Posted on September 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Monitoring to help inform conservation plan
RISCO — The National Park Service hopes to protect bat populations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a winter closure to limit human disturbance to bat hibernacula and help hikers avoid interactions with bats.
The Whiteoak Sink area will be closed through March 31 while park biologists monitor the site throughout the winter to cllect population, ecological and behavioral data. The information will be used to develop a long-term protection plan. An extended closure through late spring may be recommended if the winter data suggests such an action would increase the chances for survival of a significant number of bats. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, white-nose syndrome | Tagged: bats, biodiversity, Environment, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, white-nose syndrome | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
White-nose syndrome may be nearly impossible to eradicate from caves.
New study traces biological evolution of bat-killing fungus
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A new study by University of Akron scientists forecasts a gloomy future for North American bats, showing that the fungus that causes the deadly white-nose syndrome can likely survive in caves with or without the presence of bats.
The persistence of the fungus threatens regional extinction of some bat species, according to the new study published in PLOS One. White-nose syndrome has killed almost 7 million bats and appears to be relentlessly spreading across the country.
“The ability of the fungus to grow in caves absent of bats would mean that future attempts to reintroduce bats to caves would be doomed to failure,” said University of Akron associate biology professor Hazel Barton. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, white-nose syndrome | Tagged: bats, biodiversity, Environment, white-nose syndrome | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wind turbines killed at least 600,00o bats in 2012.
CU-Boulder researcher says wind farms are “key threat” to bat populations
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — By the latest conservative estimate, at least 600,000 bats were killed by energy producing wind turbines in 2012, with the highest fatality rates in areas near the Appalachian Mountains.
Little information is available on bat deaths at wind turbine facilities in the Rocky Mountain West or the Sierra Nevada, according to Mark Hayes, a University of Colorado, Boulder researcher who authored a new study, set to be published in the journal BioScience.
“The development and expansion of wind energy facilities is a key threat to bat populations in North America,” Hayes said. “Dead bats are being found underneath wind turbines across North America. The estimate of bat fatalities is probably conservative.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, renewable energy | Tagged: bats, biodiversity, energy, wildlife, wind turbine bat deaths, wind turbines | 4 Comments »
Posted on October 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘All in all the news for hibernating bats in the U.S. is pretty grim’
A little brown bat with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The deadly fungus that has killed millions of bats across the U.S. is a tough, opportunistic organism that can eat almost anything and survive in a wide range of conditions.
There seems to very little that might stop the Geomyces destructans from spreading further and persisting indefinitely in bat caves, according to University of Illinois scientists who recently studied the basic biology of the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome. Continue reading
Filed under: bats, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, white-nose syndrome | Tagged: bats, biodiversity, Environment, Geomyces destructans, white-nose syndrome | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Re-opening caves could lead to spread of deadly white-nose syndrome
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service this week denied an appeal of a new cave-access policy for the Rocky Mountain region, clearing the way for the re-opening of some caves that have been under a blanket closure the past three years to try and prevent the spread of bat-killing white-nose syndrome.
The fungal pathogen was probably introduced to caves in the Northeast by humans and quickly spread to kill more than 7 million bats as far west as Missouri and Oklahoma. Bats are unsung members of the country’s ecosystems, providing valuable insect-control and pollination services. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: bats, Center for Biological Diversity, U.S. Forest Service, white-nose syndrome | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 9, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Appeal says new rules won’t protect bats from white-nose syndrome
A Missouri bat that died after being infected with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy USGS.
* Click here for more Summit Voice coverage of white-nose syndrome
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Conservation groups say U.S. Forest Service officials made an arbitrary and capricious decision when they replaced a widespread cave and mine closure with a weaker rule that could lead to the introduction of a deadly bat disease in the Rocky Mountain region.
In its appeal, the Center for Biological Diversity said that required decontamination procedures are questionable at best under field conditions, and that mandatory closures of caves when white-nose syndrome is detected within 250 miles doesn’t go far enough to protect bats.
Travelers and cave visitors could easily span that distance before the disease is ever detected, thus inadvertently spreading the disease into West, which so far has remained free of the disease that has wiped out more than 5 million bats across the eastern U.S. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: bats, Environment, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, white-nose syndrome | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 2, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
White River National Forest keeps a few caves closed permanently, requires cave registration and decontamination
*Click here for more Summit Voice coverage of white-nose syndrome
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The White River National Forest is well-known for its many ski areas and stunning high-elevation wilderness areas, but the forest is also a Rocky Mountain stronghold for bats. And with a deadly disease poised to move into the region, resource managers are taking steps to try and protect the flying mammals with a new cave access policy.
Based on a regional study completed a few weeks ago, WRNF supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams has decided to keep several caves with biologically significant populations closed all year, and other caves may be closed seasonally. Year-round closures are to be enacted on ranger districts if white-nose syndrome is documented within 250 miles. The regional policy and supporting documents are online at this Forest Service website. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: bats, cave access policy, forest service caves, U.S. Forest Service, White River National Forest, white-nose syndrome | 1 Comment »