Can radar technology overcome the current limitations of surveying for the Southern Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii at wind farms?
Rob Gration, 2011. "Can radar technology overcome the current limitations of surveying for the Southern Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii at wind farms?", The Biology and Conservation of Australasian Bats, Bradley Law, Peggy Eby, Daniel Lunney, Lindy Lumsden
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The south-west region of Victoria is currently experiencing rapid growth in the number of proposed wind farms. A maternity roost and an unknown number of staging and winter roosts of the Southern Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii(Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(EPBC Act) and Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988(FFG Act)) are known from the region. Bat detectors have been the primary tool used to survey for the presence of bats at proposed wind farms, however it was recognized by government agencies that both the survey effort and design could be more rigorous. This has since been addressed with the development of ‘Guidelines for bat surveys in relation to wind farms’ by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) in January 2007. The author's recent experience with the guidelines was that they are very effective in identifying most species present and provided information on habitat use. They do not, however, overcome all the technical limitations encountered when undertaking bat surveys, especially for M. schreibersii bassanii. These limitations include: bat call parameters overlap for some species, difficulty in quantifying the number of bats using a site, mapping the direction of flight and / or migration paths, the volume of space monitored by a bat detector and placing the bat detector at the height where bats commonly fly. This paper discusses the use of radar technology and I propose it will vastly improve our understanding of site utilization, as well as number of individuals and flight paths of Southern Bent-wing Bats at proposed wind farm sites.