President Obama was counting strokes on the golf course at Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia last Saturday, but the day before a $91,318.76 contract was awarded to count something quite different at Fort Belvoir: bats. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will conduct the "Bat Population Survey" as part of Fort Belvoir's Threatened and Endangered Species Surveys:
At least part of the reason for the population survey is to determine if the "little brown bat" or other bats should be placed on the endangered species list. Were this to happen, the listing could impact "mission related activities" and "development" on the Army base. The documents say:
The little brown bat is being evaluated for listing under the endangered species act. Listing of this bat or other bats that are known to occur could have impacts on development and mission related activities. This survey is to identify roost locations and collect population information that can be used to monitor the bat populations on the installation in the future. Also, this information will be invaluable if any of the bat species on the installation will be listed under the endangered species act.
Also of interest to the Army in the survey is evidence of "white nose syndrome," which has been devastating bat colonies throughout the country in recent years.
The contractor's duties include "perform[ing] site investigations, preparation of reports and maps to assess the locations of bat roosts, determine the number of bats and species, population density and biological data collection, and population dynamics." The contract term is one year.