Vermont Press Releases

GMP’s Middlebury hydro building is a safe haven for endangered bat

News Release — Green Mountain Power
Aug. 19, 2014

Kristin Carlson, Green Mountain Power, 802-229-8200

State Biologists Praise GMP’s dedication to protecting the Little Brown Bat

Middlebury, VT – Green Mountain Power today announced that special guests have made their home in the company’s Middlebury hydro facility and they are welcome to stay. GMP is now providing shelter to a colony of state endangered little brown bats. State biologists believe that the colony has chosen the more than 100 year-old hydro building because of its proximity to the Otter Creek and the warmth inside the building created by the power generation.

“It’s so great that in addition to generating clean energy, our hydro facility is home to the Little Brown bats, an endangered bats species,” said GMP spokesperson Kristin Carlson. “Whether it’s osprey, bears or loons, GMP has a strong commitment to Vermont’s environment and wildlife and this is only the latest in our work to support Vermont’s treasured natural environment. We are thrilled to be able to do our part to help protect this endangered species as it tries to recover in Vermont.”

Since White Nose Syndrome first made its way to Vermont, the population of little brown bats has declined by 90%. State bat experts say the Middlebury Hydro home is one of only about a dozen summer colonies left for little brown bats across the state. State biologists counted about 170 endangered little brown bats living in GMP’s Middlebury hydro station.

GMP has multiple programs in place to both support and protect habitat all across Vermont. Its Osprey Program that provides for nesting atop some of the company’s tallest poles in key areas, such as the one near Sand Bar State Park in Milton, has led to the comeback of the nearly extinct Osprey population in Vermont. GMP has conserved thousands of acres of critical habitat near its Kingdom Community Wind project, helping to maintain the ecological and landscape connectivity between the Lowell Mountain Habitat block and Green River Reservoir habitat block.

“GMP continues to be a great partner in helping Vermont’s bat population,” said Fish & Wildlife Bat Biologist Alyssa Bennett. “We are very grateful for their support and cooperation as we work to understand this species and help them recover here in Vermont.”

The team on site at GMP’s Hydro facility loves working with their new neighbors who are quiet during the day. The bats’ real work begins at night when they scour the Otter Creek for dinner. In addition to providing a cozy home for the little brown bats, the plant produces 8.5 million kWh a year, enough clean energy for 1200 homes.

“It’s great to know we are helping the bat population,” said GMP’s Owen Stolarcyk who oversees the operations at the Middlebury Hydro plant. “They are great co-workers and it’s easy to go about our work with the bats living here.”

Vermonters who have any questions about bats and want to learn more about what they can do to help can find out more information at:

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  • Diane Grenkow

    So, last summer GMP applied for and received a permit from the Agency of Natural Resources to be able to kill four Little Brown Bats and three other types per year with no penalties at their wind facility in Lowell. The company said it would face “economic hardship” if it was forced to curtail operations to fully protect the bats. This summer we should be glad that they are not only generating clean energy but allowing the bats to live! Just doing their part to help the Little Brown Bat population recover!

    Some of us haven’t forgotten the bats in Lowell and the permit to kill them.

  • Greg Lapworth

    Thank goodness for the utility contributing again.
    Hopefully they will be able to keep out the disease spreading/tagging scientists and fun loving spelunkers. Leave the “critters” alone!