Agate Fossil Beds National Monument safeguards Miocene Epoch mammal fossils and the prairie ecosystem in western Nebraska. The Niobrara River is stream-like as it passes through the center of the 3,058 acre park and, although the primary habitat found at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is Northern Great Plains mixed-grass prairie, there are small groves of old cottonwoods in the floodplain of the Niobrara River that provide good roosting and foraging habitat for bats.
The Northern Great Plains Inventory & Monitoring Network monitors bats to detect long-term trends in bat populations at the park. Forty-three acoustic recording stations were set up in 2015 and 2016 at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument to study bat summer habitat use. Acoustic recorders detect the unique ultrasonic calls bats use for echolocation. There were 67,917 bat call recordings from stations across all survey nights from 2015–2017. The data were analyzed through specialized software programs that make preliminary identifications of the bat species based on individual call characteristics, such as frequency and shape. Some bat species make calls that are similar to other species, which is why researchers with special expertise review the calls and make the final species determinations.