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Bat-friendly street lighting suggested for Peachland

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Okanagan Community Bat Program
October 27, 2020 - 2:37 PM

An ecological society is recommending bat-friendly street lights for Peachland to protect the district's estimated 1,500 bats.

In a report to be presented to the District of Peachland council tonight, Oct. 27, the Bat Education Ecological Protection Society suggests adopting bat-friendly lighting and green roofs to support the municipality’s large native bat population.

“In regards to insect foraging, light sources act as areas for insects to congregate and thus light sources may act as more stable feeding locations for urban bat populations,” according to the report.

READ MORE: Be prepared for a B.C. bat encounter

“However, the highly sensitive eyes of bats may be affected by large sources of light and thus may create regions avoided by bats, resulting in possible habitat loss.”

The society suggests replacing street lights at Swim Bay and three Bollard lights along the walkway to the Historic Peachland School, which houses a colony of 1,500 Yuma Myos and Little Brown bats with 50-watt LED lights.

“it is important to ensure that bright lights do not impair the vision of bats while increasing the activity of prey,” the society reports. The lights must also provide lighting for urban settings.

After an experiment was conducted with LED lighting in Peachland, the society concluded the white LED lights attract more insects and therefore draw more bats.

READ MORE: B.C. bats not to blame for COVID-19: These creatures need our help

Creating green roofs would also increase the number of pollinators, such as moths, butterflies, flies and bees, thus benefiting both insect and bat populations, according to the society. 

The society asks Peachland to consider green roofs at the Peachland Community Centre and the proposed Senior Citizens Housing as they are in close proximity to the Peachland Historic Building. The green roofs also save energy compared to a regular roof, according to the report.

“As one of the first bat-friendly communities in B.C., Peachland has the opportunity to, once again, lead in sustainable practices by implementing both green roofs and bat-friendly lighting," the report reads. "When bat-friendly lighting is used, in conjunction with green roofs that contain nave plant species and plants with light coloured blooms, night pollinators such as moths and mosquitoes are increased, creating sustainable bat habitat."

The initiative would benefit the aesthetics of Peachland and its local economy by support agriculture via the increase in pollination and pest control, the society said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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