BY: Follow @LizWFB
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is spending over $80,000 to monitor bats for four months, according to a government contract.
A lesser-known mission of the Corps involves tracking endangered species of bats due to a decline in their populations from green energy windmills and disease.
The Corps announced an $81,700 award to SCI Engineering, Inc. on Wednesday to help assist them in these efforts. The project will occur between May and August next year.
According to the contract, the SCI Engineering will be responsible for “bat collection, handling, banding and measuring; data collection and reporting; radio tagging and tracking; and other bat monitoring.”
The Corps started its monitoring project in 2009 out of concern that wind turbines were killing too many bats.
“Bats are experiencing numerous threats: foraging and roosting habitat loss, contaminants, and continued human disturbance at winter hibernation sites,” according to the Natural Resources Management Gateway, an environmental stewardship program of the Corps.
“Recently, two new threats have emerged,” the Corps said, including, “bat mortality associated with wind energy turbines.”
Approximately 10 bats die every year in each turbine in the country, they said.
According to the Heartland Institute, wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats each year. In the United Kingdom, scientists have suggested that wind turbines cause bats’ internal organs to explode.
The Corps also tracks bats in response to White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), an emerging fungal disease that has resulted in the death over 1 million hibernating bats in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
The monitoring will occur near the Corps Rivers Project Office in eight areas along the Mississippi River in Illinois and Missouri.
The contract warned that the work areas are covered in “weeds and grasses, briars, brush, poison ivy, and heavy timber.”
Detailed instructions for the survey are also given, which say the monitoring must begin a half an hour before sunset, and last for at least 5 hours. Any bat mortality or serious injury has to be reported to the Corps and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within 24 hours.
No smoking is allowed at the sample sites, and radios, campfires, and citronella candles “shall not be permitted within 300 feet of site during surveys.”
The surveyors must also take a picture of each bat captured, showing whether the bat has toe hair.
The document states: “The Contractor shall photo document each Indiana bat captured. Photos shall include: a 3⁄4 view of the face showing the ear, tragus, and muzzle; view of calcar showing presence/absence of keel; a transverse view of toes showing extent of toe hairs.”