WolfPeak help protect a colony of threatened microbats

In late 2021, WolfPeak were engaged by a local Council to investigate possible environmental impacts resulting from planned repair works on a bridge in the Mid North Coast. The bridge, which was likely to have been built in the 1960’s, has fallen into disrepair and was determined to require major structural repair works in order to deem it safe for public use again. With this bridge providing the only access to the to numerous local residents and farms, repair works were deemed a high priority.

WolfPeak help protect a colony of threatened microbats

Whilst undertaking these environmental surveys, WolfPeak discovered a resident
colony of up to 150 microbats, roosting in a deck expansion joint underneath the bridge.

This discovery was a momentous one with microbats often difficult to detect as they inhabit small cracks and crevices during the day. Upon closer inspection of the bats and analysis of their ultrasonic calls, it was discovered that the bat colony comprised Southern Myotis (Myotis macropus) which is a threatened species and listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Furthermore to the discovery, it was predicted that it was a maternal colony which would be important in producing young and maintaining the survival of the local population.

In order to best protect these microbats, WolfPeak, Council and a local microbat specialist have been working together to ensure that no harm is caused to the colony whilst undertaking the necessary bridge repair works. If exposed to extreme noise levels, microbats have been known to leave roosts and even abandon young. By way of preventing this, numerous solar powered cameras were fixed to various sections of the bridge, providing non-stop visual monitoring of the microbat colony. A noise monitor was also affixed so that any disturbance could be correlated to noise levels.

Council have since commenced the repair works and WolfPeak have been regularly involved in monitoring bat activity during this time. So far, the colony have appeared unaffected by the bridge upgrade with monitoring even documenting a successful breeding season.

client

Port Macquarie Hastings Council

ROLE

Biodiversity Consultant

DATES

late 2021