Awarded to Wildlife Conservation Society Canada to restore natural, and secure anthropogenic, roosting habitat for bats in the RDCK LCF service area.

PROPONENT: Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCSC)

DESCRIPTION: Bats are the longest-lived and slowest-reproducing of all small mammals, making them particularly vulnerable to slow-developing threats. Habitat degradation over the lifetime of a human and bat, which can span decades, means that already limited habitats can instantly be lost through events like eviction from a building with no suitable roosts or timber harvest, with few or no suitable alternative roosts to support maternity colonies. Because low elevation old and mature trees with the requisite cavities and crevices for bat colonies are becoming increasingly limited, there is increasing interest in the efficacy of implementing additional appropriate mitigation strategies (artificial bark, chainsaw modified snag creation, bat condo, bat boxes). In addition to reduced natural habitat, building-roost evictions by landowners are on the rise. A key component of managing and protecting building roosting bats is to provide outreach and foster stewardship to the bats that depend on buildings.

Our long-term goal is to restore natural, and secure anthropogenic, roosting habitat for bats. In the West Kootenay, including the RDCK LCF area, our project entails locating, creating, and monitoring roosts, and communicating with landowners. Using chainsaw modifications, artificial bark (BrandenBark™, marketed to last 30+ years); and construction of condos, we have enhanced bat roost habitat in the West Kootenay, and through the Kootenay Community Bat Project, we have identified new building roosts. We will now monitor/evaluate through acoustic recording, emergence counts, mark-recapture (at sentinel roosts), and genetic sampling (guano).


Our project objectives are to:
1. Monitor the new Bat Condo in Kuskanook.
2. Monitor artificial tree roosts and wildlife trees in North Kootenay Lake area (Lardeau – Duncan Lake).
3. Monitor for changes in baseline species diversity and relative abundance.
4. Create an interactive map of all known roosts in the RDCK LCF area.
5. Expand the annual BC Bat Count Initiative.
6. Support RDCK LCF area landowners who have bats and provide Basin-specific guidance for roost protection, enhancement or replacement.

PHOTOS: Cori Lausen, Kendal Benesh