Destroying bat habitat in Enterprise South industrial park to cost Hamilton County $18,000

Destroying bat habitat in Enterprise South industrial park to cost Hamilton County $18,000

April 4th, 2013 by Louie Brogdon in Local Regional News

Staff photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press The Enterprise South complex includes Volkswagen, Erlanger, and Amazon.com.

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Development at Enterprise South industrial park will cost an endangered bat species some prime roosting real estate.

To make up for felling trees the bats could use for habitat, officials are paying nearly $18,000 into a conservation fund.

Hamilton County plans to build a regional stormwater facility on a 30-acre tract of land at the industrial park to handle water runoff from park development and the Volkswagen assembly plant.

The trouble is, 54 trees on the land are habitats for the Indiana bat, which has been listed as endangered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1967.

Hamilton County commissioners voted Wednesday at their regular meeting to kick in $17,892 to the Indiana Bat Conservation Fund and enter an agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service in order to go ahead with the facility.

According to Fish and Wildlife Service estimates, 12,786 of the 424,708 documented Indiana bats in 2011 were in Tennessee.

The county will be fully reimbursed by the city of Chattanooga Industrial Development Board.

In other business:

• Commissioners honored longtime Chattanooga broadcaster Luther Masingill for years of service to the community.

• Mayor Jim Coppinger proclaimed April 14-20 Public Safety Telecommunicator Week.

• Commissioners voted to transfer up to $137 million of commercial paper assets to long-term bonds for an estimated saving of $3.1 million in interest.

• Commissioners agreed to pay $35,000 to Carisch-Jackson Associates to research the county's involvement with Pathways to Prosperity, a vocational education program.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6481.