The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is looking for volunteers that have bathouses currently containing bats that would be willing to participate in a population monitoring project.
Volunteers will be asked to count the bats as they fly in the evening during summer, according to AGFC nongame mammal biologist Blake Sasse. "This project will help us obtain baseline population trend information for several species, such as the big brown bat, that are known to be vulnerable to White Nose Syndrome," Sasse said. "WNS is a disease associated with a newly discovered fungus that has caused disastrous declines in bat populations in the northeast," he explained.
This problem was first documented at four sites in eastern New York in the winter of 2006-07 and has rapidly spread west and in the winter of 2009-2010 was confirmed in Tennessee, Missouri and Oklahoma, but hasn't yet been seen in Arkansas.
Constructing bathouses is a relatively simple woodworking project and plans and tips for building and installing your own are available at http://www.agfc.com/resources/Publications/building_bat_houses.pdf.