Council adopts flying fox management strategy

The red outline of the flying fox camp at Woy Woy

A Flying Fox Management Strategy was adopted by Central Coast Council at its July 22 meeting.
The strategy will be applied to the management of the flying-fox camp at the Everglades wetland at Woy Woy.
Mayor Cr Jane Smith said features of the strategy were education and awareness, subsidies for property modification, incident management, supporting research, appropriate land use and the creation of vegetation buffers.
“Flying foxes are vital to the health and biodiversity of our bushlands and their survival is crucial to the long-term persistence of eucalypt forests, rainforests, woodlands and wetlands,” Cr Smith said.
She said the council acknowledged the potential for conflict between residents and bat colonies and this specific camp management plan made land owners eligible for government subsidies.
Funding could include infrastructure to create visual, sound or smell barriers and other measures such as car and pool covers, cleaning services and double-glazed windows.
Cr Smith said the dispersal of bat colonies was not an option and was not supported by the latest scientific research or current best practice management actions.
Threats to the species included habitat loss and degradation, conflict with humans and predators such as native and domestic animals, infrastructure (such as fencing, power lines and fruit netting) and the exposure to extreme heat and other natural events.
The strategy acknowledged that there has been no “on ground” management activities specifically aimed at the everglades flying fox camp although the local bushcare group has aimed to improve the native vegetation and habitat in the area for the past 21 years.
Although the flying fox camp is mostly in the wetlands, the bats have also been seen roosting in melaleuca trees in Kerrawah Boulevard between the wetland and residences, as well as foraging along Kahibah Creek.
The flying foxes were described as roosting in two main groups – on the southern side of Boronia Rd and smaller group on the northern side.
It was estimated that 2700 flying foxes used the camp in 2017.
The plan will operate from 2017 to 2027.

Media release, 22 Jul 2019
Jane Smith, Central Coast Council

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