Microbats flappin' happy with Roads and Maritime Services

30 August 2017

From Sydney to Lawrence and Berry to Bomaderry and all places in between, microbats however small are a big part of the state’s natural environment.

It’s why Roads and Maritime Services has gone into bat for the cute and cuddly critters by making provisions at work sites where they call home.

A Roads and Maritime spokesperson said billions of dollars are being spent to improve and maintain the state’s road network and working with the environment is a big consideration.

“The Sportsmans Creek Bridge project is a great example, as a large colony of the threatened Large-footed Myotis species was discovered,” the spokesperson said.

“The bats are currently roosting at the existing bridge, which will be removed when the new $27 million crossing opens to traffic.

“Roads and Maritime worked closely with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and came up with an innovative solution, which is an Australian first.

“A microbat roosting and breeding habitat has been incorporated into the design of the new concrete bridge which will also result in less maintenance.”

Elsewhere, bat management plans have been implemented on various sections of the Pacific Highway upgrade, including the Woolgoolga to Ballina section.

“The plans have been developed to ensure impacts are minimised to these threatened species through the design, build and operational phases of the project,” the spokesperson said.

“Similar provisions have been made across NSW, with bat boxes installed under existing bridges along the Berry to Bomaderry Princes Highway upgrade.

“While in Sydney, nesting boxes installed as part of the NorthConnex project are filling up with rare native species including microbats.”

Microbats are commonly found in structures such as bridges and drains as they prefer to roost in spaces above water and not exposed to weather.

The spokesperson said Roads and Maritime is committed to protecting the environment by effectively managing any risks associated with the work it carries out.

“It’s important to preserve the environment for current and future generations to enjoy, which is why the potential impacts of all projects are closely assessed.

“Even work such as routine maintenance must consider the environment to ensure the day to day work doesn’t have a long term impact.

“Another example is the recently completed maintenance work on Brig O’Johnston Bridge at Clarence Town was initially postponed until the breeding season was completed.

“Roads and Maritime carries out post project monitoring of microbat colonies to confirm the effectiveness of its initiatives.”

Roads and Maritime’s environment policy is available online.

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