Use of innovative technology to deter bat-bridge use

Focus Area

Environmental Considerations in Planning








2-3 years

Research Idea Scope

Bats across the United States are threatened by a relatively new fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS). WNS has resulted in bat population declines of over 90% in parts of the northeastern U.S., and the fungus is continuing to spread westward. These declines most recently resulted in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2015, and it is anticipated that additional bat species will be listed in the coming years. The northern long-eared bat as well as other bat species sometimes utilize bridges as day-time roosting habitat, as well as places to form maternity colonies where they give birth and raise their young. When protected bat species are present on bridges, bridge repair and replacement projects are required to follow additional regulatory requirements to avoid and minimize impacts to the bats. Some of these requirements are challenging to implement given short construction seasons in parts of the country with long and cold winters.

Urgency and Payoff

This project seeks to develop alternative strategies for minimizing the impacts of bridge projects on bats by evaluating the feasibility and efficacy of deploying technology such as non-lethal ultrasonic acoustic devices, UV light devices, and physical exclusion plugs to deter bats from roosting on bridges.

Suggested By

Christopher E. Smith Minnesota DOT

[email protected]