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What We Do/Water for Wildlife

What We Do

 

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Dan Taylor demonstrates techniques for improving livestock water developments for bats and other wildlife at a training for tribal wildlife and range managers on the Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico.

Water sources needed by bats have been dwindling across the American West for decades and climate change is exacerbating the problem. But BCI’s Water for Wildlife Program has made unprecedented progress through its collaborative, multifaceted approach to raise awareness about the importance of accessible water for bats, and train and help managers to protect and restore critical water resources.

Education and Training
The Program has held more than 25 Water for Wildlife workshops in seven Western states. These workshops have trained more than 800 ranchers and range and wildlife managers from dozens of agencies and organizations in methods for improving water developments for bats and other wildlife.

The Program has also held or supported events and initiatives that have built and installed thousands of wildlife-escape ramps in livestock watering troughs, saving countless bats, birds and other animals from drowning. Between 2010 and 2012, the Program held its first five hands-on workshops on restoring and creating wetlands and ponds for bats and other wildlife with the Center for Wetland and Stream Restoration and several federal and state agencies. Additional workshops are planned.

Rancher Dennis Moroney and daughter Ally participate in a Water for Wildlife Program wildlife escape ramp building event in McNeil, Arizona.

One of the most important educational tools produced by the Program is Water for Wildlife: A Handbook for Ranchers and Range Managers (PDF link), recently revised and updated. More than 17,000 copies of this comprehensive manual have been distributed to major national and regional agencies and organizations responsible for range and wildlife management. The Program Coordinator has also delivered our conservation message to more than 2,000 natural-resource managers and policymakers through presentations and lectures at national, regional and local range and wildlife professional association meetings and conferences.

 

Bailey Meadow
Water for Wildlife Program Coordinator Taylor directs a surface water wetland creation project for bats in a high-elevation meadow on New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest.

Conservation Action
The Water for Wildlife Program is collaborating with public and private agencies and organizations to restore some of the most critically important bat-drinking sites, with a landscape-level focus on regions with high bat diversity and restricted water availability.

To increase the scope of our bat-conservation efforts, the Program works collaboratively with other conservation initiatives aimed at aquatic wildlife to restore pooled water at degraded springs, wetlands, vernal pools and other impacted water sources. Since 2010, the Program has worked with a wide array of partners to create or restore more than 30 essential watering sites for bats, and developed restoration plans for dozens more.

One of the most exciting new Water for Wildlife initiatives is a collaborative effort with ranchers and state and federal resource managers to transform degraded livestock ponds into high-quality habitat for bats and other wildlife, while improving water quality for livestock by deepening and sealing the ponds, adding large down logs and other wildlife habitat features, and managing livestock access or providing water to livestock away from the restored sites. This effort could revolutionize how livestock ponds are managed on millions of acres of Western forest and rangelands.

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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2012
Unless otherwise noted, all images are copyright ©Merlin D. Tuttle and/or ©Bat Conservation International