Urban ecology

What can an 'urban ecology' scenario look like?

What would you do if you could redesign a park and you had an unlimited budget and your only requirement was to enhance urban ecology?

We asked this question, using a hypothetical park in Moonee Valley as an example and came up with a range of small interventions, management changes and big budget ideas. The value of doing this work is that the scenario can now inform the development of future park designs by providing ideas that can be incorporated into other projects and sites.

View our Urban Ecology Strategy 2014 (pdf, 4.17MB).

Have you noticed your local wildlife?

We would like to know about the plants and animals living in our city to help protect our local reserves and develop our environmental strategies. Tell us below if you have seen wildlife you have never seen before in your neighbourhood.

Helpful information we would like to know about your sighting:

  • When and where did you see it?
  • How many of them did you see?
  • Was it a breeding pair with young?
  • Was it dead or live?
  • Was it injured?
  • Is it a regular visitor?

We have created a flora and fauna map of Moonee Valley (pdf, 1.33MB), showing what native animals and plants you might see when you are out and about.

How you can help

You can assist our native wildlife by:

  • creating a wildlife-friendly garden
  • observing and report changes in wildlife numbers and habitat to your local council and the Department of Sustainability and Environment
  • reporting sick or injured wildlife to a wildlife rescue organization
  • donating old towels, pillowslips, knitted pouches to wildlife organisation
  • becoming a wildlife carer yourself

BowerBird

Have you taken any photos or videos of birds, insects or other local nature within Moonee Valley? You can now upload to Moonee Valley's BowerBird Page.

Planting guide for residents

We encourage you to plant native vegetation in preference to introduced species. Gardens containing plants indigenous to Moonee Valley can provide a number of benefits to residents and our local environment:

  • Already adapted to the soils and climate of the area and therefore tend to grow well without much attention
  • Use to our rainfall trends and can usually tolerate dry conditions
  • Provide habitat for native animals such as birds, mammals, lizards, insects and frogs
  • Create connection to habitat in surrounding areas
  • Low maintenance once established, only requiring a bit of pruning and weeding

The Moonee Valley Planting Guide for Residents provides a list of common weeds found in Moonee Valley and some of the local indigenous plants that could be used in their place.

For further information please contact the Conservation Team on 9243 8888.

Bees

Did you know that bees are responsible for pollinating a third of our food supply? This means that bees are essential to our way of life, and so we‘re very proud of our efforts to manage them as sustainably as possible.

Starting with the relocation of a colony from an Essendon roundabout to a local apiary in August 2017, we now rehome bees found on Council land wherever possible. This can be to any number of local apiaries, and is in preference to exterminating them.

Urban honey bees in particular are very successful as they have access to a wider variety of flowers than their country counterparts who mainly have access to seasonal crops.

What you can do

If you find a bee hive on your property, you can organise for its safe removal by contacting a local apiarist.

If you find a bee hive on Council land, please call us on 9243 8888 and we will organise for the safe and sustainable rehoming of bees where possible. Remember, don’t be afraid of bees, but do keep a safe distance away and don’t try to poison or remove them yourself.

Volcano Dreaming

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Volcano Dreaming is a portable exhibition available to schools and community groups for hire. It showcases the biodiversity of one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems; the wildflower grasslands of the volcanic plains that stretch from Melbourne, across most of southern Victoria.

Dozens of different species of flowers, birds, insects, lizards, and marsupials bring the exhibition to life. Children will enjoy spotting all the creatures hidden in the grass, under rocks or under water, while short vignettes educate the viewer on the ancient formation of the land from lava flows, the fauna and flora that call it home, and the impacts that European settlement has had.

Since the arrival of the Europeans in the early nineteenth century, this natural landscape has been transformed dramatically. Some animals and plants have been driven to extinction, while the existence of many others is marginal and severely under threat.

The engaging display aims to show you something of the original world of the western plains, what has happened to it, what is being done to help preserve it, what remains of it and what you can do to help.

The exhibition is a 12m by 2m photographic panorama that merges more than 3000 photographs taken during more than 100 field trips over a three year period.

Educational activities and worksheets which complement the exhibition are available online. For more information or to request a booking please contact environment@mvcc.vic.gov.au or call 9243 8888.  

Pobblebonk: Animals of the Maribyrnong River Estuary

This 10 panel panoramic depicts the many animals and plants that inhabit the lower Maribyrnong River.

