Over the past year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has led a multi-agency team in the development of these protocols in response to several things: (1) the Indiana bat survey protocols released in 2007 recognized the potential role that acoustic monitoring can play, but did not define the methods; (2) USFWS is in the process of developing other Indiana bat regional guidance, but needs a standardized approach; (3) acoustic monitoring is being used more frequently at wind projects without standard protocols; and (4) there are documented declines in mist-netting capturerates and detection probability of Indiana bats in areas with population declines due to white-nose syndrome.
To address these issues, USFWS created a set of standardized protocols to determine whether Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) are present or likely absent at a given site during the summer months. The protocols incorporate USFWS’ best information about the Indiana bat’s life history and their habitat, and incorporate a number of strategies for its detection including acoustic surveys, mist-netting, radio-tracking, and emergence surveys.
Ultimately, these draft protocols are intended to replace the current 2007 Indiana bat survey protocols. Final survey protocols are anticipated by mid- to late-winter 2012-2013 with full implementation of the protocols in summer 2013.