Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Looking for landholders: Bursaria for butterflies

Posted on 27 September, 2022 by Ivan

The Castlemaine area is home to the largest remaining populations of the Eltham Copper Butterfly. Historically, survey efforts and management actions have focused on public land, yet we know there is potential butterfly habitat on adjoining private land. This habitat is under threat, particularly from urbanisation, weeds, changed fire regimes and grazing.

Connecting Country’s Bursaria for Butterflies project aims to protect and enhance priority habitat for the threatened Eltham Copper Butterfly (Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida) around Castlemaine VIC. We’ll achieve this through practical on-ground actions to reduce threats and improve the quality, quantity and connectivity of available butterfly habitat. We will work with key landholders to protect and restore priority butterfly habitat on their land. We’re supporting local landholders to control threats (including weeds and rabbits) and revegetate their land, focusing on the butterfly’s host plant, Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa).

Sweet Bursaria is a small prickly shrub that produces abundant small white flowers through summer. It’s a great habitat plant for wildlife and essential for Eltham Copper Butterflies. On warm spring nights their caterpillars climb Sweet Bursaria plants to feed, accompanied by their special attendant ants.

This project is funded by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of the Environment Restoration Fund and Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan.

Looking for local landholders

We are looking for interested landholders with properties (of at least 1 acre) adjacent to the known local populations of the Eltham Copper Butterfly.

Assistance for landholders

If your property is suitable for the project, we will:

  • Visit your property to identify remnant vegetation and assess its potential as butterfly habitat.
  • Discuss management actions and provide you with advice on how to protect, connect and enhance butterfly habitat on your property.
  • Provide suitable indigenous understory plants and plant guards for revegetation, with a focus on Sweet Bursaria.

For five key landholders with larger properties, we will also:

  • Develop a written property management plan setting our on-ground actions to protect and improve butterfly habitat.
  • Supply contractor support for weed and rabbit control, and revegetation planting.
  • Provide ongoing advice on how to manage your property as butterfly habitat.

Property selection criteria

Not every property will be suitable as Eltham Copper Butterfly habitat and we will prioritise properties that are closer to known butterfly sightings. We’re looking for properties that meet the following criteria.

Land with:

  • Minimum of 0.4 hectares (1 acre) land size with space for revegetation planting
  • Proximity (within 1 km) to Kalimna Park, Castlemaine Botanical Gardens northern section, Chewton Bushlands (Dingo Park Rd region), Walmer Forest Reserve (near southern end of Woodbrook Rd) and Campbells Creek (near Broad Rd).
  • Suitable conditions for the target plant species to facilitate healthy growth.
  • No domestic stock grazing.

Landholders with:

  • Strong interest in managing their property for biodiversity conservation and restoration.
  • Commitment to planting and maintaining the revegetated plants.
  • Capacity to commit to future land management actions (e.g., weed and rabbit control, grazing exclusion, maintaining plant guards).

Landholder expressions of interest

If you meet the criteria and are keen protect and restore butterfly habitat on your land, please complete our expression of interest form – click here

Please return your expression of interest form to Connecting Country via email ( Expressions of interest close on the 17 October 2022

Learn more about the Eltham Copper Butterfly

For more information about the Eltham Copper Butterfly – click here
You may also enjoy the following video, courtesy of N-danger-D.

8 responses to “Looking for landholders: Bursaria for butterflies”

  1. Sally Mellor says:

    To whom it may concern.
    I live at Metcalfe East which is some way from Castlemaine. However my late husband planted many sweet bursarias in 2008 – maybe 50 – which have matured into sizeable trees. I continue to plant 6 each year. My property is about 28 acres.
    Although I have not identified the Eltham copper here, it would be great to start a colony.

    • Ivan says:

      thanks Sally, and great work on the bursaria plantings to date, it is really lovely to hear. Metcalfe is too far from the known sightings of the ECB, but if you would like support, fill out an EOI and we will look for funding if your property is not appropriate for this project.

  2. Suzanne says:

    We live in Fryerstown (near the cemetery) on 6 acres. We would love to be part of this project if our environment is suitable.

    • Ivan says:

      Hello Suzanne, thanks for touching base. Fryerstown is too far from the known sightings of the ECB, but if you would like support, fill out a general EOI and we will look for funding if your property is not appropriate for this project.

  3. Jessica says:

    I am interested. I have 180acres on the edge of Wombat State Forest in Franklinford.

    • Ivan says:

      Hello Jessica, thanks for touching base. Franklinford is too far from the known sightings of the ECB, but if you would like support, fill out a general EOI and we will look for funding if your property is not appropriate for this project.

  4. Katrina Hardy says:

    I am interested to be involved in this project

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