More Cave Closures and....

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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 15, 2009 9:35 pm

Like many things semantics matters....In TN's case I believe (without speaking for him) that based on his statement his intention in saying "caves with no bats" was meant to mean caves not known as "bat caves" in the laymans sense.

it would indeed be incorrect to say "most caves" serve neither as hibernacula, maternity colonies, or summer roosts. However....

A "hibernaculum" for pipistrelles is quite different than one for Indiana Bats. A "maternity colony" for Gray Bats is quite different than one for Indianas or Red Bats. Then there is "roost". There are a multitude of types and usages of "roosts". A summer roost for Gray bats is different between the sexes and both differ from Indiana Bats, red bats, or pipistrelles. I have radio tracked summer roosting Indiana Bats to caves, shingles, old shaggy barked maples, and broom sticks hanging on an outside shed wall.It is my firm belief that summer male IN bats will virtually roost anywhere on anything that is vertical and resembles a rough surface out of direct sun whenever they decide to stop.

For the purposes of caves, a summer roost might mean 5,000 female gray bats who cant move without losing their young, 100 Northern myotis favoring 1 cave but who can move, 5 male Indianas who don't really care where they end up each day, or 1 Red Bat that only ends up in a cave if its lost...

To that end, yes many caves will host some number of bats some amount of time but only certain caves are important as summer (or especially, winter) refuges. Northerns in particular are known to squeeze up into tight crevices to dissappear, but I can also say that as a caver and biologist there are many caves that I believe never hold any bats beyond a transient occasional visitor who is "kicking the tires" for a night/day or 2 then moves on.

Context also matters. A cave holding 5 pipistrelles and one holding 5 rafenesque bats is quite a different story. In Michigan, a Hydro Dam is suitable as a winter hibernacula even though the same dam in KY might not get a second look.

so....building a "list" of "bat" caves does involve a lot of complexity. Mostly in defining what a "bat cave" is. But by the same token there are plenty of caves whos bat usage is small and not significant population-wide so as to render them of marginal value as refuges.
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 15, 2009 9:49 pm

cavemud..

what the government says and what it does are different. I fully believe the USFWS will issue guidance including some restrictions on private land (just like they now have on show caves). However, what they and the States are willing to actually enforce is another matter.

But to answer your question in a rhetorical sense...people can sneak on a landowner and cave, cook meth, or grow pot. All of those things can and do happen. But if they make caving illegal, then the sport of caving as we know it (in this country) will end.
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby Joseph W. Dixon » Dec 15, 2009 9:55 pm

Ok. I'm not going to waste my time with this any longer.

I already explained that I don't work for the US F&WS, yet you refer to me (and I'm assuming all federal employees since you seem to be obsessed with this idea of a government conspiracy - is your local mailman involved as well?) as one of the people blaming cavers and that I (and all federal employees presumably) are the "most likely cause" of WNS (see your quote below).
You guys are trying to blame us when the most likely cause is YOU


All of my posts in all the WNS threads have had only 2 underlying points:

1.) Very little is known about WNS. So far, there have been only 2 (yes count then 2!) published scientific papers on WNS that I am aware of (a published paper is not the same as a technical report since they are not peer-reviewed so I am not counting any US F&WS publications). So therefore no one can make any conclusions regarding this disease. The claim that WNS is not spread by cavers has no scientific data to support it.

2.) The US F&WS is doing the best they can to try and solve this problem. The US F&WS is chartered with coming up with a solution to this problem. You don't like the solution? Fine, but unless you have an alternative solution and credible scientific data to back up your solution theirs are the only options. I admit their solution of cave closures is a knee-jerk reaction and is also lacking credible data, but the alternative is to let everything continue as usual and cross your fingers that WNS doesn't spread – US F&WS will never except that alternative.

Hardly anyone in these discussions seems to recognize these two points. We seem to continually go over this “government control” and “cavers are to blame” ideology over and over again. From what I have seen in this forum, there are very few cavers who are true conservations, most are just obsessed with what they think is their God-given right to go caving and the bats-be-damned! (Incidentally, the bats have more right to those caves then any of us do).

Therefore I bow out of this debate because unlike those cavers, my conservation ethic is much more resolute.
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby MUD » Dec 16, 2009 12:10 am

wyandottecaver wrote:...if they make caving illegal, then the sport of caving as we know it (in this country) will end.


Yea, maybe as we know it. But it won't end. :big grin:
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby Martin Sluka » Dec 16, 2009 5:45 am

Any cave is an open environment (exception of few of them). It means the air and water may flow free from surface to cave and vice-versa. Cavers are only and only one of the possible sources of WNS. What to do? Fill caves by concrete to prevent water and air penetrate into them? Close them to concrete "sarcophagi" as Czernobyl reactor? I'm afraid bats wouldn't be very happy.

