Dung Beetles were the centre of conversation when the River Care and Land Conservation team at PHCC came together to showcase dung beetles through a Field day on 13th August 2020 at Lowlands Farm on the bank of the Serpentine River.

There has been an insatiable interest in dung beetles from farmers across the Peel Region in recent years. As well as removing animal manure as breeding habitat for flies, dung beetles also add to the productivity of soils by improving nutrient cycling, soil structure and water penetration, all obvious benefits to landholders.  If dung beetles can improve these soil characteristics on a large enough scale, their good work might also result in a reduction of nutrients flowing from the land into our rivers, the biggest threat to the health of our waterways.

With these dual benefits in mind, Paula Pownall our Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator and our River Care team of Jo Garvey and Jesse Rowley brought together a group of interested landholders with properties adjoining the Serpentine River to attend a Dung Beetle Field Day on 13 August, hosted by the Richardson and Angeloni family in their picturesque shearing shed at their Lowlands property.

PHCC’s Science Advisor Steve Fisher described how the ‘Connecting Corridors and Communities – Restoring the Serpentine River’ project, funded by the Alcoa Foundation, was aimed at improving the condition of the Serpentine River in its own right while also protecting the ecological values of the downstream Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar Wetlands, and that dung beetles might be a practical way for landholders to help us achieve both.

Trevor Walley followed by relating his experiences and connection to the Serpentine as a long term resident of the area. Our host, Rupert Richardson then described his approach to improving the productivity of the land while protecting the values of the Serpentine River.

John Allen, a dung beetle expert based at Coodanup College shared his vast experience and knowledge including an overview of the various species within Australia. John encouraged the community to get involved and support dung beetle projects and share resources.  The attendees were fortunate enough to also capture insights into dung beetle research from Jacob Berson from the University of Western Australia. Jacob described the nation-wide project he collaborates on, capturing and identifying dung beetle species and reporting their range.  He also described what to look for when hunting dung beetles on your property.

Both John and Jacob recommended the “MyDung BeetleApp” as a resource to have on your phone through the App store.

We had a great turn out with over 25 representatives from landcare groups, the community, local government and other organisations attending the event.  The event finished with everyone enjoying a delicious BBQ courtesy of PHCC and your friendly RALF co-ordinator!

For more information on the Dung Beetle app, follow this link: https://www.dungbeetles.com.au/resources/mydungbeetle-reporter

Peel Harvey Catchment Council would like to acknowledge the Richardson family and Angeloni family for allowing the Field day to be held on their beautiful property.

This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Alcoa Foundation’s Three Rivers, One Estuary Initiative.

This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the National Landcare Program

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present