing pollution issues affecting our community and the wildlife in our creek. When an event occurs, the sensors will relay the information back to an online portal, which will then notify the team, and additionally track the historical pollution events.
The portal will be made publicly available, and is also designed to support the EPA in chasing up the source of the pollution events ultimately.
This type of solution is a first in Australia to be funded and organised by a community group. To help bring this concept to fruition, Dr Dave Sharley and Steve Marshall from Bio2labs (based in Melbourne) who have worked with us previously brought the concept to life. For now, the system will be trailed over the next two weeks, and we will keep everyone up to date with the progress and how you can help.
We thank Alan Tudge MP for supporting our application to the Federal Government’s Communities Environment Program which funded this project. With thanks to Knox Deputy Mayor, Marcia Timmers-Leitch, Jude Dwight and Anthony Bigelow.
Enhancing our Dandenong Creek
A program of work dedicated to improving the health and function of Dandenong Creek. Phase 1 was completed between 2013 and 2018, and involved transforming piped-waterways into creeks, pollution monitoring and removal, the development of billabongs and wetlands through planting, animal surveys, and community engagement. Learn more here.
Phase 2 is currently underway and focuses on further enhancing billabongs, wetlands, parks and floodplains, habitat, community awareness, and pollution reduction. As the project continues, we will see the reinstatement of the creek’s natural water flows and the encouragement of native fish. See more here.
This project is a collaboration between Melbourne Water, EPA Victoria, Knox City Council, Maroondah City Council, City of Monash, City of Whitehorse, First Friends of Dandenong Creek, Heathmont Bushcare, Knox Environment Society, Heathmont History Group, Wurundjeri Tribe Council, Bunurong Land Council, Parks Victoria, Living Links, South East Water, and Yarra Valley Water.
The ‘Learning Journey’ protocol is a central aspect of Phase 2. A Learning Journey orientates and immerses the individual in a place. It encourages disciplined observation of one’s surroundings and thus deeper understandings of the challenges and opportunities that they provide (See Enhancing our Dandenong Creek 2 Parklands, Floodplains, Billabongs & Wetlands: Learning Journey Harvest Report for more).
When visiting reserves in your area, consider recording your own learning journey!
Transforming the Dandenong Creek is a current Living Links project. This project received $1M funding from the Victorian Government’s Out Catchments, Our Communities initiative and combines the efforts of numerous organisations. It is anticipated that by mid 2020, the project will have completed works at 38 sites along 22 kilometres of the creek.
Educational events, working bees, and citizen science monitoring equally add to the success of this program. Learn more here.
FFDC is proud to represent the interests of the Dandenong Creek catchment and wider biodiversity matters through advocacy, petitioning, communications, education, and research. Some examples include:
Assisting community members as they engage in state and federal policy making
Attending local and state government events on behalf of the community, for example in relation to the Healthy Waterways Strategy 2018-2028 and the Enhancing our Dandenong Creek program
Working with local Friends' groups to achieve a united voice in support of environmental matters
Co-hosting educational workshops for all ages
As part of Sustainability Victoria’s TAKE2, Friends of Dandenong Creek has taken the pledge to invest in low carbon tools and technologies, in order to contribute to a greener and cleaner future for Victoria. We have taken this pledge for its motivating capacity and symbolic importance. It enables the group to focus on one of the key issues for Australia and the world: climate change. With this pledge, we play our part by:
Inspiring and engaging others
Providing culture and leadership
Using equipment strategically
Enhancing natural environments
Engaging in responsible purchasing
Actively reducing waste
See more and take your own pledge here.