To the Bat Cave! St. Cloud Working on Permanent home for Bats
ST. CLOUD -- It is unclear if Bruce Wayne will ever make it his headquarters but the city of St. Cloud is in the process of creating its very own bat cave.
Public Utilities Director Lisa Vollbrecht says there is an old storm sewer from the 1920s in the Highbanks neighborhood that has been a popular bat hangout.
The bats have always liked it because it is a brick-and-mortar type structure, so they have quite a few places they can take and hibernate. The tricky part is it's always been a storm sewer, so it carries water from the streets into the ravine, and now that we have so many more impervious surfaces, we're finding that the sewer is flooding.
Vollbrecht says, because it is flooding, the bats aren't surviving. Additionally, the ravine itself is failing structurally.
Vollbrecht says the solution is to create a new storm sewer that would reroute the water.
So the plan is to take the water out of that particular pipe and reroute the water to a different outfall. So there would be no water in that portion that is considered the bat cave. In doing the rerouting we would take all of the water out so there would be no flow at all and therefore no flooding.
St. Cloud State University used to do regular bat counts inside the cave, but that hasn't been done since the 1990s. The last time the DNR did a bat survey they found just one inside.
White Fungus disease is killing off the bat population in the United States so creating a safe place for them to live could help bring back their population.
The cost to reroute the water won't come cheap with an estimate of $3 1/2 million dollars. So far the city has secured $800,000 from a state grant. They are hoping for at least $2.4 million from FEMA.