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Ozark Plateau
Southwest Region, September 7, 2006
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The Ozark Plateau NWR Manager visited the University of Central Oklahoma's Selman Living Lab, a 300 acre research and educational area in northwest Oklahoma, and assisted Dr. Bill Caire in locating and designing a cave gate to protect a large cave used by the federal species of concern western big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii pallescens).  The cave is also used as a hibernaculum for approximately 70,000 cave bats (Myotis velifer).

The Ozark Plateau NWR Manager also assisted the Peoria Tribe and the Tulsa Ecological Services Field Office in surveying Spring River, which is near the Tar Creek Superfund Site in northeastern Oklahoma, in searching for caves and foraging areas used by federally listed endangered gray bats.  He also helped complete a gate for a cave used by endangered Ozark big-eared bats which is located on private land near the refuge.  The gate was funded through Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Rogers State University.

During an emergent count at the entrance of Crystal Cave on the Potter Unit of Ozark Plateau NWR, 117 Ozark big-eared bats were counted.  Two years ago only about 70 Ozark big-eared bats were found using the cave in late summer.  These high late summer counts indicate the cave is a major swarming or staging area before the bats move to their hibernacula in the fall.

Emergency Hardship Acquisition Proposals were completed for the 288 acre Eastman tract and 35 acre Guess tract adjoining and near the refuge along Spavinaw Creek.  Both tracts have caves identified as priorities for acquisition in the Gray Bat Recovery Plan.  The Guess tract provides habitat for the federally listed threatened Ozark cavefish and species of concern Oklahoma cave crayfish.  This is a cooperative effort with Land Legacy, the city of Tulsa, and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality as part of a Spavinaw Creek basin protection plan since Spavinaw Creek is the water supply for the city of Tulsa.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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