Wildlife movement solutions
Wildlife Movement Solutions (WMS) are wildlife-friendly crossing infrastructure installed where roads intersect ecological corridors to facilitate the safe movement of wildlife.
Examples of this infrastructure include:
- fauna exclusion fencing
- culvert underpasses
- land-bridge overpasses
- koala refuge and glider poles
- rope bridges.
Wildlife signs and road pavement markings are also a form of WMS, which may inform the driver to slow down and adhere to the speed limit or be especially vigilant driving through areas known to be wildlife crossing points.
As part of Council's commitment to consistently improve WMS across the city, several trials have been conducted, or are underway, to facilitate the use of new types of WMS infrastructure.
Variable Message Signs
Variable message signs (VMS) are electronic road signs that show temporary messages to motorists. After a successful trial conducted in 2018, VMS for koala awareness are now being rolled out annually during the peak of the koala breeding season, from August through October each year.
VMS signs are located in priority areas across the city where the risk of koala-vehicle strikes is highest. Sites are reviewed annually based on up-to-date data and rotated in three-week intervals. This maximises the effectiveness of encouraging drivers to be extra vigilant for koalas during this time.
Kangaroo jump-outs and koala climb-outs
Jump-outs and climb-outs provide escape routes for fauna trapped on roads (e.g. if they become trapped on the wrong side of a fence).
A kangaroo jump-out is currently being trialled on Bracken Ridge Road to prevent kangaroos accidentally becoming trapped on the wrong side of a fauna exclusion fence.
Five koala climb-outs are also being trialled on Boundary Road to prevent koalas (or other wildlife) becoming trapped due to the steep road embankments.
The effectiveness of both structures is currently being monitored by Griffith University. If they prove successful, Council will look to install additional jump-outs and climb-outs at priority locations throughout Brisbane.
Compton Road: Brisbane's most significant WMS site
Compton Road traverses one of the largest patches of remnant bushland in Brisbane. In 2004 it was upgraded from two lanes to four.
To mitigate some of the impacts to local fauna, a variety of wildlife-friendly crossing infrastructure was incorporated into the road upgrade design.
The most notable WMS employed along Compton Road is the land-bridge linking Karawatha Forest on the southern side of Compton Road to an area north of Compton Road known as Kuraby Bushlands.
Other WMS infrastructure installed at this site includes:
- eight glider poles
- three rope ladders
- fauna-friendly culverts
- exclusion fencing
- escape poles.
The success of this project is highlighted by research undertaken by Griffith University, the Queensland Museum and the Southern Cross University as part of Council's Biodiversity Research Partnership Program. This research has demonstrated that a variety of fauna is using the land-bridge and other structures to move between the two areas of bushland.
Positive results obtained from ongoing monitoring of the Compton Road land-bridge have shown that investing in WMS as part of infrastructure projects is an invaluable and worthwhile exercise and shows Council is well on its way to achieving its aim to protect biodiversity by reconnecting ecological corridors.
WMS wildlife zones
To ensure wildlife can move safely through and between habitat areas, and to ensure Council can deliver cost-effective solutions at the most critical locations across the city, a zones approach is being taken to guide investment into new WMS.
To this end, Council has identified areas across the city for focused on-ground action. These hotspot zones have been determined using contemporary information that considers:
- important road crossing points for wildlife, particularly near or adjacent to bushland and creeks (high occurrence of wildlife/vehicle strike)
- roads that may be forming impermeable barriers for wildlife movement through ecological corridors (wildlife population isolation)
- interface of high traffic volume and/or vehicle speed and areas of high biodiversity value (threat to local wildlife populations and road safety concerns)
- prioritising at-risk or vulnerable species like the koala and kangaroo.
Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road zone
This zone primarily includes Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road, as well as Tilley Road, which dissect koala habitat found within Burbank, Chandler and Belmont.
The combination of high koala activity, high vehicle speed and high traffic volume have resulted in a serious threat to the local koala population in this area. In response, Council has installed road pavement markings, along with LED speed-variation wildlife warning signs and static wildlife signs to key areas across the zone to alert drivers to slow down and be vigilant, particularly at dawn and dusk when koalas are most active.
The effectiveness of the infrastructure will be monitored which will provide valuable information as to whether additional actions are required.
