Skip to comments.Seneca officials won’t pay to study bats: Supervisors discuss canal trail, flying mammals
Posted on 11/12/2004 12:36:54 PM PST by Behind Liberal Lines
WATERLOO NY Theyre not in the belfry and may not even be along the proposed canal trail, but a few flying mammals have the Seneca County Board of Supervisors going a tad batty.
Members agreed Tuesday, in a split decision, not to spend up to $5,000 for engineers to identify endangered Indiana bat habitats and wetlands as an unanticipated part of a contract with Clough Harbour & Associates engineering firm to design the trail from Geneva to the village of Waterloo.
The trail, still in the beginning stages, would run along an old railroad bed on the south side of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.
The county, under grant requirements, has to complete the study because the Indiana bats have been spotted within 42 miles of the trail. The Indiana bat, one of nine bat species found in New York, is listed as endangered, which means it requires special protections to ensure its survival.
Clough Harbour offered to do the study for $5,000 down from its original proposal of $8,000 to identify bat habitats and wetlands.
This is $5,000 we are paying to study a bat? said Richard Ricci of Seneca Falls, who objected.
Holding up documents, Ricci said his daughter had researched Indiana bats and he could tell the board everything it wanted to know.
They fit into the palm of your hand. They hibernate for the winter, he said, rattling off facts. I can see the engineering firm walking the trail. I know more about bats than they do at this point. This is insanity, total insanity.
Seneca Falls Supervisor Peter Same said the study needed to be approved to continue proceeding with requirements for a $421,000 federal Department of Transportation grant to develop trail plans.
In fact, the $5,000 would come out of grant money.
What is it theyre going to do for $5,000? asked Ricci. Theyre going to look for bats. Ill go look for bats. No more. Youre throwing away $5,000.
Joining him in opposing the measure were Supervisors Edward Barto of Fayette, Dale Smith of Junius, Barry ONeill of Lodi, Jay Dey of Ovid, David Kaiser of Romulus, and Fred Trickler and Chairman Robert Shipley, both of Waterloo. The measure failed by a weighted vote.
You just derailed the project, said Covert Supervisor Brayton Foster, adding sarcastically that if the board didnt like the bid, it could probably find another contractor to do it for twice as much.
If theyre that worried about losing this, they may come back and decide to do it for free, said Barto. Show me a bill from Clough Harbour that isnt for $5,000 or $10,000.
The proposal will go back to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee for further review.
Upstate NY bump
Sounds stupid anyway, how much impact could a canal project put on a flying mammal.
... although spending the 5k might be worth the investment if it helps avoid $5,000,000 in legal fights
Finally - some politicians beginning to think! They shut down the idiot who claimed it wasn't their money but the govt grant.
Maybe people are finally figuring out that the FEDERAL GOVT - come to think of it NO GOVT - creates wealth - it can only steal it!
Who wants to bet that the vote was along party lines?
actually a trail can have a HUGE impact on a flying mammal, ever hear of the edge effect? A basic postulate of island biogeography.
$5,000 is a rather reasonable bid, but you have to question what kind of 'science' this engineering firm could produce. The best option is to find a graduate student to do the research as part of their thesis. Cheap and reliable. Indiana State already does a ton of work on the Indiana Bat.
Indiana bats hibernate in caves in huge colonies often in the thousands in a colony.
I suspect that the fear in this case is that the trail will go by a cave entrance and lead more people to the area that will explore the cave in the nearly 6 months of the year that it could be dangerous for the bats to be woken up if hibernating.
If people go into the cave while the bats are hibernating the bats will wake up. They wake slowly, so they may not wake up until well after the people have left.
If they are woken too many times while there are no inscects for them to feed on they will die.
Because this species has it's numbers clustered in a number of large colonies, waking up a colony can kill a considerable percentage of the remaing bats.
The people who do the study looking for bats can't just walk down the trail. They are going to have to look for caves, and a large cave that is miles long can have a very small entrance that you won't see without looking very carefully.
Once they find the caves, they'll need to explore, looking for signs of Indiana bats, while being careful to disturb them as little as possible.
Exploring caves isn't a quick or easy process, and bats can fly down small passages with ease. One cave I've been to that is an Indiana Bat hibernation site has a 1400 foot crawlway near the entrance where you're crawling on your belly for about 1/3 of that distance. After the crawlway the cave opens up into very large passageway.
They might be able to find some cavers in the area that are willing to help look for caves with the bats as volunteers. If they find some, they can likely install a bat friendly cave gate and having the trail near the cave wouldn't be a big issue, but those tend to be expensive to install.
Since someone is likely to ask. No, I am not an environmental wacko. If I were I wouldn't be going into caves, I'd be one of the people that goes around looking for caves to put gates to keep everyone out all the time.
I enjoy visiting caves. I just try to limit the impace of doing so.
Hopefully, they can work out a way to do the environmental study less expensively and if there are Indiana bats in the area, figure out a way to keep them from being disturbed.
It's not like the bats will be disturbed by people walking on the trail. As long as people stay out of the cave and the trail doesn't have people walking right by the entrance of the cave too often, I doubt the bats will be bothered at all.
I've heard of it when speaking of migration patterns of other ground dwelling species, but never on something that flies.
That makes a lot of sense. I never thought about the hybernation angle before, just figured they would fly to a different location if something disturbed them.
I live in Maryland, we have bats everywhere. One flew in my house last week. Our development is 20 yers old an the bats have found lots of trees and caves nearby to roost in. I guess I think of them as being a tougher species than they really are.
Not to mention the two moonbats you have in the Senate...
... but we still have a republican governor! Even batman doesn't win them all.