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Australia: Plan to create buffer zone for flying foxes

Source:  Copyright 2008, Coffs Coast Independent
Date:  May 8, 2008
Original URL: Status DEAD

WORK is set to begin in mid May on the vegetation management plan designed to create a buffer zone around the Coffs Creek Flying Fox Camp to alleviate its impacts on local residents.

The strategy was adopted after extensive consultation with residents and the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) – which is the regulatory body – and issued Council with a licence to carry out the vegetation work.

This consultation is ongoing and includes workshops with residents and regular meetings of the Working Group. DECC will also continue to provide technical advice and support.

The vegetation management plan aims to consolidate the flying foxes in the centre of the reserve, away from residential properties.

This will be achieved by creating a vegetation buffer zone around the camp. Tall and fruit-bearing trees, which attract flying foxes, are to be removed from the periphery of the reserve and low-growing natives planted in their place.

Native species will also be planted throughout the core of the camp to encourage roosting in the centre.

In addition, exotic weeds are to be cleared from the area to aid the growth of native species.

The ultimate goal is a screen of native vegetation around the perimeter of the camp that discourages bat occupation, reduces noise and odour levels by limiting air movement, but enhances the visual amenity of the area for the residents.

The first stage of the plan – due to begin in mid-May and go on until October – involves the clearing of specific trees from the periphery of the creek reserve area and private properties adjoining the reserve.

In addition, under-storey weed control will be carried out and infill planting of trees in and around the centre of the flying fox camp.

The work itself can only be carried out at the end of the breeding season. The timetable had to be postponed as there was a late season this year due to the long periods of rain. DECC has recently advised Council that the breeding and maternity season is at an end and work can begin in mid-May.

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