Muswellbrook Shire Council with the support of local community groups and volunteers is returning the much-abused Muscle Creek to its former glory. The aim of the work is to improve the environmental and recreational values of this important waterway.
Muscle Creek, named for the freshwater mussels that were once abundant, is a meandering waterway that runs through Muswellbrook. Over the years of urbanisation, weeds and litter had taken over to the point where the creek had become underutilised and its beauty forgotten.
Council’s Sustainability Coordinator, Mark Scandrett said “There is momentum building amongst the community and they are encouraged by what they are seeing. The Club to Club project is definitely having an impact, and we can now see what a Muscle Creek without weeds and litter will look like. We see the great potential to use Muscle Creek as a showcase for revegetation and sustainability. With community support the creek can become a real community asset and a place where people meet and learn about living sustainably.”
Work to date at Muscle Creek
New South Wales Environmental Trust
The New South Wales Environmental Trust has funded several projects along Muscle Creek. The Club to Club project from 2016 to 2019 helped rehabilitate the riparian zone between the Muswellbrook Golf Club and the Muswellbrook Workers Club.
In 2019 the Muswellbrook Urban Riparian Restoration Project grant funded a rehabilitation project along Muscle Creek adjacent to the Muswellbrook Golf Club.
In 2020 the Rehabilitation of Muscle Creek for Community and Environmental Benefit project was granted for works between the railway line and Muscle Creek.
Muswellbrook Urban Riparian Landcare Masterplan
Council recently adopted the Muswellbrook Urban Riparian Landcare Masterplan. This plan will guide future works around Muswellbrook, including Muscle Creek.
Over five hectares of weeds have been removed from the creek and more than 10,000 native plants have replaced them. Large non-native weed trees such as willows, pepper and pine trees have been removed. This work improves instream and creek bank habitat, allows easier access for recreation, filters pollutants and helps reduce erosion.
Without the support of the community the works undertaken along the creek would not have been possible. See contact details below for how you can be involved.
Muscle Creek Landcare
The Muscle Creek Landcare group and other dedicated volunteers have invested many years into the area, planting numerous native plants and removing weeds. Their close involvement and interest in the waterway has seen the vegetation progressively improve.
The group undertakes activities such as revegetation, clean ups and nursery work.
Club To Club
The Club to Club project, started in 2016, A New South Wales Environmental Trust Restoration and Rehabilitation Grant using the project title “Club to Club” aims at rehabilitating the urban riparian zone between the Muswellbrook Golf Club and the Muswellbrook Workers Club. It relies on a mixture of contractor works and volunteer working bees.
This work has improved habitat and connectivity for threatened and endangered species as well as engaged the community and improved their understanding of the importance of the health of riparian ecosystems.
Nature Trails – The two ‘Muscle Creek Nature Trails’ were constructed by multiple contractors and the NSW Soil Conservation Service. These stepping stone creek crossings, which allow users to cross the creek without blocking fish passage, were assisted by grant funding from the NSW DPI Fisheries’ Recreational Fishing Trust’s “Habitat Action Grant Program”. This project is the first stage of plans to bring the community back into contact with Muscle Creek.
A number of other sections of the Muscle Creek Nature Trail are planned that will integrate with and support proposed works at Olympic Park and the Muswellbrook Aquatic Centre. With picnic areas, informative signage and exercise areas, we are hoping to see a lot more people using Muscle Creek in a responsible manner.
Recreational Fishing Trust’s Habitat Action Grant Program
A Habitat Action Grant from the NSW DPI Fisheries’ Recreational Fishing Trust helped fund the Haydon Street Nature Trail in 2017.
A Fish Habitat Project starting in 2019 was funded by a Recreational Fishing Trust’s Habitat Action Grant Program from the Department of Industry. This work invloved more rehabilitation works between the Muswellbrook Golf Club and Muscle Creek.