Wacol Station Road zone
The aim of works implemented at Wacol Station Road and the surrounding streets was to reduce the high occurrence of vehicle strikes with eastern grey kangaroos.
So far monitoring is showing a significant decrease in the number of kangaroos being hit where the treatment has occurred. The Wolston Bridge was raised to allow kangaroos and wallabies to safely move under the road. Exclusion fencing and new signage (including LED speed activated signage) were also installed. The new signage alerts drivers to be vigilant and to watch their speed.
The Wacol Station Road WMS project has been supported by the local environment group, who have been working with Council to monitor wildlife vehicle-strikes before, during and after the installation of the WMS strategies.
Bracken Ridge Road Zone
Bracken Ridge Road, travelling between Deagon Wetlands and Sandgate Third Lagoon in Brisbane's north, has become a hotspot for eastern grey kangaroo vehicle strikes.
Eastern grey kangaroos are crepuscular, which means they are active at dawn and dusk. Low light conditions and optimal grazing near the roadside is the reason these animals are often seen feeding early morning and late afternoon.
Measures have been taken to alert drivers to slow down and take care in this area, including:
- road pavement markings identifying this stretch of road as a Wildlife Zone
- a drop in speed limit
- LED speed activated signage
- static signage
- fauna exclusion fencing
- a kangaroo jump-out.
Belmont Hills to Whites Hill connection zone
The Belmont Hills and Whites Hill Reserves are known for their high koala and macropod activity. This zone includes road immediately surrounding the reserves, as well as roads that traverse notable movement corridors (e.g. creek lines) located between the two reserves.
In 2019, the following works were undertaken in this zone:
- road pavement treatments and new signage
- retrofitting of a culvert on Pine Mountain Road to include a fauna 'shelf' to encourage wildlife, such as koalas, to use the culvert to cross under the road safely
- revegetation and weeding work to create additional wildlife habitat and to help guide wildlife to the culvert entrance.
Five koala/glider poles will also be constructed in Lambertia Close Park this year.
In response to community concerns and queries regarding koala movements, supplementary actions are also being developed for the area immediately west of this zone (including Boundary Road and beyond). These actions include:
- planting of koala habitat street trees and park habitat plantings to facilitate the movement of koalas through the urban environment
- additional road markings, as well as static and LED signage (including VMS)
- five koala climb-outs.
Chermside Hills zone
The Chermside Hills zone is also known for its high koala and macropod activity. This zone covers roads surrounding the Chermside Hills Reserve, Milne Hill Reserve, Hamilton Road Quarry Park, Raven Street Park and Grey Gum Park.
Actions currently being delivered across this zone include:
- road markings, static and LED signage, VMS
- fauna exclusion fencing
- weed treatment and bank work on Beckett Road to improve under bridge accessibility for wildlife
- four koala escape poles on Beckett Road
- various 'care for our wildlife' static signs in suburban streets to increase local residents' awareness of wildlife activity in their neighbourhood.
Additional actions are also scheduled for this location later this year.
Other WMS locations
Other key locations across the city where Council has installed WMS include:
- Blunder Rd - glider poles
- Gap Creek Road - wildlife underpasses
- Hamilton Road - land bridge, glider poles and rope ladders
- Paradise Road - glider poles and rope ladder
- Scrub Road - glider poles and rope ladder
- Telegraph Road - glider poles and rope ladder
- Trinity Way - glider poles
- Wolston Road - wildlife underpasses and exclusion fencing.
Council will continue to monitor and deliver WMS in identified wildlife zones and at other key locations across the city. New zones may also be identified and prioritised as more data becomes available.
How can you help
You can help too by being vigilant of wildlife on roads and slowing down in the signed areas.
If you see a sick, injured or orphaned animal, or wildlife in imminent threat (on the road or on a median strip), phone the RSPCA Native Animal Ambulance on 1300 ANIMAL.
Report deceased animals on Brisbane local roads to Council’s Contact Centre on 07 3403 8888.
Wildlife movement solutions aren’t just about helping wildlife move across roads. Wildlife also needs to be able to move through other areas of the city, including backyards. Residents can help keep native animals safe by:
- planting native trees in your garden
- installing fauna friendly fencing
- being a responsible pet owner.
All of these actions help to keep our native animals safe and healthy.