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Mernda/South Morang - Northern Melbourne

Developers Overkill

Red Gum Rape and Pillage

Sediment kills native fish

Plenty River at imminent threat

Macquarie Perch a threatened species have been recorded in the lower regions of the Plenty River.

2005 Google Earth image of Plenty River just off Bridge Inn Road. Note existing bridge to the left of picture.

November 2006: 'Bridge builders' Yarra Valley Water on the Plenty River. The river is choked with Duck weed at this point, giving the river a red appearance. Note earthworks been carried out in the river itself. Where is Parks Victoria and why weren't Environment Australia informed under the EPBC Act.

November 16: Very little leeway between the Plenty River and the turbid construction water. What happens in a flood?

November 2006: Ditto with access road in foreground on eastern side of the Plenty River. Have the developers got permission from Environment Australia to carry out these works? Why is another bridge required over the Plenty at this point as a perfectly good bridge is already present on Bridge Inn road, 50 metres away.

This land is zoned RFO (Rural Flooding Overlay) under the Whittlesea Planning Scheme. It is also zoned PAO1 (Public Aquisition Overlay) and H012 Heritage Overlay on the western side.

November 2006: Another view of eastern side track. This image also reveals where basalt has been 'jack-hammered', most likely for bridge pylons.

November 2006: Piles of sediment ready to wash into the Plenty River in the event of rain.

November 2004: The Plenty River downstream, which is in threat of sedimentation by activities upstream.

November 2004: Another Yarra Valley Water operation at Mernda. This is for a pumping station in very close proximity to the Plenty River. This soil dump is over 100 metres in length and straddles a ridge which is located next to the Plenty River.

November 2006: Approximate locations of soil dump and pumping station construction site, in comparison to the Plenty River at Mernda..

November 2006: Construction site for the pumping station.

November 2006: Plenty River pool. Note quality of water. Soil dump located in close proximity. Large rainfall events could dislodge large amounts of this soil. What is the long term management plan for this soil stockpile?

November 2006: Another view of the stockpile in close proximity to the Plenty River.


Red Gum rape and pillage

All of the redgums in this google earth image exist no longer. Plenty Road Mernda.

November 2006: Piles of redgum ready for sale. Where is this firewood sourced from?

November 2006: Redgums illegally cleared by developers. By Tim Vainoras

Whittlesea Leader Page 1, Tuesday November 14, 2006.


This river red gum took at least 100 years to grow but only minutes to be chainsawed, along with seven others on Melbourne Cup Day, sparking outrage and a council investigation.

The illegal felling of eight river red gums in South Morang, two more than 100 years old, has outraged residents, community groups and Whittlesea Council.

In full view of Plenty Rd, two men used chainsaws to slash the trees last Tuesday about 11.30am.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she "felt sick" and "helpless" as she saw the two 30m-tall trees crash down on vacant land on Plenty Road behind the Commercial Hotel. Whittlesea Council has vowed to find and prosecute the offenders but will not say who owns the land, a future residential development site.

The neighbour said: "It was a huge river red gum that was home to 50 or so cockatoos.

"We heard what we thought was whipper-snipping . . . when I went to check I was confronted by these two chopping the trees. I was shocked and really we knew there was nothing you could do about it. I felt sick."

Mayor John Fry called the fellings "wanton destruction in broad daylight" and said the vandals faced thousands of dollars in fines per tree and being forced to replant river red gums there.

"There is no way that any future developer will be able to benefit from this vandalism" he said. "It's either they don't understand the planning scheme, or the law or they are just plain stupid." The trees were protected under the Whittlesea planning scheme.

Plenty Valley Conservation Group president David Trenerry said the destruction was "absolutely appalling", adding:

"The community is simply outraged that this part of our native heritage has been destroyed." He said developers should have to secure river red gum sites and consult the community.

In August, a construction company director was fined $1000 for illegally felling a 300 year old river red gum in Epping. He had to pay $5000 in tree planting and $13,000 in legal costs.


September 22, 2006: BMX construction just off Bruces Creek near Whittlesea. Also note lack of sediment control. Bruce Creek is a tributary of the Plenty River.

Bruce creek floodplain.


Macquarie Perch were once quite common in the Murray Darling Basin. However, due to environmental problems in the Basin including dam building, snag removal, sedimentation, destruction of habitat (and more recently drought and bushfires), the fish is now being considered to be listed as critically endangered. The Yarra (and Plenty?) population was actually introduced into the river in the 1920's, most likely by recreational fishermen taking wild fish from a source from over the Great Divide.

The major threat to the long term survival of the Macquarie Perch is siltation. "Siltation has probably been an important factor in the decline of this species in Victoria: erosion silt fills in deep holes, thereby destroying preferred habitat, and blankets the substrate, thereby providing unfavourable conditions for the demersal eggs and affecting the composition of the benthic fauna which forms the main part of the diet" Codwaller and Backhouse 1983. A Guide to the Freshwater Fish of Victoria. Both Grayling and Macquarie Perch prefer clear cool water flowing over gravel river beds in sections that alternate between rapids and pools. These are characteristics of the Yarra and Plenty Rivers.