Earth Day is For the Bats
We live in times of great challenge and change — sustaining our natural environments is a paramount concern. I’m lucky to work with some of the sharpest minds in the industry, who anticipate environmental trends and help our clients stay one step ahead.
One of the many issues our team of scientists has been tracking is the precipitous decline in bat populations, primarily due to habitat loss and disease. Bats play ecological roles important to the health of natural ecosystems and human economies (e.g., they consume vast amounts of insects, pollinate plants, spread seeds, etc.). Several species of bats have been listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, as a result of their decline. Most recently, the Northern long-eared bat was listed as threatened.
To respond to our City of Sioux Falls client’s request for additional information about the Northern long-eared bat listing, our Sioux Falls team, led by Becky Baker, sprang into action. We collaborated with the South Dakota U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, North Dakota Department of Transportation biologists, and several others on documentation and conservation measures for our clients to think about now that this species is listed.
Our team then collaborated with other HDR scientists and ecologists throughout the country and developed a webinar to assist our clients and staff with the requirements for this species. The client webinar is appropriately scheduled for Earth Day, and the topic is consultation under Section 7 of the ESA during proposed projects. Webinar speakers will present the basic requirements from the perspective of project managers explaining:
- What the ESA is.
- What steps project managers should take to make sure their projects are ESA-compliant.
- How to tell whether this species is present within their project areas.
We’re proud to do our part to make sure our clients’ projects are both environmentally sound and compliant with current regulations. We look forward to a day when more species are fully recovered, and species listings are a thing of the past.