Such infections are normal among biological species. Few of bats will survive and they will based new population of bats resistant to WNS.
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby MUD » Dec 16, 2009 7:29 am

Joseph W. Dixon wrote:The claim that WNS is not spread by cavers has no scientific data to support it.


ya....there's NO scientific data to support we are either! :big grin:
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby batrotter » Dec 16, 2009 8:03 am

Joseph W. Dixon wrote:Now, as for the WNS situation, I do not advocate closing all caves as TncCaver so eloquently puts it, but I do take issue with this "anti-federal, US F&WS bad-guys" mentality that is so prevelant on this forum. Do you honestly think there is a huge government conspiracy to control all caves in the country? Because that is just plain stupid.


Well, color me stupid then, because the clowns in D.C. right now are all about controlling your life from top to bottom. That goes all the way down into the USFWS and all other branches of the governemnt. Don't be so naive.
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby boogercaver71 » Dec 16, 2009 10:35 am

Both my parents were raised in Stone Co AR. When I was a kid, we went down to visit my Grandpa. One of his friends was having a little dispute with the Forest Service. It seems that he owned a cave named Rowland Cave in which he was trying to commercialize. At the same time, the Forest Service was busy making trails in Blanchard Springs Caverns. They wanted his land, and his cave. He would not sell, so the Feds used their muscle and took it by Immanent Domain. They claimed the caves were linked hydrologically, and his operation might contaminate Blanchard Springs(the Feds did not have the proof in Court) but since when do Judges need proof. Needless to say the Forest Service prevailed. Now fast forward to 2004, and read one of the Forest Service's projects they are looking at, and guess what, they are contemplating opening up Rowland for wild caves tours. I guess the contamination threat is over. This project is now on hold since the Forest Service had to close all the wild caves. The point is, this man's operation would have never hurt Blanchard Springs Caverns, but they did not want competition. so they used the power of Government to shut him down.
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby BrianC » Dec 16, 2009 10:48 am

Joseph W. Dixon wrote: You don't like the solution? Fine, but unless you have an alternative solution

Therefore I bow out of this debate because unlike those cavers, my conservation ethic is much more resolute.



Joseph! I have a very conservation minded solution! The only true conservation minded solution here,"LEAVE THE BATS THE HECK ALONE" Bats and I share the same habitat, some live in caves , some live in trees, some live up in my attic, I travel in and through all of the same surroundings! let mother nature take care of her own! Those screaming to Fix the Bats need to realize the bats are fixing themselves!
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 16, 2009 3:53 pm

Joseph,

1) Very little is known about WNS:

Actually we do know quite a bit.

I have 2 degrees from Purdue including Wildlife Biology, and I still do not contend knowledge is limited to peer-reviewed studies. I have seen those that were groundbreaking and those that were jugs o crap (i.e. climategate) Some were simply re-affirmations of the authors or his funding source's opinion. If you get $100,000 from BCI (Bat Conservation International) to examine slowing WNS and then say culling (read killing) bats is a good idea... guess how many more BCI grants you'd ever get? Always consider the source.

Actually, most of what what we DO know is right in front of us and can be gleaned from a basic scientific process...observation. At this point, no serious examination of the "human vector" will indicate we are significant carriers. That has been directly observed and is repeatable. We *might* be insignificant ones but that has not been observed and can only be inferred from a lack of data.

2) The USFWS is doing the best they can.

At the individual level that might be true...but most of those folks know the history of wildlife disease, the issues of Show Caves (now mostly moot but a grave concern prior to the 1st moratoria), and now the lack of any observed human transmission patterns (despite LOTS of opportunity). This has become as much a political and now legal issue as a biological one, and so I disagree that as an Agency they are doing the best they can for bats or WNS. They are doing the best they can for the Agency.
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby tncaver » Dec 16, 2009 4:11 pm

[quote=
The USFWS is doing the best they can.[/quote]

Actually, boogercaver71 has provided a link to a science paper in the Blanchard Springs Seeks Manager thread. This
link provides data that supports the issue made by cavers that most caves do not have bats. It also seems to disprove
the above statement about the USFWS doing the best they can. They seem to be ignoring existing data that supports
What cavers have been telling them all along (at least on this forum).
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby cavergirl » Dec 16, 2009 5:07 pm

Joseph W. Dixon wrote:The US F&WS is doing the best they can to try and solve this problem. The US F&WS is chartered with coming up with a solution to this problem. You don't like the solution? Fine, but unless you have an alternative solution and credible scientific data to back up your solution theirs are the only options.


The USFWS does not have a very good track record on sanely managing even the wildlife species under their own jurisdictions (their national wildlife refuges.) this link
http://greateryellowstone.org/news/index.php?id=189
is a very good article on how they have (mis) managed the National Elk Refuge, resulting in defoliating the refuge, and elk becoming sick due to too many animals in unnaturally close quarters.

