The Nebraska NABat project was first established in 2016 through a NGPC grant funding a master student to establish the program. Since its success in providing a plethora of data concerning the bats of Nebraska, the program received funding to continue for the next three years starting in May 2019 (see Bat Conservation and Recovery in Nebraska and Wyoming, page 34 in this report).
Over the past decade bat species in North America have been under immense stress due to anthropogenic activities throughout the continent along with severe declines from foreign invaders. Though many specific anthropogenic related activities such as deforestation, land-use alteration, and hibernacula disturbance were the primary culprits of negative impacts on bat species in the past, they pale in comparison to the threats bats face today. White nose syndrome (a disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans) and wind energy development have caused declines and disruptions to the bat populations of North America at an unprecedented rate.
Goals1. Maintain bat sampling in (35) 10 km x 10 km NABat grid cells throughout the state.
2. Contribute bat data to the U.S. Geological Survey for use in the continent-wide North American Bat Monitoring Program.
3. Collaborate with stakeholders and land managers to help increase our knowledge of bat populations and species composition in various areas of concern throughout the state.
4. Increase public awareness and involvement with bats and bat research throughout the state through Citizen Science and outreach.
5. Provide land managers and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) with data-supported insight into how to better conserve Nebraska bats.
Due to the significant contribution to insect population control that bats exhibit throughout the continent they are considered to be a major benefit to both ecosystems and agricultural industries. Though they are known to provide significant services to ecosystems large information gaps exist in what physical properties influence their presence on the landscape. Especially in states like Nebraska where the large extent of agricultural and grassland ecosystems has made their study difficult in the past. In order to address these information gaps we implemented the North American Bat Monitoring Program throughout Nebraska in order to answer baseline questions about bat habitat use and ensure that monitoring efforts continued into the future and benefit bat research throughout the continent.