Bat Conservation Projects

The Jefferson County Conservation Board is working with the Iowa DNR to improve bat habitat in Jefferson County. This is part of a larger project to improve bat habitat across southern and eastern Iowa as well as Illinois.
North American Bat populations have been experiencing massive population declines due to a variety of factors including disease (White Nose Syndrome) and habitat loss/fragmentation. Bats have a low reproductive rate which makes it hard for populations to recover.
Nine species of bats are found in Iowa’s fields and forests. Bats are an extremely important part of our ecosystem because they help control problematic insect populations including corn rootworm and mosquitos.
Portions of Jefferson County Park, Gantz-Hewett Timber, and Whitham Woods were identified as potential bat habitats that would benefit from habitat management. Management plans were developed and funding for the projects was secured by our area DNR Forester. Practices such as prescribed burning, removing invasives in the understory and replanting of native species will help transform these woodland habitats to meet the needs of our native bat species.