Repurposing Abandoned Mines For Bats & Wildlife
2012 sees the continuation of the Year of the Bat.
Abandoned mines although unsuitable for human use can provide much needed habitat for bats and wildlife. In the United States alone there are over 48,000 abandoned mines. Abandoned mines are like caves and non-destructive mine closures are those where features such as bat gates, cupolas and other preservation tools have been installed to help bats (or other wildlife depending on the location) use the mines for refuge.
Bat Conservation International and the US Bureau of Land Management have combined their efforts to create a guide that helps determine the best closure type for mine openings. On their dedicated site http://www.batgating.com they provide a wealth of information as well a decision matrix tool to help land managers and conservation groups evaluate a closed land mine, or a mine targeted for closure and determine the most suitable mine opening. There is also a wealth of information on closure types, materials, considerations, and other expert material.
Such re-purposing is great news for bats and other wildlife and hopefully a turning point as more unusable mines are converted to help conservation efforts across the globe.