NWI Bat Project

Background:

Northwest Indiana is a surprisingly unique landscape.  Land-use ranges from nearly impervious city scape to mixed rural/urban areas to agricultural monocrops.  Intermingled within this human dominated complex are patches of natural habitat managed by various landowners.  Despite the abundant modifications to the landscape, habitat diversity continues to be high in the region due to its location at the intersection of the eastern forest, western great prairie, intersection of northern boreal forest, and glacial moraines with southern big rivers floodplains.  Habitats consists of sand dunes to prairie and oak savanna to eastern maple dominated forest to lowland hardwood swamps.

This diverse matrix of habitat is a summer home to the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and recently listed Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as well as state endangered evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis) and state species of concern including the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus; formerly Eastern Pipistrelle), eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis), hoary bat (Lasiusus cinereus), and silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) (https://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/8450.htm).  A single evening of surveying on the IWLA_PCC Frame Family Farm property in August of 2018 yielded 9 bat species!!

Project Goals:

The NWI Bat Project seeks to:

1) understand the use by bats and value of conservation lands for bats in our highly urbanized landscape matrix in order to inform land-use planning

2) monitor bat populations in time as wind energy development expands between summer roosts in NW Indiana and wintering habitat to the south

3) monitor changes in bat use from habitat improvements at the local scale;

4) provide useable data for research and species protections.

Methods:

Monitoring Data collection:

Point data will be collected with Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter SM4Bat and SMM-U2 ultrasonic microphones and transect data will be collected in accessible locations including IWLA-PCC properties, Chain-of-Lakes Watershed Group properties, and/or members’ properties with Wildlife Acoustics Echo Meter Touch 2 Pro ultrasonic microphones attached to mobile devices.

Site and transect protocols will follow recommendations provided by North American Bat (NABat) (https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs208.pdf), Bat Acoustic Monitoring Portal (BatAMP) (https://batamp.databasin.org/pages/about-batamp), and the Midwest Bat Working Group (http://www.mwbwg.org).

Habitat improvements:

Participating groups and members will 1) maintain and enhance their properties for suitable roosting trees and maternity locations for bats, including bat houses and encourage bat habitat improvements by others though education and outreach.   IWLA-PCC with the assistance of KV REMC installed 6 poles with BrandenBark (http://copperheadconsulting.com/brandenbark/) at the he Frame Family Little Calumet Conservation Area to provide roosting habitat for the endangered Indiana bats.

Partners:

Izaak Walton League—Porter County Chapter

Chain-of-Lakes Watershed Group, Valparaiso, IN

Westchester Bird Sanctuary, Chesterton, IN

Swarner Nature Preserves

Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy

Discovery 4-H

Sierra Club Duneland

USGS Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station, Chesterton, IN

Contact Tammy Patterson (tapatterson96@gmail.com) to join the effort or to schedule a bat educational talk for your group.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *