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Black Gully weeds cleared for flying fox plan

The site of a former flying fox camp in Armidale has undergone an initial round of weed clearing, as one of the actions recommended in a management plan for the Black Gully area.

A crew from Council’s Parks unit worked with the New England Weeds Authority last week to remove the invasive weed privet from a 1000m2 area, beginning the second stage of works outlined in the Black Gully Vegetation Management Plan.

Further works are planned to remove blackberry and honeysuckle during their growing periods, as well as follow-up eradication of privet regrowth, to prepare the site for the restoration of native vegetation.

The management plan was produced by ecological consultant Ecosure in August 2018 to help manage the site and minimise the impact on residents if Black Gully was again colonised by flying foxes.

A colony of grey-headed and little red flying foxes started forming at Black Gully in October 2017 and reached a peak population of between 40,000 and 50,000 in December that year. The colony impacted on neighbouring residents because of noise, smell, droppings and damage to vegetation but both species are protected under biodiversity protection laws, raising issues on how to manage the site.

The colony left the city in early 2018 and Stage 1 works that year removed selected trees to create a buffer between flying fox habitat trees and neighbouring homes.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said the management plan achieved a balanced between preserving endangered species and protecting the quality of life for residents.

Councillor Murray said removing the weed congestion had opened up the creek area and brought an added bonus for community members by potentially creating an attractive recreational space.

 

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