Use of Innovative Technology to Deter Bat Bridge Use Prior to and During Construction

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

04/15/19

END DATE

05/31/20

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CTRE
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Başak Aldemir Bektaş

Associate Scientist, CTRE

Co-Principal Investigator
Katelyn Freeseman

Associate Director, BEC

About the research

White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is estimated to have killed more than 5.7 million bats in eastern North America since it was identified in New York in 2006. Due to WNS and increased disturbance of habitats used by bats for roosting and foraging, there has been a growing concern about the bat population in the United States in the last decade. Due to the steep decline in bat population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2015. Additional bat species are anticipated to be listed in the coming years.

During the summer months, bat species may utilize bridges as day-time roosting habitat, and may also use them as places to form maternity colonies where they give birth and raise their young. Bridge repair and replacement projects are required to follow additional regulatory requirements to avoid and minimize impacts to the bats, when protected bat species are present on bridges. Some of these requirements (e.g., timing restrictions) are challenging to implement given Minnesota’s short construction season. This project seeks to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of deploying non-lethal ultrasonic acoustic devices in the field to temporarily deter bats from roosting on bridges ahead of construction or maintenance activities, while minimizing harm to bats and non-target species. Test sites will be located in Minnesota or areas with similar bat species and habitats.

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