A New Home for Bats Welcome to the WatershedIn its ongoing efforts to restore the watershed to ecological balance, the QRWA found an ally in Platt High School’s CT Climate Action Club to provide much needed habitat for Connecticut’s stressed bat population. In recent years the numbers of these ecologically important and beneficial creatures have diminished due to habitat destruction and the ravages of white nose syndrome.
A collaborative effort “To the Bat Cave, Students” was speared-headed and managed by students who enlisted the collaboration of experts from the ecological community, the CT DEEP, the Meriden Parks and Recreation Department as well as QRWA and several of its members. Students also raised all the funds for the project through Donor’s Choose – within a week!
The result, after a year much effort and many challenges, is a bat house standing tall along the Quinnipiac River Dossin Beach that can potentially house nearly a thousand bats.
Bats are among the most beneficial and misunderstood animals on earth. More than 500 species of crop plants and 530 kinds of flowers rely on bats for insect control, seed dispersal and/or pollination. In the U.S. alone, farmers save an estimated 50 billion dollars a year in agricultural pest control provided by insectivorous bats, including those that call Connecticut home. Each year, on warm nights, our neighborhood bats consume billions of insects that can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus and Malaria and those that destroy crops in farms and backyard gardens.
Unfortunately, due to many factors such as habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change and a devastating fungal disease, white nose syndrome, the number of North American bats is in steep decline.
The Platt Students recognized the importance of restoring the dwindling bat population and that the erection of a bat house where bats can roost and give birth to their tiny pups could make a significant difference. Inspired by the vision of bat conservationist Maureen Heidtmann, the students and their instructor, Zachary Corey, eagerly rose to the challenge. After a great deal of perseverance and hard work by the students and a crew of innovative, environmentally savvy volunteers, the project is now complete, looking great, and ready to welcome Meriden’s beneficial bats.
Osprey PlatformsOspreys are large river birds that in past decades were nearly wiped out by pesticides. QRWA has helped to reestablish a strong osprey population by building and installing at least one osprey platform each year to provide raccoon-free nesting sites for these majestic birds.
Fishway at Wallace Dam Grand Opening April, 21, 2012
For years, volunteers lifted struggling fish with nets and buckets over the dam. The new fishway sends water from above the dam down and out a tunnel-like-chute with an open top to create a flow that attract migrating fish.
The design features an informational center where people are able to see how fish cross the ladder.
Contributors include the Connecticut Foundation for the Environment/Save the Sound, the QRWA, the town of Wallingford, and state DEEP. Each played a different role to make it happen and because of the overall cost of an estimated $400,000 this project took years to complete. A must see operation for all ages.
2011 Is The Year of the Turtle
DEP plans to increase awareness of turtle conservation in Connecticut. Click here for DEP Press Release and list of turtles in danger.
Through its Turtle Crossing project which involves many local residents, QRWA has provided for the monitoring and protection of the wood turtle and the eastern box turtle, two of the "Species of Special Concern" in Connecticut.
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