TVA Asks Public to Avoid Caves on TVA-managed Land
Nov. 10, 2009
TVA is asking everyone to avoid visiting caves on TVA-managed land until further notice.
The request is part of an effort to curb the continuing spread of white-nose syndrome in bats. Although the infection is limited to bats, experts are concerned that human contact may spread the illness from one cave to another.
TVA is joining the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and statewide teams to develop white-nose syndrome response plans for Alabama and Tennessee. TVA also joined a coalition of agencies across the Southeast to collaboratively address white-nose syndrome.
TVA will work with the groups to discuss details for limiting public access to caves in Tennessee and other portions of the Tennessee Valley as appropriate and to determine other measures to address the potential for the disease to spread.
Bats are an essential beneficial part of the ecosystem. They play critical roles in insect control, plant pollination, seed dissemination and cave ecosystems and provide food for other animals including hawks, owls, raccoons and skunks.
Consuming more than half their body weight in insects each night, bats reduce the need for insecticides and are the major predator of night-flying insects. Bats in the United States eat thousands of tons of insects nightly.
Working with bats, including protecting caves and monitoring numerous gray bat populations, is one of TVA’s primary environmental stewardship activities. The work, performed with other agencies, plays an important role in protecting bats and other rare species in the region.
For more information, contact TVA’s Environmental Information Center (EIC) at 800-882-5263 or http://www.tva.gov/environment/eic/.
TVA is the nation’s largest public power provider and is completely self-financing. TVA provides power to large industries and 158 power distributors that serve approximately 9 million consumers in seven southeastern states. TVA also creates economic development opportunities and manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries to provide multiple benefits, including flood damage reduction, navigation, water quality and recreation.
Barbara Martocci, Knoxville, (865) 632-8632
TVA News Bureau, Knoxville, (865) 632-6000