It is remarkable how many different species, indigenous and introduced, still live in the estuary despite a city growing up around it. It is also remarkable what food chains, food webs and biological neighbourhoods remain relatively intact or workable.

Detailed information about the animals depicted in the exhibition are available online. For more information or to request a booking please contact environment@mvcc.vic.gov.au or call 9243 8888.  

The Indian Myna

Moonee Valley is home to a diverse range of bird species, however not all are welcomed guests into our gardens. The Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis) is a bird native to Asia and India. It was first introduced into Melbourne in 1862 in an attempt to control pests in market gardens.

An intelligent and aggressive bird, the Indian Myna has been able to thrive in urban environments because of its adaptability. As we modify the urban environment, it has become increasingly unsuitable for many of our native species, and opportunistic and adaptable species have flourished, such as the Indian Myna, Starling and Blackbird.

Moonee Valley has and continues to increased habitat that encourages and favours native species. This has the dual effect of both supporting native wildlife and reducing the preferred habitat and foraging ground of the Indian Myna. While this may not result in ‘rapid’ removal of the Indian Myna, we believe that this is the best strategy for long-term success.

You can help by implementing a few simple steps to deter pest species:

  • Remove suitable vegetation such as exotics and replacing with native alternative
  • Close off access to nesting sites such as roofs, eaves and nest boxes
  • Indian Mynas are an accomplished scavengers, feed pets inside and limit food left outside (such as poultry grains and food scraps)

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Above: The Indian Mynah

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Above: Our native Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) often confused with the invasive Indian Myna

Snakes in Moonee Valley

The most common snakes in Moonee Valley are the brown and tiger snakes. The tiger snake varies in colour and pattern but most frequently has alternating light and dark bands. Tiger snakes are generally frightened of you and will try to get away when approached. The brown snake is silvery to chocolate brown coloured and has a very small head. Brown snakes can be aggressive when provoked.

Snake bites

If you are bitten by a snake, immediately call 000 to seek urgent medical advice and stay calm.

If you suspect that your pet might have been bitten by a snake, take it to a vet immediately. If they seem to recover after a snake bite, that is a strong indication of a fatal bite. Don’t wait and see – you may lose a valued family friend.

Snake season

Please be on the lookout during snake season - from September to February.

As the weather warms up snakes may appear in open spaces, parks and even our own gardens, usually in search of water, food or somewhere to hide.

Reserves are great places to relax but remember they are also the natural habitat for snakes. Take care when walking along creeks and bike tracks, and make sure you keep your dog on a lead in parks where snakes may be present, especially along waterways.

Snakes are an essential part of natural food chains, both as food for other animals and as predators of small animals, including mice, rats and frogs. If you encounter a snake, leave it alone and slowly walk away. If you see a snake on your property it’s safest to have it taken away by a professional wildlife controller.

Remember it is illegal to kill, keep or catch snakes in Victoria unless you are licensed to do so.

Discouraging snakes from your property

In hot dry conditions snakes sometimes move in to residential areas – usually in search of water, food or somewhere to hide. A well-maintained garden is less likely to attract them.

  • Cut your grass regularly - start cutting close to your house and work outwards as snakes head away from vibrations
  • Keep backyard materials to a minimum. Things leaning against your fence make good hiding places for snakes
  • Remember that pets like chickens, rabbits and birds attract mice – a favourite food for snakes

Swooping season

Residents are reminded to keep an eye out for swooping birds during the spring breeding season. Together with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, we encourages residents to highlight swoop sites in the local area. Report the swooping location by adding a 'swoop site' directly to the map on their website, or tweet @DELWP_Vic with the location details and #swoopvic.

You can also download the free Swoop Off kit from the department's website. It includes tips to reduce the risk of a swoop attack and a set of printable eyes to attach to the back of helmets and hats that may dissuade birds from swopping.

For further information, visit www.delwp.vic.gov.au or call 136 186.

Wildlife organisations servicing Moonee Valley

Wildlife Victoria – 1300 094535

Wildlife Victoria is a volunteer wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organisation that runs a 24-hour emergency hotline for people to report injured, sick or orphaned wildlife.

More information

For more information, contact our Conservation Officers on 9243 8888 or environment@mvcc.vic.gov.au

Last updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2017, 11:33 PM