Note this paragraph:
"From 2001-07, the Fish & Wildlife Service and Park Service spent millions of dollars analyzing how best to manage elk and bison in Jackson Hole. They ignored their own scientists who recommended a route that would have, “result(ed) in the greatest overall benefit to the biological and physical environment”, the alternative recommended overwhelmingly by the public and by biologists who believe phasing out feeding is necessary to stop habitat loss and prevent epidemics of Chronic Wasting Disease."

Instead their solution in 2009 is to spend $5 million of taxpayer monies on more sprinklers!

Sorry, but I don't trust them to make the right decisions.
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby plicpriest1 » Jan 18, 2010 3:43 pm

BrianC got it right (IMHO). Leave them alone. Given that we still do not know where the disease came from, or really if humans are involved in the spread, it is hard to accuratly asses the situation. If you cant accuratly asses the situation than what good can you really do (it is like a blind guy pinning the tail on the donkey, he doesnt even know where to begin!)? Im not saying there arent some folks out their with the best intentions, but understand that intentions can be very different from reality. Just like everything we observe in nature, nature has a tendancy to heal itself. If the bat colonies dont survive WNS, that is a shame because i love the little devils, but the dinosaurs didnt make it either (maby that is a good thing :big grin: ).
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby Jagdmann » Jan 30, 2010 3:49 pm

Alright, I have to throw my 2 cents in on this one! The WAG (Wild A## Guess)
that CBD included in their petition and that has been included in almost
everything written in reference to WNS has been bothering me for a long time. I have no doubt that human transmission is certainly possible and most likely at this
point but as for initial transfer of the fungus to the US, I have not heard one
reference to the location nor the close proximity of European shipping industry.
New York Harbor and many areas in the East Coast region caters to an
overwhelming amount of shipping industry throughout the world. I worked as a
deck-hand/relief engineer offshore on the Gulf Coast and you should have seen
some of the strange critters that come onto the docks from some of these
vessels. On the tankers and cargo ships, the holds and ballast tanks provide an
amazing ecology for little critters everywhere. Bats are a common site on docks
at night in "almost" any part of the world. Bats have hitched rides on vessels
along with a myriad of other creatures throughout the centuries of exploration
and commerce on the high seas. If an infected bat/bats went into an open cargo
or ballast tank at a port of call and those tanks were opened for inspection,
delivery, water release for ballast at another point, then that's a good time to
make an exit. Any of these harbors are well withing the flight range of the
first suspected outbreak of WNS. Why in the world would the first assumption be
that some European caver or American caver abroad must have been the instrument
of delivery? Just wondering why not one paper written on this new menace has not
explored the most likely point of origin?

With that being said and the insinuated hostilities developing between cavers and certain gov. agencies, the recovery possibilities are certainly diminishing. With conservation groups alienating cavers in general, when so many cavers are by nature conservationists, this can't go anywhere but down. (No pun intended!)
The majority of information that concerns cave/karst environments that are in possession of the US gov. was provided by caver/geologists, caver/biologist, cavers/hydrologists. etc............ The list goes on. Someone seems to have forgotten this. They are forgetting that we are not the enemy and that we have years invested in exploration and education. There are more diplomatic forms that could be used than throwing accusations and insinuations. There are a lot of known cave locations that the gov. has but there are 10 times as many locations that they don't have. If another answer or at the very least a little more cooperation on their part is not forthcoming then I seriously doubt that they are going to have many updates to locations from their finest providers. Looks like they might have to hire people to ridgewalk in the future and I don't know many cavers that would at that expense.


OK, I think I got it out of my system! :cave softly:
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Re: More Cave Closures and....

Postby tncaver » Jan 30, 2010 4:17 pm

rptyd wrote:Bats have hitched rides on vessels
along with a myriad of other creatures throughout the centuries of exploration
and commerce on the high seas. Any of these harbors are well within the flight range of the
first suspected outbreak of WNS. Why in the world would the first assumption be
that some European caver or American caver abroad must have been the instrument
of delivery? Just wondering why not one paper written on this new menace has not
explored the most likely point of origin?

The majority of information that concerns cave/karst environments that are in possession of the US gov. was provided by caver/geologists, caver/biologist, cavers/hydrologists. etc............ The list goes on. Someone seems to have forgotten this. They are forgetting that we are not the enemy and that we have years invested in exploration and education. There are a lot of known cave locations that the gov. has but there are 10 times as many locations that they don't have. I seriously doubt that they are going to have many updates to locations from their finest providers. Looks like they might have to hire people to ridgewalk in the future and I don't know many cavers that would at that expense.


It must be about control. I won't be sending any more of my cave discoveries to the Tennessee Cave Survey. Now I wish I had never registered Rumbling Falls Cave which I found in 1997 on a solo ridge walk, or any of the other hundreds of caves I found over the years. However, I'll be happy to ridge walk for pay for the government.
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