Bat May Put New Jail On Hold

Indiana Bat

During a meeting of the Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee was told by members of the Jail Review Committee that an endangered species known as the Indiana bat could delay construction of the new jail if the county decides to issue bonds through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to county and USDA officials, the USDA’s rural development bonds require National Environmental Protection Act assessments by several environmental and wildlife agencies for any project involving the clearing of trees, construction or land disturbance. Upon the county’s recent application for rural development bond financing to construct the new jail, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that, due to the presence of wetlands and trees of a certain size at the new jail site, a biologist will have to determine whether the Indiana bat resides on the property. If the bats are present, the county cannot clear any trees on the property until after the bat’s mating season ends September 30 if the county wishes to use this source of federal funding to construct the jail. That means jail construction will be delayed.