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Indiana Bat and Northern Long-ear Bat Services

Bat Habitat Survey

  • Indiana/Northern myotis Habitat Surveys can be conducted throughout the year
  • A similar survey for rocky habitat can be conducted for Eastern small-footed bats and abandoned mine entrances
  • Often used to determine mitigation strategies

BCM will provide a team of biologists to fully inspect and examine potential habitat for Indiana bats and Northern Long-ear bats. During your habitat survey, any potential suitable habitat that is encountered will be permanently documented with photographs, appropriate agency forms as needed, as well as GPS search tracks in your project area. Surveys are customized to client's needs and agency requests. Common variants include potential roost tree inventories, rocky habitat assessment, and mine portal surveys.

Bat Acoustic Monitoring

  • Bat Acoustic Monitoring - May 15 – August 15 (delayed start of June 1 in some states)
  • 2 detector nights per km (linear project); 4 detector nights per 123 acres (non-linear project)
  • Project plan generally requires BCM to obtain concurrence with the USFWS and state wildlife agency

Conducting summer mist net surveys alone have the potential to leave some bat species in your sample area under-represented. Adding acoustic monitoring to your project can help draw a much more complete picture of your study area. However, depending on your specific project you may want to conduct an entirely acoustic survey. BCM understands the oft-experienced time constraints associated with certain projects and is happy to consult with clients in order to determine what the best approach is in order to complete the work needed while remaining in compliance with state and federal agency regulations.

For several years BCM has been on the forefront of acoustic monitoring for bats. Host to many workshops and instructional programs, we offer a wide array of full-spectrum acoustic monitoring and survey options. BCM biologists are fully equipped with a wide selection of necessary tools and equipment to provide you with the highest quality custom acoustic monitoring survey possible. After collecting recordings in the field, all potential calls are analyzed through USFWS-approved auto-classification software, but this is often just a gross assessment. Our expert workshop staff with 40+ combined years of acoustic ID experiance are available to provide expert review of files flagged as species of interest.

As with all results of the fieldwork studies we offer, acoustic data is saved and permanently recorded in its original form for reporting and future recall.

Summer Mist Net Survey

  • Mist Netting - May 15 - August 15 (delayed start of June 1 in some states)
  • 6 net nights per km (linear project); 42 net nights per 123 acres (non-linear project), varies by state
  • BCM obtains project plan concurrence from USFWS and state wildlife agency

BCM has safely surveyed thousands of individual mist net sites since 2000. If your project is in need of mist-netting, BCM is able to offer thorough, fast, and efficient sampling of your project area. This type of summer bat surveying technique is most often conducted for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Cataloguing species presence in areas that may be impacted by new construction
  • Searching for threatened or endangered species in areas prior to timber sales or development
  • Acquiring baseline data for a region or rare species that has not been fully studied

Once your mist-netting project has been planned, BCM is very efficient in carrying your survey from start to finish. Sampling in accordance with the draft Indiana bat recovery plan, your local US Fish and Wildlife office, as well as your state¹s wildlife agency guidelines, we make sure you are in full compliance with the latest protocols and guidelines.

As with most of the fieldwork studies that are offered by BCM, mist-netting is very season-specific and requires a good amount of attention to planning. However, BCM offers several levels of this service from technical assistance/equipment for collaboration with our partners to all-inclusive project management.

Emergence Surveys

  • Used to selectively clear a few problem or hazard trees
  • Dependent on individual states and federal agencies, but generally can be conducted year-round
  • Surveys may be visual, but also monitored with night vision or thermal cameras to speed up field time
  • Will be automatically performed in any Radio Telemetry study.

Emergence surveys follow a USFWS protocol to determine how many, if any bats are emerging from a potential tree, building, cave, mine, cliff, rock, or other roost structure. While agencies prefer a live person monitor for bats, multiple roosts can also be recorded with night vision or thermal cameras. Bat detectors cannot definitively tell where exactly a bat is on the landscape, so they cannot be relied upon for emergence surveys. Detectors can be used to suggest species which may be helpful in some regions depending on the goals of the survey. 

Radio Telemetry

  • As needed based on capture of target species 
  • Highly dependent on individual states and federal agencies
  • Summer telemetry generally determines if  threatened and endangered species are residing onsite

Often times radio telemetry is conducted in conjunction with an ongoing mist-netting project, and is even required in some instances. Since our first project in 2000, BCM has provided the necessary equipment and expertise that thoroughly and effectively satisfies your telemetry requirements. Having one of the most extensive arrays of handheld, vehicle mounted, and aircraft mounted telemetry equipment, we are equipped to take on small to very large projects that other contractors may not be outfitted to do. Due to a bat's propensity to sometimes travel long distances, an ill-equipped crew can lead to lost bats and inexcusable embarrassment with agencies, ultimately causing worst-case assumptions, increased mitigation costs, project delays, and possibly repeat work that quickly add up in time and money. We are proud to report that of the hundreds of bats we have radio tracked since 2000, our team has only ever "lost" two summer bats on the landscape, one MYOLEI in 2003 and a MYOGRI in 2015.

