Successful Bat Blitz Held at Redstone Arsenal

August 27, 2014

Alabama Bat Working Group Bat Blitz
Redstone Arsenal, AL
August 12-14, 2014.

The following paragraph, with minor edits, was provided by Shannon Allen, Ecologist and Certified Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Army Garrison – Redstone

US Army Garrison – Redstone Arsenal hosted an Alabama Bat Working Group Bat Blitz August 12-14, 2014. Mist netting at 5 sites yielded 66 individuals from 6 species (31 Big Brown bats, 22 Red bats, 9 Gray bats, 2 Little Brown bats, 1 Evening bat, and 1 Tricolor bat). A 28 mile acoustic monitoring route was established and was run both nights during the blitz. Passive acoustic monitors were installed at 3 of the 5 mist-net sites and preliminary results indicate the presence of additional species: Silver-haired bat, Eastern small-footed bat, and Indiana bat. In addition to trapping in forested and wetland habitats, the group explored bats’ use of  culverts and abandoned buildings. Day trips included visits to some of Redstone’s sensitive species; the Tuscumbia Darter (Etheostoma tuscumbia) and the Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus). Tom Counts of Conservation Services Of Alabama, LLC donated funding to the Working Group for food and drinks, Clayton Hendrix with Teledyne Brown Engineering provided delicious homemade desserts, the US Army Garrison– Redstone Arsenal Environmental Management Division provided White-nose Syndrome decontamination supplies, and US Army Garrison -Redstone Arsenal Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation provided housing for some participants. Tennessee Valley Authority, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Alabama Department of Labor, Geological Survey of Alabama, Georgia Department of Transportation, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants, and HNTB, Alabama A&M, Auburn University, and Athens State University provided equipment and/or personnel for the event.

Specific training at the blitz included establishing and running stationary bat acoustic monitoring stations, mobile acoustic monitoring, and decontamination procedures for White-nose Syndrome (WNS). In addition, those with less experience learned how to set up mist nets to capture bats and bat identification. Those lucky enough to be with an experienced Tennessee Valley Authority employee, Holly LeGrand, also experienced how to take a wing punch from bats. The samples will be forwarded to a researcher in New York studying the differences in immunological responses to WNS in bats highly susceptible to this fungal disease and those that are not impacted as greatly.

The Alabama Bat Working Group wishes to thank all who provided support and Redstone Arsenal for hosting the event. We would like to especially thank Shannon Allen for all of her hard work in setting it up and making it so successful.


White-Nose Syndrome Discovered in Bats in Bankhead National Forest

April 8, 2014

Double Springs, Alabama  (March 27, 2014)  — The U.S. Forest Service has discovered White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in two bats collected recently in the Bankhead National Forest.  The bats, which tested positive for WNS, were found in Armstrong and Backwards-Confusion Caves on the Bankhead National Forest. The specimens represent the first confirmed cases of WNS for Lawrence County, Alabama.

White-Nose Syndrome is a disease characterized by fungal growth around the muzzle and wings of hibernating bats. First discovered in 2006, the disease spread rapidly from its origin in New York and is now as far south as Alabama and Georgia. WNS was confirmed in Alabama in 2012 with cases in Jackson County. The recent confirmed case in Lawrence County was the first discovery on national forests in Alabama.

WNS has caused the death of almost six million bats that are an important part of forest ecosystems, helping to control forest and agricultural insect pests.

According to Eric Schmeckpeper, acting district ranger of the Bankhead National Forest, the Forest Service issued a closure order for caves in all southern region national forests in May 2009 to proactively slow the spread of the fungus. The closure order remains active and includes caves in the Bankhead National Forest.

“There is no known risk to humans from White-Nose Syndrome,” said Allison Cochran,  a wildlife biologist for the Bankhead National Forest.  “It is possible that people can spread the disease by inadvertently transporting fungal spores on clothing, footwear and gear that has been used in caves that have been infected,” added Cochran. Decontamination of clothing, footwear and gear can reduce accidental transmission of fungal spores.

The Forest Service is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alabama Department of Conservation, Alabama A&M University, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study and others to reduce the spread of WNS. In the event that a member of the public spots an infected bat, they should notify the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources at 256-353-2634 with information about the location. Bats that may be encountered on the ground should remain undisturbed.

Visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org to learn more about this wildlife epidemic.

Bat Conservation Resources:

Image

Bats showing fungus on ears and wings, symptoms of White-Nose Syndrome, located in the Bankhead National Forest.

Tammy Freeman Truett

Public Affairs Staff Officer

U.S. Forest Service

2946 Chestnut Street

Montgomery, AL 36107

334-241-8144 (direct)

334-832-4470 (office)

Email: ttruett@fs.fed.us

Website: www.fs.usda.gov/alabama

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