FROM HAZARD TO HABITAT: CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION'S BAT PROTECTION EFFORTS
|Trinity N Smith; California Department of Conservation; firstname.lastname@example.org;
A history of legacy mining in California has resulted in an estimated 200,000 hazardous abandoned mine openings. These mines, if left unremediated, can pose a hazard for humans and the environment. The California Department of Conservation – Abandoned Mine Lands Unit (AMLU), has an interest in protecting the public from physical hazards at abandoned mine sites, which often provide habitat for bats and other wildlife, especially Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) and California leaf-nosed bat (Macrotus californicus). AMLU houses an interdisciplinary team that possess a unique suite of training and experience to survey subterranean mine features for hazards and wildlife and provide technical expertise. Through partnerships with state and national land management agencies over 1,600 features have been remediated: 1,150 with bat compatible closures since 2000. During the planning phase, AMLU works closely with bat researchers to complete biological surveys and ensure that remediations balance habitat conservation and public safety. In 2020, AMLU started conducting bat surveys during the inventory phase to identify any previously unknown critical bat habitat. AMLU hopes to improve the integration of bat survey data with feature inventory to plan remediation strategies and identify future targets for White Nose Syndrome surveillance and population monitoring.