Whether you are interested in summer foraging routes, roost identification, or Indiana bat migration, these surveys are best planned in conjunction with advisement from the regional US Fish and Wildlife Service office and state wildlife agencies. In addition, having a team of highly experienced trackers can be essential to successful telemetry efforts, a commodity that BCM is proud to be able to offer its clients.


Hibernacula, Summer Use, and Abandoned Mine Portal Surveys

  • External surveys (habitat assessment) can be conducted year-round
  • Presence/Absence external trapping surveys for potential hibernacula are conducted in in the fall, but specific dates vary by state
  • Summer Use sites may be monitored in June or July, depending on the target species
  • Internal surveys can reveal bat sign and presence missed by external surveys
  • Camera Trapping surveys may be conducted year round by heat-sensitive cameras which best accounts for the highly temporal variation of bat use and activity

The most common type of survey in this category is the fall presence/absence trapping effort. This is used to determine if an underground feature, such as an abandoned mine entrance, is being used by bats. A habitat survey is usually conducted especially for projects in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania where there are sometimes more obscure mine entrances than initially considered in a project area. Sites are then systematically trapped following the most recent USFWS and state wildlife agency protocol. 

 

Next steps . . .

If you would like to discuss your project and would like a custom quote, the following items will be helpful:

  • Google Earth KMZ or other GIS file depicting the outline of your project area
  • USFWS, PNDI, PGC, or other agency correspondence to date that relates to request for bat surveys

Please contact John Chenger at jchenger@batmanagement.com or (814) 442-4246 to discuss your project and timelines. 

Have you already conducted an acoustic survey and looking for a second opinion on your data? BCM may be able to help with its Professional Acoustic Data Analysis Service.

 

About the Indiana Bat

 Native to North America, the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) is a federally endangered species of bat found in the eastern United States. Weighing less than 10 grams, this small "mouse-eared" bat can have a chestnut-brown to almost black colored fur, and is distinguishable from similar-looking species by its foot characteristics and coloration.

These bats enjoy a wide variety of flying insects‹depending on geographic location, the Indiana bat is known to indulge in things like beetles, moths, leafhoppers, small flying aquatic insects, and mosquitoes. Capable of eating nearly half of their body-weight in insects every night, these animals are one of nature¹s most valuable pest controls for human beings.

Indiana Bat Preferred Habitat: During the summer, preferred Indiana bat habitat include hardwood forests, riparian zones, and upland wooded areas within close proximity of rivers and streams. These bats commonly roost under loose tree bark and in dead trees, a common roost location for female bats and their young during maternity season.

During the winter months (November-March), these bats will hibernate in abandoned caves and deep mines where temperatures consistently remain under 50°F, but still above freezing. The cool, humid environment required by this bat greatly narrows down the list of available locations for this bat to hibernate during winter months, an important fact to remember when effectively managing this species.

Reasons for Listing: Indiana bats like to hibernate in large numbers and in only a handful of caves. Because of this, they are left extremely vulnerable to disturbance. Unfortunately, due to the potential of having such a large number of bats in a one area, a single disturbance event can ultimately result in the death of many hibernating bats. The main cause of listing, human disturbance, is known to be one of the leading factors in the decline of the Indiana bat population, as well as the more recent effects of White-nose syndrome (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). Conservation efforts have been made to reduce the likelihood of these exposures through things like cave gating and the practice of recommended decontamination techniques.

 

About the Northern Long-eared bat

As of 2015, the Northern Long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), also referred to as the Northern myotis or Northern long-eared myotis is a newly listed federally threatened species of bat listed under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act. Weighing between 5 and 10 grams, this small "mouse-eared" bat has a dark to medium brown coat with a paler brown underside. More notable are this bat¹s long ears compared to other Myotis bats, which it uses for both feeding on the wing, as well as gleaning motionless insects. This bat has also been one of the hardest-hit by White-nose Syndrome, which has been a major contributing factor to the species population decline and current listing as "federally threatened", by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Preferred Habitat: Northern long-eared bats spend their summer roosting under loose bark, inside cavities of live and dead trees, and occasionally man-made structures such as barns. Known to roost in both colonies and individually, this bat has been observed to be more adaptable in its selection of roosts. During the winter months, the Northern long-eared bat with utilize both caves and mines where temperatures humid, cool temperatures that remain consistent throughout the season. Although generally used for winter hibernation only, these bats can also be also be found in caves and mines during the summer months. Conservation efforts have been made to reduce the likelihood of these exposures through things like cave gating and the practice of recommended decontamination techniques.

Reasons for Listing: The Northern long-eared bat is one of the most greatly affected by White-nose Syndrome, with a population decline of approximately 99% in the Northeast since its introduction. A large portion of the Northern long-eared bat¹s range has been affected by this psychrophilic fungus remains a blight to the surviving population. Additional factors such as loss of habitat and wind farm activity also contribute to the decline in this species numbers.