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Melbourne Water Case Study

New nurseries for Eco Engineers 


Macedon, Yarra Ranges and Nillumbik, Western Port and the Mornington Peninsula. 


  • 6 engagement events 
  • 123 participants  
  • 11 site visits  


This project has been delivered through the RALF project with support from Melbourne Water, Liveable Communities, Liveable Waterways Incentives Program, and Regional Landcare Coordinator project. 


Cannibal Creek Landcare Group, Western Port Catchment Landcare Network, Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network, Northern Yarra Landcare Network. 

Regional strategies

Regional Catchment Strategy , Healthy Waterway Strategy 

Dung Beetles are known as ‘ecosystem engineers’ because they bury dung underground and turn nutrient loads into a natural fertiliser for pastures and soil health. In doing so, nutrient runoff is eliminated from farms, helping to keep our waterways healthy. Less dung in paddocks also means lower worm counts and reduces the need for drenches. 

A new species of dung beetles has been released, meaning farmers across Australia have a renewed interest in ensuring they have covered their ‘beetle seasonal gaps’ by monitoring, breeding and now swapping beetles with other Natural Resource Management regions. 

New species of dung beetles are being bred in ‘nurseries’ to fast track their breeding to be released across the region. As these are a new species, we are also not sure how successful they will be, so breeding in a confined space allows for monitoring of the emerging next generation of beetles and to set up more nurseries and free releases. 

The program also involved the establishment of a dung beetle exchange program with another Natural Resource Management region, who have a species that should do well in Port Phillip region but doesn’t yet have a wide distribution available. These beetles arrived in autumn and in exchange, the Natural Resource Management region will receive some of the summer species that are in abundance. 

Historical dung beetle releases have not been monitored for success. This project, however, will include field monitoring and also record observations onto a BioCollect project using the Atlas of Living Australia. This is a great example of the Landcare community and Regional Agriculture and Landcare Facilitator networks working together to improve local environmental outcomes. 

Monitoring for dung beetles. Images by Karen Thomas.

Monitoring for dung beetles. Images by Karen Thomas.