WHITE PINE COUNTY – At night in one of the darkest places on Earth it’s hard to see, and impossible to count, the hundreds of thousands of bats that boil out of Rose Cave after sunset.
Yet biologists are using “Star Wars” technology to see and track more of the Mexican free-tailed bats – stuff such as thermal imaging scopes, infrared optics, radio tracking collars and marine-grade radar. Their research is aimed at finding ways to keep the bats from tangling with wind turbines planned in Spring Valley, about five miles away as the bat flies.
In all, 18 wind farms on public land are proposed in the Bureau of Land Management’s Ely District, including the 75-turbine Spring Valley Wind project northwest of Great Basin National Park.
“We’re concerned about cumulative impacts, and we have some concerns as to how the bats are going to interact with the wind farms,” said Jason A. Williams, a Nevada Department of Wildlife nongame biologist, during a visit to Rose Cave last week.
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