I-26 Widening, Gray Bat Surveys and Consultation

NV5 completed acoustic surveys, structure checks, and a Biological Assessment for gray bats for the 24-mile I-25 widening. Close coordination with North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), National Park Service (NPS), and United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was necessary to ensure that data was collected and analyzed in the most appropriate manner. NV5 biologists checked a total of 24 bridges (or bridge pairs) and 18 culverts and found evidence of bat use on one bridge. Three of the bridges were checked while utilizing a hydra lift truck. Acoustic surveys were performed for a 13-week period and 322 acoustic nights of data were collected, processed, and vetted from 13 locations. An additional 13 weeks of acoustic data was collected and processed at the I-26 crossing of the French Broad River, where gray bat activity was high, to determine the time of year that bat activity decreases, which indicates the time of year bats begin their hibernation period. NV5 coordinated with NCDOT, FHWA, NPS, and USFWS as part of the Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultation process to prepare a Biological Assessment, including conservation measures that were acceptable to all stakeholders, and secured a favorable Biological Opinion from USFWS.


Buncombe & Henderson Counties, NC