Niobrara National Scenic River is located in northern Nebraska. Managed by multiple agencies and private landowners, this 29,101-acre park includes 76 miles of the winding river. Riparian and upland forests, bluffs, and surface waters in the park may provide good bat foraging and roosting habitat. High bat activity occurs in the habitat along the Niobrara River and in the wooded draws. Some bats can eat thousands of mosquitoes each night making them important for insect control in the campgrounds along the river.
The Northern Great Plains Inventory & Monitoring Network monitors bats to detect long-term trends in bat populations. Eight acoustic recording stations and two mobile survey routes were established in 2015 at Niobrara National Scenic River. Acoustic recorders detect the unique ultrasonic calls bats use for echolocation. Several of the monitoring stations were on private land and Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, managed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. We share results with these network partners. There were 72,705 bat call recordings from stations across all survey nights from 2014–2017. 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.