January 23, 2018
O&G Industries received a 2017 Sustainability Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association for the construction of a brown bat hibernaculum (habitat) at the company’s New Milford Quarry. It was constructed to help preserve bats who overwinter in the area and help protect them from “white-nose syndrome,” a disease that has been wiping out large populations of bats while they hibernate in the winter. According to the Department of Energy and Environment Protection (DEEP), the New Milford Quarry is one of the few disease-free habitats in Connecticut.
The new habitat is a tunnel bored into the limestone that measures 40 feet long, 6 feet high, and 7 feet wide. The tunnel leads to an underground chamber 17 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 15 feet high.
“Although our mining operations won’t reach the current habitat for another decade, we felt it was important to be proactive,” says Ken Faroni, O&G’s director of planning and permits, in a press release. “The sooner we built the new habitat, the sooner the bats may discover it. In fact, one bat was identified in the newly constructed hibernaculum in December 2017.”
“It’s a tremendous help for us and our conservation efforts for species that are declining as fast as our bats are, to have a partner like O&G step up and help,” says Jenny Dickson, supervising biologist for DEEP’s Wildlife Division. “What O&G is doing is critically important to conservation of numerous bat species as they try to recover from the syndrome.”
O&G completed the project in July of 2016.