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I-69 Bat Studies

September 10, 2014

indiana bat

As part of the development of Interstate 69 in Indiana, Lochmueller Group (Lochgroup) developed and supervised the most thorough field survey ever for the Indiana bat. It included sampling of nearly 200 sites over two years; radio-telemetry to identify roost trees and maternity colonies; harp trapping at caves; winter cave surveys; reviewing 259 bridges as night roosting sites; and field review of 250 caves for micro-climate conditions (air flow, temperature, flooding, cave volume, and length); and studying a specific bridge that acts as a migratory stop-over for the Indiana bat.

For the specific bridge study, Lochgroup visited the site 118 times over five years to survey the bat population, which included 8,569 bats from five species. Two separate mist netting surveys under the bridge banded 84 bats with orange bands. Banding was also conducted on 12 days in 2008, when 224 bats were banded with silver metal bands. Banding studies showed that many bats have a high fidelity to this bridge, and that it is connected with at least two Priority 1A Indiana bat hibernacula in Indiana.

Lochgroup completed two Tier 1 Biological Assessments, four Tier 2 Biological Assessments, and a Section 7 Consultation with Region 5 US Fish & Wildlife Service.
As a result, Lochgroup worked with the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the USFWS to find and purchase biologically-attractive Indiana bat habitats, which totaled 13 square miles.

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