On September 30th, nine members of our Emergency Response Team headed south to Oregon County, MO where they embarked upon a unique project to help protect local bat habitat. During this 10 day project members built “bat friendly” steel gates across two entrances to Oregon County Bat Cave. The gates allow Bats to travel to and from their homes safely while preventing human intrusion. A human introduced threat to the Bat community, White Nose Syndrome, is on the rise and without such habitat intervention the Bat population is likely to drop drastically.
To construct the gates AmeriCorps St. Louis Members cut, hauled, and hoisted heavy steel beams and then anchored them into place. The work was difficult, but rewarding. By the end of the project the crew had completed gates at both cave entrances. The gates will help insure that Oregon County Bat Cave, a critical resource, will be protected for generations to come.
Oregon County Bat Cave is over 1,400 ft long and researchers speculate that a mature colony of over 100,000 threatened gray bats use the cave for winter hibernation.
Our team worked closely with the Cave Research Foundation and the US Forest Service during the construction process. The Cave Research Foundation has installed dozens of similar “bat friendly” gates across the country.
Learn more about White Nose Syndrome