Bat Hibernacula Inventories and Research
WSP’s team of expert ecologists has been delivering tailored environmental solutions for a variety of clients for decades. Following the designation of certain bats as Species at Risk in 2013, addressing impacts on bats has become a critical component for environmental approvals on many projects. In addition to standard inventories to assess bat habitats, including acoustic monitoring in forest areas, WSP has developed innovative methods for surveying bat hibernacula (underground winter shelters) and assessing potential for hibernacula at sites using a multi-disciplinary modelling approach.
Mining Projects and Bats
With special requirements for sheltering, foraging and reproduction habitats in both summer and winter seasons, bats require particular attention in order to assess and mitigate adverse impacts. In our past work, WSP’s ecologists assessed the unique characteristics of each site to ensure the necessary information was available for environmental approvals and refinement of development plans.
In winter, bats in Canada seek shelter in subterranean caves and abandoned mines where suitable temperature and humidity conditions allow them to survive the season using their stored fat reserves. These bat hibernacula sites are sensitive to disturbance and rare features in the landscape. In the case of abandoned mine shafts that are used as bat hibernacula, it is important to both restrict human access for public safety, and maintain access for bats. To address this challenge, WSP has developed customized bat gates at a number of mine reclamation sites in Québec. In addition, machinery access throughout the site was maintained during the design stages.
During the summer, the habitat requirements for bats are very different, relying on treed areas for roosting and reproduction, as well as bodies of water or wetlands for foraging on insects. The impacts of mining developments on these summer habitats can be also be mitigated through WSP’s effective strategies, including installation of bat boxes or artificial tree bark structures.
With the alarming decline of their populations in Canada, protecting bats has become an important environmental issue for mining projects, directly influencing public perception and regulatory approvals for projects. Thanks to our unique and recognized expertise in this field, WSP offers innovative solutions to meet client needs while ensuring the protection of these sensitive species.