- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Several hundred trees have been felled at the future site of a development and park in Lansing to prevent nesting by federally protected bat species.

About 350 trees were taken down at the end of March to avoid expensive mitigation efforts that protect the bats. The trees have been left strewn about the site because the ground had been too soggy until now to bring in equipment to process them into landscaping material, Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann told the Lansing State Journal (https://on.lsj.com/1WAkLBW ).

The dead trees may look like a nature-killing act to some, but they were cut down to force roosting bats to find another place to call home.

“We like bats. They are wonderful. They eat a lot of insects,” Lindemann said. “If you really care about the bats you don’t want to cut the trees down while they’re in them.”

The endangered Indiana bat and the threatened northern long-eared bat are known to inhabit the mid-Michigan area, according to Scott Hicks, field supervisor for ecological services at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service in Michigan.

The federal government recommends removing trees before April 1 to avoid bats roosting and rearing their young in them.

Lindemann said the downed trees will be replaced with three times as many indigenous trees, such as white pine and oak.

“We’re trying to build a Midwest ecosystem that is keeping with the flood plain,” he said.

A major housing, hotel and retail development and a riverside park have been proposed at the site. The Lansing City Council approved the project in 2014, but it still needs to finalize the sale of the property.

The tree removal cost about $250,000 and was covered by the developer and the drain commissioner.


Information from: Lansing State Journal, https://www.lansingstatejournal.com

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