JEFFERSON COUNTY ~ THE INDIANA BROWN BAT
Nationwide, white-nose syndrome has wiped out an estimated 1 million bats since it was initially seen in a New York cave in 2006. Since then, it has been identified in 14 states and two Canadian provinces and is moving westward.
Bats play a crucial role in controlling crop and forest pests, the loss of so many bats will affect our agricultural economy and forest economy.
Their appetite for bugs has major implications for agriculture not only in New York State but nationwide.
“Bats are the primary predators of nighttime insects,” including moths and beetles that damage corn and other commodity crops. With fewer bats, we have more insects, which mean it is necessary to use more pesticides.
The Indiana bat – classified by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as endangered. Are legally protected they are not immune from white nose syndrome this disease could have a devastating effect upon the survival of this species. White nose syndrome is a fungus it attacks cave-dwelling bats while they hibernate. The fungus grows on the animals’ ears, wings and nose. It is believed that the fungus wakes them or keeps them awake. As a result, infected bats use more of their stored body fat and starve to death. Additionally to further devastate the bat population the growing popularity of wind turbines and wind farms poses problems for bats, especially when they are migrating.
Tree-roosting species, like the Indiana bat, are also in jeopardy when the large dead trees they roost in are removed and their habitat is disturbed in other ways, such as clearing for transmission line routes to accommodate wind turbines.
Serious threats to bats come from wind turbines and habitat destruction. When a species is eradicated from the planet, it is an irreversible problem.
Just yesterday, there was a story in the Watertown Times about Fort Drum and how the Army was conducting an environmental assessment to determine if they will install two “small” wind turbines on base. They mentioned that they were not concerned that Fort Drum is home to the endangered Indiana bat because their closest known colony is over 2700 meters away (1.6 miles). However, the Indiana brown bat typically moves between 12 and 40 miles to roost locations. Additionally bats do not stay in the roost location ,they are on the move constantly at night when foraging for food.
The story reported that workers on post will monitor the area daily for bird and bat injuries or kills, but according to Cait Schadock, a National Environment Policy Act coordinator, on post, the location is the least inhabited on post. "It already has no trees on it, so roosting bats and birds are no issue," she said.
It is ridiculous to assume that the bats will not be flying in the areas on post selected for wind turbines.
Coincidentally today there is another story from Fort Drum this story is about biologists from Fort Drum and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife service’s collecting and tagging brown bats to get estimates of bat populations and the effect of white nose - syndrome it is estimated that this disease has
killed more than 1 million cave-hibernating bats in the state since it was first discovered near Albany in 2006. In Jefferson County, the bat population has declined more than 50 percent during the past couple of years.
Robyn A. Niver, endangered species biologist for the U.S., said, the information gathered, will also be used to help the U.S. make a final decision on whether the eastern small-footed and northern long-eared bats warrant additional protection under the Endangered Species Act. If the species receive federal protection, they will also gain protection from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
"We're here to help Fort Drum with a research project looking at little brown bats and the effects of white-nose syndrome on them," she said. We're living a huge environmental experiment right now. We've never witnessed widespread losses of animals like this ever in our lifetimes."
Watertown Daily Times Army eyes wind power at Fort Drum
Watertown Daily Times STUDY DOCUMENTS BAT DIE-OFF