Bill Penner

Fauquier picks up a bat habitat this spring

On Saturday, April 28 bat houses were installed on a TLC-owned property just south of Fauquier.

  • Mon May 7th, 2012 5:00am
  • Life

On Saturday, April 28 The Land Conservancy of B.C. and the Kootenay Community Bat Project are joining forces to install bat houses on a TLC-owned property just south of Fauquier. In 2004, the 112 acre property was donated to TLC to protect significant ecological values, including a large maternity colony of approximately 1500 little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus).

Located on the shores of the Lower Arrow Lake, this property is prime bat habitat. With the approaching threat of White Nose Syndrome, a disease that is decimating bat populations in eastern North America and spreading westward, little brown bats are one of three species that were recently given the unlucky title of ‘endangered’ by Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). White Nose Syndrome is not yet in B.C., but it has been estimated to have killed approximately 6 million bats in North America since it was first detected in 2006.

“Half the bat species in B.C. are considered vulnerable or threatened and now even our most common species, the little brown myotis, is considered endangered,” said Juliet Craig, Program Biologist for the Kootenay Community Bat Project. “It is now more important than ever to protect and enhance bat habitat, and bat-houses are an excellent way to do that.”

TLC and Kootenay Community Bat Project have received a grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Fund to construct and install a variety of bat houses at this site. The goal of the project is to provide a diversity of roost habitat options and identify what bat-house design and location is optimal for this species.

“We’re grateful to have the support of volunteers, Ministry of Environment Staff, and local organizations such as the Kootenay Community Bat Project and the Revelstoke Rod & Gun Club,” says Emily Nilsen, TLC’s Senior Project Officer.

People can support bats in the Kootenays in a few ways, Craig told the Arrow Lakes News.  If they have bats roosting on their property, they can “report their bats” to the Kootenay Community Bat Project. Project biologists will visit the site, identify the bat species, and provide them with information to maintain the colony where it is or move it elsewhere if that’s what they choose to do.

They can also take part in the B.C. Bat Counts that happen four times per summer – two between May 15 and June 21 (before pups can fly) and two more between July 6 and July 31 (when pups are flying and exiting the roost). Anyone who is interested can help with the count which helps monitor our bat populations.

And last but not least, people can welcome bats into their lives by build their own bat houses too. For more information on any of these projects, contact Juliet Craig at  kootenaybats@gmail.com.

On June 22 TLC and the Kootenay Community Bat Project will be returning to the Fauquier Community Hall for an evening presentation on bats. Mark your calendars for an educational evening adventure from 8-10 p.m.