Flying-fox Habitat Restoration Program

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) is partnering with the State Government to deliver a $5 million project over 10 years to help councils research, restore and create flying-fox habitat. 

The Program aims to:

  • Test whether flying-foxes move to enhanced, restored or created roost habitat sites, improving our understanding of factors contributing to:

     o   site occupation by flying-foxes
     o   reduction of conflict with the local community.

  • Enhance and/or restore roosting and foraging habitat for flying-foxes in ways that seek to reduce the conflict at contentiouscamp sites, and to reduce negative impacts for flying-foxes at the urban interface, with preference for habitat to be as far as possible from human settlement.
  • To learn and share information about flying-foxes and how habitat creation, enhancement and restoration can improve their conservation and reduce conflict with humans.

* (Contentious camps are flying-fox camps that are in close proximity to urban settlements and are causing amenity issues through noise, odour, prevalence of flying-fox droppings, or health concerns [including mental health]).

Establishment Phase 2018-19

During the set-up period, an expert advisory group worked closely with LGNSW to refine the aims and guide production of research and materials to run the Program. The key outputs include:

  • State-wide mapping of foraging habitat for three species of flying-fox
  • All NSW flying-fox camps assessed and ranked for potential for restoration and reduction of conflict arising from increasing human contact with flying-foxes
  • Program design for 10 years of restoration activities at priority sites
  • Monitoring and evaluation framework
  • A guide for councils on how to best educate and engage local communities on flying-foxes

These materials are being assessed by the NSW Environmental Trust and, if approved, the next phase is slated to start in 2020.

Habitat Restoration Phase 2020-29

This phase is intended to provide funding support to eligible councils for on-ground works and community engagement. LGNSW has recommended restoration projects be co-designed, working closely with councils to develop activities aligned with local environmental priorities.

Background

Flying-fox management is generally undertaken in line with Camp Management Plans (CMP), which have been developed by councils based on the state Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015.

Many actions included in CMPs are short-term and aimed at reducing impacts from camps on surrounding communities. For example:

  • Routine camp management activities, such as weed removal and trimming under-storey vegetation
  • Creation of buffers by clearing or trimming canopy trees or disturbing animals at the camp boundary
  • Camp disturbance or dispersal (where approved)

Traditionally there has been little focus on providing longer-term flying-fox conservation focussed interventions, leading to the 10-year Flying-fox Habitat Restoration Program.

 

This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.