Turning a Hole in the Ground into a Home
Bats in the desert choose roosting sites that might surprise you. They often roost in abandoned mines and associated structures. The BLM in partnership with the State of California – Abandoned Mine Lands Unit has done many projects in recent years to protect bat habitat, as well as humans from the hazards of abandoned mines. These projects consist of constructing bat gates. A bat gate has openings big enough for bats to fly out and hunt for insects at night, but small enough to prevent people from entering the mine.
Scientific knowledge of the response of mine dependent bats to gates has increased over the past 25 years resulting in the evolution of gate designs from simple round bar gates to the current angle-iron standard gate. This evolution has resulted in substantial improvements in the security and effectiveness of closures for bats. Options include polyurethane foam plugs (PUF) with a horizontal 48” pipe. This process will continue using the Bat Conservation International design standard which may be modified in the future as we learn more effective methods of protecting bats while we protect the public from the hazards of abandoned mines.