Blasting rock for bridge or highway construction results in ground vibrations that can cause baby bats in nearby caves to fall to the cave floor and die. If the blasts cause cracks in the walls or create a wider opening to the cave, the resulting change in the constant temperatures inside the cave can also cause baby bats to die. So when Tennessee Department of Transportation biologists learned that caves with maternity colonies of federally endangered gray bats were located near planned construction on the State Route 30 bridge over Town Creek in Rhea County, they took a critical and simple step to protect the baby bats. They restricted blasting so vibrations would not be felt beyond 600 feet from the project limits. Thanks to this precaution, no bats were hurt by the blasting.
--Apr 25, 2003
|Photo by Merlin Tuttle, Bat Conservation International|