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Level 1 actions: routine camp management

Level 1 flying-fox camp management actions involve routine activities that improve the resilience or condition of the camp.

Level 1 routine camp management actions should not be carried out with the aim of damaging flying-fox habitat or killing, harming or dispersing/disturbing flying-foxes.

Routine camp management may include:

  • removing tree limbs or whole trees that pose a genuine health and safety risk, as determined by a qualified arborist
  • removing weeds, including removal of noxious weeds under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (previously Noxious Weeds Act 1993) or species listed as undesirable by a council
  • minor trimming of shrubs and plants under trees or the planting vegetation
  • augmenting for the benefit of the roosting animals such as the planting of additional roost trees
  • mowing grass and similar grounds-keeping actions that will not create a major disturbance to roosting flying-foxes
  • applying mulch or removing leaf litter or other material on the ground.

Routine camp management actions should be developed as part of a camp management plan, using the camp management plan template (DOC 355KB).

This page gives more information about routine camp management actions and should be read in conjunction with the Flying-fox Camp Management Code of Practice 2018 and Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015 (PDF 200KB).

What should I consider before planning Level 1 management actions?

Community engagement will be an important part of any flying-fox camp management plan. The local community should be engaged before undertaking any camp management actions.

Consider how any management actions proposed for a flying-fox camp conform to the hierarchy of actions in the Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015 (PDF 200KB).

The removal of a whole tree that does not pose a genuine health and safety risk (as determined by a qualified arborist), or multiple trees that serve as roost trees regardless of safety issues, constitute Level 2 management actions. Level 2 actions may require a licence unless carried out in a way that is consistent with the terms of the Flying-fox Camp Management Code of Practice 2018.

  • Level 1 actions are best scheduled outside critical reproductive periods. These periods are from the time the female flying-foxes arrive at the camp heavily pregnant until the young can fly independently.
  • The timing of the reproductive cycle varies between species and may vary slightly between regional areas.
  • For grey-headed and black flying-foxes the reproductive cycle is usually from August to May inclusive.
  • The reproductive cycle of the little red flying-fox is different. Mating usually occurs between November and January with young being born in April and May. For camps containing little red flying-foxes, management actions should be avoided from April to December.
  • Consider scheduling activities when the camp is unoccupied (i.e. when the flying-foxes have left the site at night to forage) or, for a non-permanent camp, when the camp is unoccupied.
  • Level 1 management actions should not be undertaken in hot weather because there is the likelihood of additional disturbance leading to heat stress in affected flying-foxes. Consider postponing work when temperatures are above 30°C, and avoid all works when temperatures are greater than 35°C during the day.
  • If Level 1 management actions need to be carried out during the day, work must immediately stop and the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water immediately notified if 30% or more of the adult flying-foxes leave the roost for 5 minutes or more, or if the death of a flying-fox occurs as a result of the work.

For sites with grey-headed and/or black flying-foxes

Month Actions
January, February, March, April Level 1, 2 and 3 management actions not recommended
May, June, July, August Level 1, 2 and 3 management actions may be allowed
September, October, November, December Level 1, 2 and 3 management actions not recommended

The impacts of flying-foxes on nearby residents and buildings can be reduced in a number of ways.

  • Dense planting to create screens at residential boundaries can help reduce smell, noise and general amenity impacts.
  • Acoustic insulation such as double-glazed windows can address noise issues.
  • Installing air-conditioners can help when strong odours prevent windows and doors being left open.
  • Clothes dryers can be used when outdoor clothes lines are subject to flying-fox droppings.
  • Other measures include shade sails for yards, covers for cars, and subsidies for power bills and car washing

Land managers should weigh up the relative costs and benefits of managing the flying-fox camp against providing assistance or financial subsidies for offsite mitigation. Both approaches may be required in some circumstances.

Read Subsidies for Products and Services to Assist Communities Living with Flying-foxes for more information.

Do I need approvals or licences for Level 1 management actions?

Public land managers must apply for a biodiversity conservation licence from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water or implement Level 1 actions as prescribed by the Flying-fox Camp Management Code of Practice 2018.

Private land managers must obtain a biodiversity conservation licence from the department.

Licensing of routine flying-fox camp management actions will be streamlined when a camp management plan is prepared in accordance with the camp management plan template (DOC 356KB) provided.

If licences are approved, they may be issued for up to 5 years. This will avoid land managers having to repeatedly seek approval from the NSW Government for ongoing camp management actions.

To obtain approval, land managers submit their completed camp management plan to the department. The department then guides the applicant through the necessary process for licensing. These statutory processes are set out in the Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015 (PDF 200KB).


Land managers should take note of the following legislation:

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979

Approval from the department to alter the structure of flying-fox roost habitat does not remove the need to abide by the requirements of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.

Read the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.

Approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

Actions that are licensed by the department or consistent with the Flying-fox Camp Management Code of Practice 2018 may also need approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 if they constitute 'development' for the purposes of that Act.

Read the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

How do I implement Level 1 management actions?

  • Before starting minor works, conduct a health and safety risk assessment for the appropriate levels of personal protective equipment required and identify protocols to minimise risks to both the public and flying-foxes.
  • Workers should be made aware of the potential health risks associated with working with flying-foxes. Read the fact sheet Flying-foxes and human health.
  • If possible, start work in the area of the camp furthest from where the flying-foxes are roosting and working slowly towards the roost. Or you could leave the area nearest the flying-foxes until early evening.
  • If possible, minimise weed removal if it is likely to significantly affect the understorey microclimate of the tree canopy.
  • Minimise the use of loud machinery or equipment that produces sudden impacts or loud sounds.
  • If chainsaws are needed, start the chainsaw away from the roost and let it run for a short time to allow flying-foxes to adjust, then move closer to the flying-foxes and repeat the procedure.
  • If possible, park vehicles and equipment away from the direct line of sight of roosting flying-foxes.
  • Avoid using large crews. Consider engaging a 2-person crew, with one person undertaking Level 1 management actions, and the other acting as a 'spotter' to watch the activity of the flying-foxes. Work must stop at the first sign of flying-fox disturbance – that is, large numbers of flying-foxes taking flight.
  • Ensure that management actions and results are recorded to inform future planning.

Need help or more information?

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water helps local government, public authority land managers and individual land holders to choose the right level of intervention for their situation.

Contact us at Flying-fox Mailbox.


Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015

The Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015 empowers land managers, primarily local councils, to work with their communities to manage flying-fox camps effectively. The main purpose of this policy is to minimise health and amenity impacts of flying-fox camps on people at the same time as avoiding unnecessary harm to flying-foxes.



Subsidies for products and services to assist communities living with flying-foxes

This report summarises 6 subsidy programs implemented by local councils in New South Wales to help communities living with flying-foxes. The uptake of subsidies and their effectiveness for reducing flying-fox impacts on communities is described.

Please consider the environment before printing.