US Highway 17 Bat Assessments

Craven, Jones & Onslow Counties

The NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) contracted with Ecological Engineering and its subconsultants to perform endangered bat surveys within a 38.8-square mile study area for US Highway 17 improvements between Jacksonville and New Bern in coastal NC. The purpose of the surveys was to determine the presence or absence of the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), a species designated as Threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Project tasks included habitat assessments, bridge and abandoned structure surveys, field acoustics, and mist-net surveys. Analysis of acoustic data suggested northern long-eared bats may be present within the study area but no individuals were captured during mist-net surveys. This information was provided to the NC Department of Transportation to aid in the preparation of the biological conclusions for US 17 and several other nearby projects.

PROJECT NOTABLES:

  • Eight bridges and 11 abandoned buildings were examined for evidence of roosting bats
  • Acoustic surveys included 38 acoustic detector-nights in suitable summer habitat
  • More than 171,000 call files were recorded during the survey
  • Mist-net surveys included 14 net-nights in suitable summer habitat
  • Mist-nets captured 92 total bats representing seven species
img