Continued Monitoring and Management of WNS-affected bats in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Corridor
PI: Jessica Newbern
Bat populations have been monitored in the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Corridor (UPDE) since 2008 and in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA) since 2010. The FY16 white-nose syndrome (WNS) funds were used to continue the monitoring efforts at both parks using driven acoustic transects, stationary monitoring, and emergence counts. Both parks are in states and counties confirmed to have WNS.
The goals of our project for 2016 included the following:
- Continue driven transects in both DEWA & UPDE
- Continue emergence counts at 3 sites each in DEWA & UPDE
- Install bat boxes near known maternity roosts in DEWA & UPDE
- Survey NPS buildings at DEWA for bat use
- Develop SOP for protecting bats during building renovation in DEWA
- Develop metadata for 2008-2015 DEWA & UPDE acoustic data and upload to NPS DataStore
- Offer presentations on bat conservation to increase public awareness.
Driven transects in both parks have been completed for multiple years, and were completed in 2016. From these data we have been able to identify species presence/absence and distribution throughout the parks over the years. The UPDE does not own much of the property in the park, and the driven transects are providing us a means to survey for bat species distribution without having to find cooperative land-owners in the park corridor. Emergence counts were completed in both parks, at a minimum of 3 sites and 3 counts per park. All of the maternity roosts showed successful reproduction with emergence counts increasing when the young became volant, indicating successful reproduction. Counts over multiple years suggest that maternity roost numbers have stabilized following the drastic reduction from WNS. Bat box installation in both parks has been delayed until 2017 due to difficulty in identifying suitable locations for the boxes. We are working with a private landowner in UPDE to install the boxes on their property, which would be closer to the current maternity roost. Building surveys were completed on more than 20 buildings in DEWA and an SOP is in preparation. Metadata for 2008-2015 DEWA & UPDE acoustic data have been completed, and cooperators have shared the acoustic data set with the NPS and most records have been uploaded to the NPS DataStore. Results from this year’s acoustic data collection, emergence counts, and building surveys are being compiled by the cooperators into a report. The parks will use this information to make management decisions that will provide the necessary protection of our bat species.