Woolgoolga to Ballina emu fencing showing early success
30 JANUARY 2017
Monitoring has confirmed an innovative environmental approach installed for the $4.36 billion Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade is ensuring connectivity for emus.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said the agency has been trialling an emu fence on the Glenugie to Tyndale section of the upgrade where emus are regularly sighted.
“The fence was installed December 2014 in the upgrade to guide emus to use designated crossing points which align with future connectivity structures,” the spokesperson said.
“At one location a hybrid fence was installed which consisted of two strands of plain wire, two strands of barbed wire and a squeeze stile, large enough for emus to use but too small for cattle. Importantly, the plain wire was installed on the top and bottom strands to minimise injury to native fauna.
“The Woolgoolga to Ballina project team wants to ensure the ongoing safe movement of local wildlife under or over the new highway now and in the future. Monitoring pictures and videos shows this initiative is working with footage of emus regularly captured using the designated crossing points.
“On the Pacific Highway upgrade in particular, Roads and Maritime has extensive experience and success in managing major infrastructure projects which pass through ecologically sensitive natural environments and habitat areas.
“On previous Pacific Highway upgrades, five strand fencing was used however the four strand fencing has been demonstrated to enable emus to pass through the hybrid fence more easily as captured in the video.
“Based on this evidence the right arrangement of stock and fauna fencing close to crossing zones should ensure successful emu crossings when the upgrade is completed.
“During major work on the highway crossing points will be maintained to enable safe passage for the emus across the highway alignment.
“An upgraded Pacific Highway must meet the needs of the travelling public and enable transport efficiencies, while ensuring ecological sustainability and connecting the growing coastal communities along the highway."