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 includes:
- culvert underpasses
- land-bridge overpasses
- 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.
Variable Message Signs
After a successful trial conducted in 2018, Variable Message Signs (VMS), 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 contemporary data and are rotated in 2 week intervals to maximise the effectiveness of encouraging drivers to be extra vigilant for koalas during this time.
Significant Wildlife Movement Solution
Compton Road WMS
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. In 2004 Council upgraded Compton Road from two to four lanes. Wildlife-friendly crossing infrastructure was incorporated into the road upgrade design to mitigate some of the risks to fauna.
The infrastructure now includes:
- eight glider poles
- three rope ladders
- fauna-friendly culverts
- exclusion fencing
- escape poles
- a fauna land-bridge.
Working together, the full suite of infrastructure makes it the most successful WMS site in the Brisbane City Council area.
Infra-red cameras were installed during the construction process to monitor fauna use. Research undertaken by Griffith University, the Queensland Museum and the Southern Cross University as part of Council's Biodiversity Research Partnership Program, has found that a variety of fauna are using the land-bridge and other structures to move between the two areas of bushland.
Results from monitoring wildlife movement at the Compton Road land-bridge have shown that investing in Wildlife Movement Solutions 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.
Other WMS locations
There are many other areas across the city where Council has installed Wildlife Movement Solutions. These locations include:
- Hamilton Road - land bridge , glider poles and rope ladders
- Gap Creek Road - wildlife underpasses
- Wolston Road - wildlife underpasses and exclusion fencing
- Blunder Rd - glider poles
- Trinity Way - glider poles
- Paradise Road - glider poles and rope ladder
- Scrub Road - glider poles and rope ladder
- Telegraph Road - glider poles and rope ladder
- Wacol Station Road - kangaroo underpass, exclusion fencing and signage recognition as a Wildlife Zone
- Bracken Ridge Road - LED wildlife signs and recognition as a Wildlife Zone.
WMS wildlife zones
Council is delivering a 'zones' approach to WMS and has proactively identified areas across the City for focused on-ground action. 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).
To ensure wildlife can move safely through and between habitat areas and to ensure Council can deliver cost-effective solutions across the city where they are most needed, a zones approach is being taken to guide investment into new WMS. Using a variety of sources, wildlife crossing hotspots have been identified across the city.
Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road Zone
The combination of high koala activity, high vehicle speed and traffic volume has resulted in a serious threat to the local koala population in this area. Road pavement markings have been added to identify this area as a Wildlife Zone with LED speed-variation wildlife warning signs and static wildlife signs installed 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
Works at Wacol Station Road and the surrounding streets have recently been completed. The aim of these works 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. At this location the bridge was raised to allow kangaroos and wallabies to safely move under the road and exclusion fencing and new signage (including LED speed activated signage). 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.
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.
Eastern grey kangaroos are crepuscular, which means they are active at dawn and dusk. Low light conditions and optimal grazing near the road side is why these animals are often seen feeding early morning and late afternoon.
Additional actions are scheduled for this location in future years.
Belmont Hills to Whites Hill Connection Zone
In 2019, Council installed road pavement treatments and new signage throughout this location. A culvert on Pine Mountain Road was also retrofitted with a fauna 'shelf' to encourage wildlife, such as koalas, to use the culvert to cross under the road safely.
Revegetation and weeding work was also carried out at this location, to create additional wildlife habitat and to help guide wildlife to the culvert entrance.
Additional zones are currently under assessment to investigate what other actions can be taken to help protect wildlife, including
- the Whites Hill to Three Finger Gully koala precinct (extension of the Belmont Hills to Whites Hill Connection) and;
- the Chermside Hills precinct.
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 isn’t just about helping wildlife move across roads. Wildlife also need 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.