Flying-fox Habitat Restoration Program
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 contentious* camp 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.
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.