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Decision Matrix
  1. Abandoned limestone mine in West Virginia. Photo by Jim Kennedy. © Bat Conservation International

    We assume that you have gathered adequate information to properly use this decision matrix to determine whether a closure is warranted and what type of closure is appropriate. Comprehensive project planning should be completed during the pre-survey, planning phase. Timelines should be established so that all location, survey and construction activities are appropriately timed and realistically attainable.

    Adapted from the BCI publication Managing Abandoned Mines for Bats.

  2. Enter the name of this mine or mine closure(*)
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  1. Site Type

    Bats roost in a broad range of natural and man-made structures. This decision matrix tool will help you select appropriate closure types for abandoned-mine features. Management of other roosts (caves and non-mine artificial roosts) is not covered, but please contact Bat Conservation International for assistance.
  2. Which of these best describes the type of this site?



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  3. You have indicated that this is a naturally-formed cave or cave-like feature. This website is geared toward mine closures. There are other resources available to help you manage caves and cave-like features, but this website is not one of them. Please contact Bat Conservation International or the American Cave Conservation Association for advice.
  4. You have indicated that this is a tunnel, aqueduct, cistern, bunker, bridge, building, or other similar non-mine artificial roost. This website is geared toward mine closures. There are other resources available to help you manage these sites. We recommend that you contact Bat Conservation International for assistance.
  5. Answer Summary

    Run Title: .

  6. You can click a button below to go back to that question.

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  1. Mine Type

    Mines may be of many different types, depending on the local terrain and geology of the deposit sought. Different opening types and the slope and stability of the ground, dictate various closure options. As a general rule, the steeper the opening, the less restrictive it needs to be to remain wildlife friendly.
  2. What type of mine is this feature?





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  3. Answer Summary

    Run Title: .

    Site Type: .

  4. You can click a button below to go back to that question.

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  1. Geological Stability

    The geologic material in which the mine resides, as well as the weathering processes upon those materials, may dictate certain designs to ensure that a closure is permanent or to maintain an opening for wildlife, research access or other reasons.
  2. How solid and stable is the rock at the mine entrance?




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  3. You indicated that the rock around the mine entrance is somewhat solid, but weathered and fractured. Skirting around the entrance can often be used to stabilize the entrance for addition of a gate.
  4. You indicated that the rock around the mine entrance is soil, mine waste, or other unconsolidated sediment. Skirting around the entrance can often be used to stabilize the entrance for addition of a gate.
  5. You indicated that the rock around the opening is collapsed or partially collapsed. A culvert can often be used to stabilize the entrance.
  6. Answer Summary

    Run Title: .

    Site Type: .

    Mine Type: .

  7. You can click a button below to go back to that question.

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  1. Biological Importance

  2. Many abandoned mines can provide critical habitat needs for various wildlife species. Many mines can be closed to reduce human liability while still preserving these wildlife resources. However, because of the vast number of abandoned mines and the limited time and money available for closures, mine sites should be prioritized according to their current and future value to wildlife. To determine the species involved and the amount and type of use, detailed biological assessments should be performed before closures take place. Larger animals – , bobcats, mountain lions, collared peccary, sheep, etc. – use mines as temporary shelters and den sites. If alternate sites are not available, mine resources coud be managed for these animals, although that precludes most closure options. Most small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians readily adapt to any bat-friendly gate design, although slight modifications may be necessary for specific species (e.g., desert tortoise, barn owl).
  3. Are important wildlife species present?



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  4. You indicated that you do not know if important wildlife species are present. We recommend that multiple site visits be made during different seasons, and that both internal and external assessments are performed. If this is not possible, it is usually best to err on the side of caution and assume that the resources are present.
  5. Are there bats?


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  6. Is this an important bat site?


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  7. You indicated that bats are present, but this is not an important bat site. If bats are present, but the site is important, it may still be backfilled as long as pre-closure exclusions are performed.
  8. Is this a large colony?


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  9. You indicated that there is a large bat colony. Add a chute to a Basic or Cupola gate if the entrance is not large enough. Fence the entrance if no other alternative exists.
  10. Answer Summary

    Run Title: .

    Site Type: .

    Mine Type: .

    Geo-Stability: .

  11. You can click a button below to go back to that question.

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  1. Opening Size

  2. Relatively speaking, how large is the opening?




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  3. You indicated that the opening is not physically enterable by humans. In some cases, re-opening or enlarging the entrance will allow for culvert stabilization.
  4. You indicated that the opening is comfortable human sized. Selection of Basic or Culvert gate depends upon orientation of opening and bedrock stability.
  5. Answer Summary

    Run Title: .

    Site Type: .

    Mine Type: .

    Geo-Stability: .

    Species Present: .

    Bats Present: .

    Important Bat Site: .

    Large Colony: .

  6. You can click a button below to go back to that question.