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Evaluation of Bats in New England Bridges: Research in Progress

TitleEvaluation of Bats in New England Bridges: Research in Progress
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsCivjan SA, Berthaume A, Bennett A, Dumont E
Conference NameTransportation Research Board 95th Annual Meeting
Date Published01/2016
PublisherTransportation Research Board
Conference LocationWashington, D.C.
Accession Number01592819
Other NumbersReport/Paper Numbers: 16-3026
KeywordsBats, Bridge construction, Endangered species, Evaluation, Habitat (Ecology), Literature reviews, New England, Wildlife

Populations of several non-migratory bat species have declined significantly in New England due to White-Nose Syndrome, resulting in several species being listed as threatened or endangered at the federal or state level. This has significant implications for bridge construction. If bats are using bridges for roosting, significant effort is required to ensure that they are not disturbed or harmed, especially during construction or maintenance work. This paper describes the initial results and project overview from a project evaluating the potential of bridges throughout New England for bat roosting. The project has completed a literature review and interviews with a wide variety of personnel involved in tracking bat populations, inspecting bridges and researching bridge roosting. It was found that very little information exists on bats roosting in bridges in the region, and published information may be region and species specific. The project team has conducted rapid visual screenings of 182 bridges throughout New England and conducted acoustic monitoring on 15 bridges. Preliminary results are presented on signs of active bat roosting, potential for a bridge to be used as a roosting site and monitoring methods to positively identify roosting in bridges. Final project findings can be used as guidance for Transportation Agencies developing protocol for construction at potential roosting sites.