The Northern Tablelands Dung Beetle Express Project
The original Northern Tablelands Dung Beetle Express Project commenced in late 1998 and was funded by the Natural Heritage Trust, Australian Geographic Society and the North West Catchment Management Committee. The project aimed to increase dung beetle activity from The Summit in Queensland to Walcha in New South Wales.
In order to achieve this, 20 monitoring sites were established and the information collected was then used to select sites for beetle harvests and releases across the project area.
The project was very successful and while a key focus is still increasing dung beetle activity and promoting the benefits of dung beetles, the Dung Beetle Express has undertaken several new projects.
The Bundaberg Rum Bush Fund
The Bundaberg Rum Bush Fund financed a joint project between the Dung Beetle Express and the Malpas Catchment Committee in 2004. The project aimed to improve water quality by reducing nutrient runoff in the catchment. This project involved releasing colonies of dung beetle species which had not previously been located in this area.
The Dung Beetle Express is currently expanding on this work with a National Landcare Program funded project in conjunction with the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority. This project is primarily concerned with improving nutrient cycling by increasing beetle species abundance and richness in the catchment area. Dung burial reduces the amount of organic matter and nutrients entering river systems thus enhancing water quality.
Meat & Livestock Australia
Meat &Livestock Australia have supported the Dung Beetle Express by providing funding through a PIRD and then a Super PIRD.
The PIRD funding was used to develop a set of guidelines for harvesting and releasing beetles that could be used by landholders and landcare groups. The aim was to increase the establishment rates of redistributed species. The guide can be downloaded from the “Resources” section of this website.
The Super PIRD is funding an important project looking at the relationship between dung burial and internal parasites of sheep. Over the past twelve months the project has identified what species are utilising sheep dung and is now looking at worm survival. The questions we hope to answer are whether worm eggs can survive burial and, if so, can larvae migrate to the soil surface? This project is important to producers who may be using a rotational grazing system as part of an integrated pest management program as burial may prolong the viability of worm larvae.
Dung Beetles for Landcare Farming
The Dung Beetle Express is also involved with the “Dung Beetles for Landcare Farming” group which is funded by the Orica Community Foundation. This project is supported by Landcare Australia Limited and aims to increase dung beetle abundance and species richness throughout Australia, The key objective is to ensure that all introduced species have reached their maximum distribution potential. Once this has been achieved it may pave the way for introductions of suitable species from overseas.
To achieve these objectives this project will undertake several activities including an Australia wide school’s monitoring project, spot monitoring at some pivotal release sites and the harvesting of some selected species that have yet to reach their geographic distribution. The Orica Community Foundation is also funding the production of a book which will assist in the identification of established introduced species.
The Border Rivers Gwydir CMA has provided funding for fact sheets and a schools' brochure. The fact sheets cover the benefits of dung beetles in relation to buffalo fly and dung beetles in urban situations. The schools' brochure has activities and information for younger shool children.
The Northern Tablelands Dung Beetle Express is
an initiative of Granite Borders Landcare Committee in partnership with
the Southern New England Landcare Co-ordinating Committee, New England
Livestock Health and Pest Authority. It is supported by Glenrac and
Gwymac Landcare organisations.