Safeguarding the public and protecting threatened bats at Mogo State forest

A derelict mine shaft in Mogo State Forest dating back to the gold rush of the 1800s will be secured to safeguard forest users and maintain a thriving colony of the threatened Eastern Bentwing-bat.

Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Southern Region Planning manager, Kevin Petty, said the corporation had teamed up with the NSW Department of Trade & Investment Regional Infrastructure & Services to secure the disused Bimbimbie mine without disturbing the threatened bats that call it home.

“The Bimbimbie mine is a piece of local history but it’s just not safe, and people have been putting themselves at risk of serious injury or worse by entering and exploring the mine shaft and tunnels,” Mr Petty said.

“We can’t just seal the mine off because, while it’s not safe for humans, this derelict mine is the perfect habitat for the threatened Eastern Bentwing-bat and there’s a thriving colony of them in the network of disused tunnels.

“Our challenge is to find a way to make the mine shafts inaccessible to people, while still allowing bats to freely move in and out and to maintain adequate ventilation to the colony’s habitat in the disused mine shafts.

“We’re working in partnership with the NSW Department of Trade & Investment, Regional Infrastructure & Services to monitor and survey the mine using infra-red cameras and remote sensing technology to determine the exact gap the bats require to freely enter and exit the shaft.

“Once we’ve determined how much space the bats need, we will be able to permanently secure the mine shaft so bats can get in and out but people can’t.

“We will also construct road barriers and install signs to let forest users know about the mine and for safety reasons, asking them to keep clear.

“This region is peppered with derelict mines dating back to the gold rush, and many of them are not mapped anywhere, so Forestry Corporation will continue to work with Trade & Investment to identify other disused and dangerous mine shafts within the region to safe guard the public.

“I also encourage the community to report any disused mine shafts that they come across to Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Regional Office in Batemans Bay on 1300 880 548.”

For more information about visiting State forests, visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au

Media contact: Elizabeth Fowler 02 9407 4265