Colorado is home to 18 bat species. Three of those species (Fringed myotis, Hoary bat, and Townsend’s big-eared bat) are US Forest Service Region 2 Sensitive Species – which means that there is concern about their long-term viability on Forest Service lands.
Bats face numerous threats in Colorado, such as habitat loss and climate change. In addition, hibernating bats in Colorado may be impacted by white-nose syndrome (WNS), a pathogen that has killed millions of bats in the eastern and midwestern U.S. since 2006. WNS has not been detected in Colorado, but is now present in adjacent states.
Unfortunately, relatively little is currently known about the population status of most species of bats in Colorado. That’s where you come in! Rocky Mountain Wild is partnering with the United States Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, and Conejos Clean Water, with funding from the US Forest Service Citizen Science Competitive Funding Program and Patagonia, to launch the Colorado Bat Watch Program. This program will use citizen scientists to collect data that will enable these agencies to monitor bat species over time and better understand the impacts of WNS and other threats on local bat populations.
Understanding this will help land managers and conservation organizations develop strategies and programs to protect bats and their habitat!
Sign up to join the Colorado Bat Watch! The citizen science component of the project will officially begin in 2020, but you can sign up today to be notified when the project begins recruiting volunteers.