Biology politics, report local species threats find local support

I’m a biologist and spend most of my time like everyone else here. Taking photos, getting IDs. But now and then I come across a situation where my contribution to public comments on an EIR/EIS might save a population that would otherwise be bulldozed. Yes, I’m in that situation now… sort of, We lost a bat colony in Los Angeles when a warehouse was bulldozed over a year ago. Now it could happen again and the project got all the way to the EIR level without any biological studies because as it stated, there’s no habitat here, it’s urban. I know there’s lots of i-naturalists in Urban LA. How can I find the ones who would care about this and speak up for the bats?
Ideas?
Could we create a topic just for people who find themselves in a similar situation?
A place where we could find out things specific to our area so we could chime in or find out about the little local issues we care about… not just the big ones that we get in our mail asking for money but the local matters where our individual voices could actually make a difference?

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I looked up the top IDers of bats in LA county (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=962&taxon_id=40268&view=identifiers) and looked for any somewhat local/professional ones. No one that seems to be based in LA, but dcstokes based in San Diego and (https://www.inaturalist.org/people/dcstokes) and krysta (https://www.inaturalist.org/people/krysta) based in TX, might be worth asking if they have some ideas (totally based just on me searching, I know nothing about them or even bats!).

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Thanks so much for speaking up for the bats–I’m grateful to know they have an advocate.

Is the project asking for expert opinion or public comment? And is it necessary that the comments come from LA?

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Another possible starting point is to look at some of the authors of recent papers about bats from academics in LA. For example this search
https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&as_ylo=2016&q="los+angeles"+chiroptera&btnG=
suggests that there are quite a few bat papers coming out of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
That quickly leads to this program: https://nhm.org/community-science-nhm/backyard-bats

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A Facebook group might be a good way to coordinate communications between interested community members, though might not answer the question of how to bring them all together in the first place.

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Some thoughts:

  • Create a project for bat observations in LA. Be sure to put a link to a website/page about the situation in the description. And write a journal post about it.
  • Put a link to same website/page in your personal profile.
  • Be sure you’ve uploaded all your own bat photos in the area to attract attention.
  • ID and engage with others who observe bats in the area.

My only caution is that I’m not sure what some people might see as “spammy,” so go easy on whatever you do. Put it out there for people to find, but don’t go pushing it on them.

PS: I did a quick search. There are 126 observations of bats in Los Angeles by 65 observers (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=962&subview=table&taxon_id=40268). That’s a pretty good group to start with.

Close to 90 of those observation need ID, so that would be a good way to start interacting.

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Yes, the San Diego City Council is asking for public comment. It doesn’t have to be an expert opinion, We have Urban Wildlands Group, Endangered Habitats League, and our own expert biologist contributing written comments. I think it would be really powerful to have “non-expert” nature advocates make verbal comments.

We need people to speak up for bats because 2 roosts have already been demolished in the LA warehouse district in the last 3 years, probably because they didn’t need an EIR like this one does so no one who cared knew about it in time!

Here’s how: (details & copies of the bat habitat assessment and site map are at this link)
You may submit written or oral comments during the City Council Phone Conference:

10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
you may call in to make an oral comment on the
Name: 2110 Bay Street Mixed Use Project
State Clearinghouse No. 2017031007,
Case No. ENV-2016-3480-EIR,
Location: 2100, 2130 Bay Street and 2141 Sacramento Street, Los Angeles

Oral comments : The telephone public comment line is 669-900-6833 Meeting ID No. 459 499 150 and then press #. Press # again when prompted for participant ID

Written comments can be submitted to:
www.LACouncilComment.com

Or :City Clerk
Room 395, City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

(Call Leya Campos at 213- 978-1078 if you have difficulty uploading your comments)

The meeting will be broadcast online see the link I posted for those details in “instructions”

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What great suggestions! I wish I had thought to ask for help sooner. I will follow your suggestions. Thank you for doing the query and creating that list for me. I hadn’t figured out how to do it. Yes, I see the LA natural history museum leader of the LA urban bats project has a lot of sightings but so do a bunch of folks that I never would have known about and some right in downtown LA!

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Thank you! I live in San Diego so I will let DCStokes know. Also, see my repoes on the other posts. I have learned a lot!

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Thank you, I had never used Google Scholar in that way to organize my research before. Now I’ll make more use of this resource. We already cited the backyard bats articles in our habitat assessment for the project and have talked with the director of the program about this but I searched without luck for the scholarly articles written by LANHM and you found them easily. It turns out that the biologist who did our habitat assessment wrote one of them!

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That’s a good idea, as soon as I have a group to coordinate with, I’ll invite you.

@cthawley @karen5lund @dlevitis @carolblaney @barbetsmith @dcstokes @Mordenanas
Hi and thank you all for your terrific suggestions and you did research for me! You are amazing! The ideas you offered to start a “project” and do a “journal” on the topic of urban bat conservation, my observations and what is happening and how people can get involved is a great idea and I’ll be implementing that soon. I learned after I replied to all of your comments individually that I can add the @ to your name and reply to all of you in the same post… so I am duplicating a bit, in answer to one question… here.

We need people to speak up for bats because 2 roosts in the LA warehouse district have already been demolished in the last 3 years, probably because those projects didn’t need an EIR like this one does so no one who cared about it knew in time! In answer to a question.
Are they asking for comments? Does it need to be an expert can it be anyone?

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@cthawley @karen5lund @dlevitis @carolblaney @barbetsmith @dcstokes @Mordenana

At the last minute they pulled the hearing for this project and postponed it to June, but there is another big project right beside it and some others in the area that have just as much or more potential for bat habitat as this one. They haven’t filed their Initial Study with the County Clerk or State Clearinghouse yet, but when they do… I’ll be making sure that they do their due diligence to provide for proper surveys and mitigation in their CEQA documentation. I will keep you posted as I develop a project for this and other species in the same situation so that we as a community can speak up for them before it’s too late. Thank you so much for your help!

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I think Los Angeles needs to be made aware that bat habitat is often not wild space. In Austin, TX, much of our Mexican Free-tailed Bat habitat is under highway overpasses and bridges.

You might also check with Bat Conservation International, which probably has experience and access to researchers and other folks who care and know how to organize. They could be a good resource for you: http://www.batcon.org

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I’ll be glad to make a comment on behalf of bats for the June meeting. When you have the date/time (and any other updates), please share them. Thank you again for raising the issue. The info and support you have received is impressive–yet another reason to be proud of the iNat community and its efforts.

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@karen5lund @dlevitis @jbecky @cthawley @barbetsmith
I know right! It really inspires me, something to feel great about.
Thanks! You bet I’ll let you know about the upcoming meeting.
I received support from the California Bat Working Group as well.
I’m glad they postponed the meeting it gives me more time to gather support!

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It is my opinion that local governments are more concerned about generating revenue (particularly, if the powers that be are benefitting) than protecting wildlife in urban areas.

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