Bat Projects in Parks: Blue Ridge Parkway

Summary

Continued Surveys for Bats Affected by WNS Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

PI: Bob Cherry

Since 2011 we have surveyed six 20-mile bat survey routes in N.C. twice a summer using Anabat equipment. We also surveyed four routes in Va. sporadically from 2012 through 2014, and in 2015 we established three of these as long-term sites using white-nose syndrome (WNS) funding. In 2016 these three routes in Va. were conducted using NABat protocols through an agreement with Conservation Management Institute (Virginia Tech) using WNS funding. Each of the driving routes was done twice, and during the week when the route was driven, CMI set out four acoustic detectors for four consecutive nights at sites we established with CMI for the stationary survey sites.

We continued the driving surveys that have been done twice a summer since 2011 along the Blue Ridge Parkway in N.C. At three of these routes we established the four stationary survey sites as called for in the NABat protocols. We were able to actually set out microphones at three of these sites since we only have three Anabat Express detectors. We plan on adding a fourth microphone to these driving routes and also to establish locations and set out microphones at four stationary sites at the other three driving routes in N.C. When the equipment wasn’t being used for the NABat driving and stationary surveys, we used it for surveys at other locations in the park.

We completed approximately 60 nights of surveys at a known roost site, in park developed areas and in targeted significant natural areas. One survey of a bridge detected federally listed gray bats (Myotis grisescens), which had not been documented in the park and were confirmed with a physical survey of the bridge. During the search Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) were also found, which was another new species confirmed for the park.

Our intern managed all of the data collected during the 2016 surveys and cleaned up data from surveys done in previous years. We have run all of the surveys through the bat call classifier software programs BCID and Echoclass, and we are working on also analyzing the files with our newly purchased classifier Kaleidoscope. With help from the state NABat coordinator we are also continuing to learn how to manually vet the results of these programs. All of the 2016 North Carolina data has been entered into the Data Store using NABat Version 1.6, and we are looking into how this will convert to Version 1.7. We are waiting for the data from the work that CMI did in Va. (they have until the end of the year to provide this to us) and will enter those data when available. As time allows we are also entering pre-NABat survey data in the NABat database and hope to have all of that done by next survey season.