On State Route 139 in New Boston, a nest of endangered Indiana bats have delayed a state repaving and widening project. Asked if the bats were dangerous or presented a risk to surrounding residential neighborhoods, Village Administrator Steve Hamilton said he didn’t think so.
“They were found nesting in the hillside, so I guess the environmentalists told them they can’t do nothing until they fly away. I guess they go away when it gets cold. We can’t take any steps to remove them, and the state’s not going to either,” Hamilton said.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species, Indiana bats (myotis sodalis) have been on the endangered list since 1996. Their population has declined 60 percent since the 1960s, to less than 400,000 today.
The New Boston road project will still be let out to bid, Hamilton said, but the contractor won’t be able to start until the bats decide to leave as the weather turns colder. Hamilton said the project could even be delayed until next year. In the meantime, the cold weather that will be approaching when the bats leave will bring with it icy roads and create dangerous driving conditions there on 139 where the hill is sliding and causing a large hump on the road.
Hamilton said if the contractors won’t remove the hump this winter, the village will have to.
Hamilton also said kudzu and grapevines have overgrown properties around New Boston.
Kudzu is an invasive vine native to Asia.
“It was brought over (to the U.S.) from Japan to feed cattle, but now it’s out of control. It grows a foot and a half a day and in the southern States it’s really taken over real bad,” Hamilton said.
According the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, kudzu is a very aggressive plant and can out-compete or eliminate native plant species, thereby upsetting the natural diversity of plant and animal communities. The plant can grow over objects to smother and shade plants and trees from light. Timber and agricultural crops are either killed or degraded by kudzu invasion.
The persistent plant is overtaking properties on Glenwood Avenue in New Boston.
“It’s taken over a nice buckeye tree and power poles going to people’s houses. It grows from fence to fence, from house to house. Plus it’s a fire hazard, too,” Hamilton said.
Grapevines are another problem overgrowing the village. Hamilton said the thick, tangling vines have consumed parts of the hillside in New Boston.
“On Gallia Street (3900 block) where the old Eagles was, if you look at that hillside there you can see how it’s just taken over the whole hill and all those trees
He said there is no funding assistance for local governments to clear the kudzu or the grapevines, but there are assistance programs for individual property owners to have it removed. Anyone in New Boston with grapevines or kudzu growing on their property is asked to contact Hamilton at the Village Office on Rhodes Avenue, or by calling at (740) 456-4106.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.