MISSOULA – The Center for Integrated Research on the Environment at the University of Montana has expanded an ongoing partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense and Army Corps of Engineers to monitor endangered bats on U.S. Air Force bases.
The project, which started in November, builds upon previous CIRE research conducted last summer on the northern long-eared bats on 14 bases in the central U.S. Researchers are now studying all threatened bat species on 48 Air Force bases in 18 states across the southern and eastern U.S.
The research will help the bases know whether they have any threatened or endangered species of concern, as well as help the Air Force better manage the habitat and reach the ultimate goal of protecting the landscape.
“We will report our survey results, and then the military will develop a management plan that is locally focused, but nationally important,” said CIRE Director Ric Hauer, a professor of stream ecology at UM and principal investigator for the project. “Each base will have its own specific resources incorporated into their management plan in order for them to properly manage for this particular group of species, part of our wildlife heritage in the U.S.”
The CIRE team, led by UM-CIRE Bat Ecology Research Coordinator Mike Keech, installed five acoustic monitors on each base that are set to automatically turn on at predetermined times throughout the day, when the bats are expected to be most active. The monitors will collect data for several months.
“The unique thing about this particular project is that the research monitoring covers much of the continental United States,” Hauer said. “We will end up of with a total of 62 locations recorded, everywhere except the Pacific Northwest.”
The Department of Defense is charged with military land management. In May 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a five-year, $45 million cooperative agreement with UM to study and solve environmental and cultural resource problems across the nation.
Through the agreement, the University also assists the Corps in implementing land and water ecological restoration, maintenance and training for optimal management of public resources. Together, the two entities work to promote positive ecosystem health, endangered species awareness, and the continuing wealth of natural resources on Air Force bases.
CIRE at UM is organized within a suite of investigation, research and support areas with specific roles and responsibilities strategically designed to address the particular needs of its clients. In addition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense, CIRE works with agencies, foundations and private organizations to accomplish specific research goals.
For more information call Mona Nazeri, CIRE media information specialist, at 406-243-2617 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.