Tree Enhancement and Roost Mitigation Project

A project focused on tree roost enhancement, old growth gap mitigation, and bat-friendly forestry techniques for the forestry industry.

The Project:

Due to cumulative human impacts, maternity roosts for bats are increasingly limiting on the landscape. This has an impact on reproductive females who need specific microclimate requirements to raise a pup. This project focuses on bat roost enhancement in the Golden, Columbia Wetlands, and North Kootenay Lake areas of British Columbia in which bark roosts are created or enhanced in areas critical to tree-roosting dependent species such the currently endangered Northern Myotis.   WCS Canada is working with a large multidisciplinary suite of partners (see below) to integrate critical roosting habitat into ecosystem restoration and enhancement initiatives, using a staged approach to ensure that maternity roosts are immediately available and that they remain available to bats while natural tree roosts recover. To do this we implement a combination of Branden Bark installations (old growth tree mimics - poles), bat houses (‘condo’), and wildlife tree creation. Ongoing genetic testing of guano samples will identify species that use the sites. 

 In order to fill knowledge gaps about tree and roost use by bats, WCS Canada has partnered with UNBC and Dr. Erin Baerwald  and Masters student Emily DeFreitas to describe seasonal use of tree roosts by silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) in an area where they are known to occur year-round just outside Nelson, BC. Tree roosts are located using temperature-sensitive radiotransmitters affixed to free-flying bats to investigate duration of roost use, internal microclimate, torpor use and tree characteristics.  Artificial bark roosting structures have been installed in this study area to compare microclimates in known roost trees to those in artificial bark roosts to determine potential effectiveness as habitat compensation in the event of tree roost loss.


Funders and Collaborators:

 WCS Canada is partnering with the Columbia Basin Trust, the Kootenay Connect project of the Kootenay Conservation Program, Environment and Climate Change Canada (Habitat Stewardship Program), the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Integrated Ecological Research, Strategic Resource Solutions, BC Parks, Nature Trust BC and many private landowners on this project.  We are excited to be broadening our partnerships in 2022 to include the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Valhalla Wilderness Society, Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area and more...

Links to Articles:

Bats captured in Douglas fir beetle traps, Valley Voice Newspaper, August 13, 2020, pg 12

Artificial old growth trees provide roosts for bats in Golden area, The Golden Star, November 6, 2020.

Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site, The Nelson Star, January 19, 2021

Partnership Highlight:  

Bat-friendly Fir Beetle traps

WCS Canada has recently partnered with NACFOR (Nakusp and Area Community Forest) and consultant Darcie Quamme of Integrated Ecological Research to develop an exclusion method to prevent the accidental capture of bats in Fir Beetle pheromone traps. 

 A simple solution is often the best solution!   This method will help to prevent the accidental capture of bats (Myotis evotis) cuing in on Douglas Fir Beetle as prey within pheromone traps used for monitoring this forest pest.  The goals of this project were to: 1) encourage stewardship and education non the ecological services provided by bats to the forest industry, 2) collect data on incidental bat captures and 3) provide solutions to prevent capture. This is a win-win solution to prevent the need to handle bats and promote conservation of natural enemies of forest pests.  To learn more about this partnership project, please click here.

Partnership Highlight:

Beyond the Box!

While many people gravitate to erecting bat boxes to help bats, these box structures in fact generally only appeal to two species of bats in the East Kootenay, so erecting  tree-bark structures to use as additional roosting habitat can help many more species of bats.  

Dr. Cori Lausen and Nelson biologist Darcie Quamme have partnered up with landowners Sigi Liebmann and Brian Amies near Burges James Gadsen Park of Golden, BC to erect two unique bat roosts: one is designed by Liebmann, using large slabs of bark attached to a pole, and the other wrapped  with Branden Bark, a commercially available bark mimic from US-based Copperhead Consulting. Using a bat detector, local bat ambassador Joyce deBoer and Lausen discovered that there are at least 6 species of bats using this area, all of which would benefit from bark roosts to raise their young. This is only the second location in BC to erect the Branden Bark bat roosts.

Many locals assisted with this project, including donation of equipment, labour, materials, land and ideas:  Sigi Liebmann, Brian Amies, Joyce deBoer, Travis Cochran, Ron Appleton, Brian Jackson (Jackson Contracting & Excavation), Rob Kinsey, Cory Schacher, Fischer Schacher, Moritz Kohler.  This project is part of a larger effort to conserve bats in the Columbia Wetlands, and is supported in part by funding from Columbia Basin Trust and Environment Canada and Climate Change Strategy (“Kootenay Connect” Initiative).  Read more here.

Photo Credits: Header photo- Cori Lausen,  body photo of Myotis evotis (long-eared myotis)- E. McLeod, body photo of partnership project-Cori Lausen

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Contact Information
Address: Western Canada Bat Conservation Program; Kaslo, British Columbia | |