Yarra River Blitz



The Yarra River is the largest contributor of litter into the Bay. Much of the litter entering the Bay is trapped in reed beds in the lower Yarra. These areas are extremely difficult to access. Furthermore, the small size of litter in these areas make litter collection time consuming and expensive. This project aims to remove accumulated waste from reed beds in the lower Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers using a unique approach which incorporates a boat mounted vacuum system with traditional waterway cleaning techniques. This project will greatly reduce the amount of litter and microplastics residing in the Yarra and Maribyrnong and will prevent millions of pieces of litter from escaping into the Bay annually.

In April 2018, in collaboration with Melbourne Water, Cleanwater Group and Melbourne Water, five tonnes of litter and polystyrene contaminated soil were vacuumed and removed from the Yarra reed bed system. The 5-day blitz culminated in a community event which drew over 200 attendees from across Melbourne who collected 450 kg of rubbish from the river. The Blitz attracted a lot of media attention including extensive coverage on the second season of ‘War on Waste’. Following the success of the pilot and due to a successful Bay Fund application, the Yarra Riverkeeper Association is running additional blitzes within the lower Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers over the next two years.

Based on our pilot study, for each blitz, we expect to collect 10 tonnes of waste to be collected over the 10-day period and a maximum of 60 tonnes across the duration of the project. Clean-ups like the Yarra River Blitz are essential to maintaining the ecological health of the river and preventing litter from spreading into the bay. The Blitz also prevents litter and plastics from being consumed by marine life and other animals like birds that live in the river and bay.

Our next Yarra River Blitz is fast approaching! Cleanwater Group and ourselves will be cleaning the river from the 17th to the 25th of May with our litter vacuum system and we would love it if you would come join us for our community clean-up event on the 26th of May at the Melbourne University Boat Club (location may be subject to change). Like our previous blitzes, this will be a water based clean-up where you can get on the water in a canoe/kayak and collect rubbish from the river beds or floating around. Register Here!

We’ll provide some kayaks and canoes, bags, gloves, and safety gear so you can LOVE YOUR RIVER.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Microplastics Report 2018

Dear Riverkeeper members, colleagues, and supporters,

We wanted to update you about exciting news about the release of a report from the EcoCentre about a research project that was done in part with the Yarra Riverkeeper Association. We’ve attached the report to this letter.

On the 17 July 2018, the report was published by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio MP.

This report – which is a part of our ‘Clean Bay Blueprint’ project – details the results of monthly microplastic trawls conducted by the EcoCentre and the Yarra Riverkeeper Association. The trawls have been running from January 2015 to October 2017.

Link to the report: http://www.ecocentre.com/cleanbayblueprint

Posted in: Latest news

You are invited to a community forum …

Two years ago, we called you together to develop a community vision for the Yarra. Now we are calling you together again to take that vision to the next stage. The Yarra and its green corridor has come to a turning point. As Melbourne’s population heads towards 8 million in 2050, pressure is mounting on one of the city’s most precious natural assets. Our river deserves modern governance driven by a long-term vision that is founded on community involvement, a clear strategy that is regularly reviewed, targets, ongoing monitoring and regular reporting. Much progress has been in the two years since our first forum. In February, this year the government announced a Yarra River Action Plan. This provides the policy foundations for the drafting of a Yarra River (Willip-gin Birrarung murron) Protection Bill. This Action Plan includes the preparation of a community vision for our river and a detailed Yarra Strategic Plan. Community participation will be central to the preparation of both
instruments. Join Environmental Justice Australia and the Yarra Riverkeeper to develop the community vision for the Yarra.
Registration: yarraforum2.eventbrite.com.au
When: 6pm to 8pm
Date: 5 April 2017
Place: The Linen Room
Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street

Posted in: Latest news