Roads and Maritime Services engaged Niche to develop a management plan for fishing bats (Myotis macropus) roosting under the Crooked River Bridge. The bridge was to be replaced as part of the upgrade of the Princes Highway at Gerringong on the NSW South Coast.
Niche provided the best management options to RMS, and the best outcome for the bat colony
The Niche ecology team developed a management plan for the safe removal of bats from the old bridge. Our team used nest boxes to provide alternative roost sites that could be initially installed under the old bridge, to allow bats to get used to them. The natural roosts within the old bridge were then sealed off to leave the artificial roosts for use, with these ultimately being transferred to the new bridge.
Niche staff monitored the entire process, which proved highly successful. At the last monitoring session the majority of the colony was roosting in the boxes under the new bridge.
The main challenge in this project was selecting suitable designs for bat roost boxes and finding ways to ensure that bats were evicted safely from the bridge roosts. This required detailed literature reviews and discussion with bat experts.
By choosing Niche, RMS gained the skills and experience of Dr Frank Lemckert to lead the development of the management plan and monitoring program.
Frank’s long career in research and monitoring, his detailed understanding of bat management and his relationships with recognised bat experts allowed Niche to provide the best management options to RMS, and the best outcome for the bat colony.