Do you have bats in your cemetery?
If yes, then you need to read this carefully!
Now you say what does this, have to do with cemeteries. Well yes, we most likely have bats living in our grounds, since we are closed up at night they have the run of the place eating mosquitoes and other bugs. Naturally when we cut trees we could impact a bat's daily roost. But when we remove lots of trees at once we can make a negative impact on our wildlife.
We at the Catholic Cemeteries are in the planning stages for our new sections. We will clear our last piece of wooded areas, which could be 40 acres to place roads and trees for our future sections. We are in the process of getting the permits needed to use the isolated wetlands that are in the lower areas of our property. The issue of when we can clear the property is now regulated, since the bat may be sleeping in our wooded areas for the summer.
We are advised that we can only clear the trees between October 16th to March 31st, unless there is a known hibernacula within 10 miles, then you would have to wait until November 16th, to make sure the bats have hibernated for the winter.
Between April 1st and October 15, if you wish to clear trees, you would have to coordinate with the US Fish and Wildlife Service about doing a mist net survey. This can only be done from May 15th to August 15th. You would have to pay for this service with a certified contractor.
The US Army corps of Engineers or the Kentucky Department of Wildlife will get involved when you have to get permits for flood plain use, waterway disturbance, wetland disturbance, etc. They should then let you know of the endangered species act and its limitations. If you are planning a new development without any of these agencies, it is up to you to do the right thing. The laws still apply to all of us. The "I didn't know" will most likely not keep you from the fines if the proper authorities find out.
There are other regulations on endangered species, wetlands, floodways, stream disturbance, zoning, grave depths, etc. It pays to do your homework before any major changes in your cemeteries. Yes it is your land, but how we shape and change it will affect wildlife, water flow, flooding, noise, and even views which may change others in a large area. Be a good neighbor, a good land steward, and be considerate of the nature that surrounds us. Contact your local consulting engineer, ecological services, state associations, or other cemeteries for direction.
(This article provided by Kenny Popp, Catholic Cemeteries, Louisville, KY)