- Associated Press - Saturday, October 15, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - It won’t happen in time for Halloween, but strollers along the Rapid Creek Greenway may be spotting more bats in the future.

The Rapid City Urban Wildlife Committee is working with a bat expert and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to place three bat maternity roost boxes within the greenway.

Faced with a declining bat population in the Black Hills, the city, in tandem with several state and federal agencies, hopes to provide new habitat for the insect-devouring animals during their active season, which runs from early spring through fall, the Rapid City Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2eDGpW2 ).

“This project will provide important habitat for bats in our area,” said Jim Good, chairman of the Urban Wildlife Committee. “Although people have different ideas and feelings about bats, these flying animals serve an important purpose in and around communities. These roosting boxes will enhance bat habitat in the local area.”

Bats consume up to 1,000 small insects per hour and can eat the equivalent of their body weight in a single day, the city said. The two most common local species of bats are Big and Little Brown Bats, which are both known to use roosting boxes.

Parks Division Manager Lon Deusen said the city hopes to install the bat houses by next spring. He said they’re the latest in a series of habitat improvement projects undertaken by his department.

“We’ve accommodated quite a few different wildlife habitat projects through the parks system,” Van Deusen said. “We’ve helped with Eagle Scout projects, we’ve put up wood duck houses and installed an osprey nesting pole at Canyon Lake last year, so it’s not that unusual for us to receive requests from the public about accommodate wildlife and we do that as much as possible.”

The 48-inch-tall boxes will be built by the Parks Department, then installed on 24-foot-tall posts in the Greenway that mainly follows Rapid Creek, but away from high-traffic areas.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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