Working with Greer Industries, Extreme Endeavors has been performing microclimate research to ensure area mining operations do not affect the environment of these caves. Watch one of the amazing videos shot and produced by Extreme Endeavors about this project
Just outside of Riverton, West Virginia (in Germany Valley) are two caves that provide a hibernation site and roost location for an endangered species of bats. Greer Industries has gone above and beyond their permitting requirements by employing Extreme Endeavors to develop technology innovations and conducting research that helps the state and federal agencies better monitor and manage these endangered species. Most mainstream media are quick to point out the problems that mining presents to our environment, but often they do not promote the great environmental stewardship programs that mining companies, such as Greer Industries, provide as well.
Extreme Endeavors works in a variety of microclimates. A microclimate is a small but distinctly different climate within a larger area. A microclimate can be extremely small, the size of a back yard for example, but they can also get much larger; valleys and hills are classically microclimates, due to a variety of factors which cause their weather to be different from the more general weather in the region.
Microclimates are often a topic of interest for gardeners and architects, because learning to work within this type of area can be very important. Biologists often have an interest in microclimates as well, because they can sometimes sustain unique or unusual species in an area where these species are not normally found. Unusual plants often find microclimates in which to thrive, sometimes causing a double-take as observers identify plants which should not be present in a particular area.
The conditions in a microclimate are impacted by a number of factors. The slope of the land can be important, as is the direction the slope faces. The amount of shade, wind, drainage, and exposure to weather will also all impact the conditions in a microclimate, as can things such as a nearby body of water or the presence of an urban area. An underground void (cave or mine) can also create its own microclimate, and Extreme Endeavors has specially designed hardware for measuring the microclimate system. Of course, as the name implies, we have to take it one step further, measuring the microclimate in a place such as Hellhole.
Are you having trouble with a particular microclimate? Do you want to know for certain the best location to make a low-energy facility? How about studying air flow from an underground environment? Extreme Endeavors can help you.
Video: A Typical Day In Hellhole
What do you imagine when you think of going into a place like Hellhole? Every two years Extreme Endeavors must enter Hellhole to replace environmental monitoring sensors. During this trip we outfitted ourselves with video gear to document what a typical day working in Hellhole includes.
Extreme Endeavors has been performing Microclimate Research for Greer Industries since 2004. Our job is to monitor the cave and insure that the nearby mining activities do not change the environment that endangered species of bats chose for hibernation. Our sensor are so precise that we can tell when people are in certain sections of the cave based on the changes in air flow and added heat source.
Every week we scrutinize data taken from the sensor network inside Hellhole and Schoolhouse Cave. The environmental data is processed with complex algorithms that flag any anomalies and then the data is visually inspected. This process is currently being infused with new technology, streamlining the process and improving efficiency.
Video: Hellhole and Schoolhouse Cave Microclimate Analysis Research
Extreme Endeavors has developed a customized underground monitoring system to collect and analyze data from the Hellhole and Schoolhouse Caves in Germany Valley West Virginia. This project was made possible by Greer Industries, who supports environmental monitoring and protection. Extreme Endeavors implemented monitoring systems to verify that outside influences did not affect the cave environments and, in particular, the habitats of the endangered Virginia Big-Eared bats and the Indiana bats. Extreme Endeavors acted as a liaison between Greer Lime, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR).
Video: Cave Report 2013-2014
Annual cave report summarizing system changes, data analysis, and future plans.
Video: Cave Report 2014-2015