GMP, VT Fish and Wildlife & Citizens Team Up to Install Bat Condo at Kingsland Bay State Park
14 July 2016
New Home Will Help Stabilize Population of Endangered Little Brown Bats
Colchester, Vt. – The endangered little brown bat has a new home at Kingsland Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh. Green Mountain Power partnered with Vermont Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Forests, Parks, and Recreation to install a new “bat condo” to give the bats a safe and secure habitat in the park and aide in the recovery in Vermont. The condos look like a tree house on stilts and provide shelter for raising young and safety from predators.
“Protecting our state’s bat population by providing safe habitat is something we are very focused on at GMP both here at Kingsland Bay State Park and with the shelter we provide for the little brown bats in our Middlebury hydroelectric generating plant, said Kristin Carlson, Chief Communications Executive. “Partnerships like this reinforce that we all have a stake in protecting endangered and threatened species in our state, and together we can make a big difference.”
A colony of bats lives in some of the public buildings at Kingsland Bay State Park, and installing the bat condo means the bats will have a long-term secure habitat away from human activity. Bats live into their 20s and 30s and return to the same place year after year, so the new bat condo will provide the opportunity for the bat population in the area to grow.
The bat condo is four feet by eight feet, weighs 1100 pounds and was designed and created by Joe Gardner, who funded, built, and donated this huge structure, with assistance from Barry Genzlinger, bat house designer and licensed bat rehabilitator. Green Mountain Power lineworkers set poles Thursday morning and used a bucket truck to lift the condo onto the poles.
“The best way for us to help recover little brown bats is to protect the survivors, so securing these summer roosts where they each raise only one young per year is incredibly important,” said Fish & Wildlife Bat Biologist Alyssa Bennett. “We really appreciate Green Mountain Power’s help installing the new bat home. The fate of this species may depend largely on the generosity of concerned citizens like Joe Gardner and partnerships with organizations and businesses like Green Mountain Power.”
“Our crews are excited to be a part of this effort to help secure the bat population in Vermont,” said Carlson. “These crews are called on to help protect other species as well including the once nearly extinct Osprey. Through teamwork and commitment we have protected nests, even relocated them when necessary and now the species is thriving.”
Six of nine species of bats in Vermont are affected by the deadly fungal disease White-nose Syndrome, and the little brown bat is now endangered in Vermont as a result. The population has declined by 90 percent in the past few years, but ongoing monitoring efforts around the state indicate the population is stabilizing. Fish and Wildlife officials provide guidance to property owners who want to safely evict unwanted bats in buildings, along with recommendations on proper bat house design and placement with the goal of conserving this endangered species.
About Green Mountain Power:
Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and has a vision to be the best small company in America by partnering with Vermonters to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. In 2014, Vote Solar named GMP a Solar Champion. More information at: www.greenmountainpower.com
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