Dim the Lights and Help the Bats: Why Your Outdoor Lighting Matters

Evenings are a beautiful time to relax on the patio or enjoy a cup of coffee on your porch. But the bright lights we use for security and ambiance can have unintended consequences for our nocturnal neighbors – bats.

Bats are fascinating creatures that play a vital role in our ecosystem. They're incredible insectivores, consuming vast quantities of mosquitoes, moths, and other flying insects that can be bothersome or even harmful to humans.

Unfortunately, the bright lights we use around our homes can disrupt bat activity in several ways:

  • Disrupted Night Vision:  Unlike the image of a blind bat, most bat species have good eyesight, but it's adapted for low-light conditions. Bright lights can be disorienting and make it difficult for them to navigate and hunt effectively.
  • Delayed Emergent Time: Bats are most active at night, emerging from their roosts to feed after dusk.  Bright lights near roosting areas can delay their emergence, reducing their foraging time.
  • Habitat Abandonment: In extreme cases, persistent bright lights can make an entire area unusable for bats. They may abandon roosts altogether, seeking darker areas for raising their young and resting.

Simple Solutions for a Bat-Friendly Environment 
There are some easy steps you can take to minimize the impact of your outdoor lighting on bats:

  • Use Motion-Sensor Lights:  These lights only turn on when they detect movement, providing security while minimizing unnecessary light pollution.
  • Shield Your Lights:  Choose fixtures that cast light downwards, preventing it from spilling out into the surrounding environment.
  • Use Warmer Light Bulbs:  Cooler, blue-toned lights are more disruptive to wildlife. Opt for bulbs with a warmer color temperature, like yellow or orange.
  • Reduce Light Intensity:  Consider using lower wattage bulbs or dimming existing lights where possible.

By making small changes to your outdoor lighting, you can create a more bat-friendly habitat. Remember, a healthy bat population helps control insect pests and contributes to a balanced ecosystem in your backyard.

Together, we can help bats continue their valuable work while still enjoying the beauty of our outdoor spaces at night!

SeaTac Prepares for Additional TOD Projects Around Angle Lake Station

Over a decade ago, the City of SeaTac set the wheels in motion for transit-oriented development (TOD) in the Angle Lake Station area, aiming to leverage the existing light rail station and major commercial road [1]. This prime location is ideal for high-density housing projects.

One specific area poised for transformation is the former "The Firs" mobile home park, situated directly south of the Angle Lake Station on International Boulevard, next to the International House of Pancakes (IHOP).

Plans surfaced last fall proposing a mixed-use development on this vacant land at 20446 International Blvd. This proposal hinges on a zoning change from the city, which recently issued a determination of non-significance under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

Local hospitality investors own the roughly 6.5-acre, L-shaped property. UIL Architects, on their behalf, formulated a plan to section the property into new development parcels on the northeast and west sides.

The northeast portion, facing South 204th Street, could potentially house a seven-story apartment building with 85 units and a parking structure with 157 stalls.

Meanwhile, the western section on International Boulevard could see the construction of a seven-story, 160-room hotel with a surface parking lot offering 234 spaces.

Nestled within the former Firs property, behind the IHOP and Sleep Inn, lies a separate vacant lot at 20406 International Blvd. This nearly 2-acre property is under separate ownership by DevCo and Heartland Construction. While a seven-story, 155-unit apartment building was once envisioned for this space, Peak Commercial Partners recently listed it for sale at $5 million.

With the zoning change seemingly on the horizon, the possibility exists that the owners of The Firs may put their northeast parcel on the market. This could pave the way for a single developer to undertake both apartment projects concurrently. 

Source: 2013 Commissioned Study for recommended TOD planning.