Summer 2019 WCC Board Meeting

The Summer 2019 Board Meeting of the Western Cave Conservancy will be on August 11, 2019. All are welcome to attend. 

The meeting will be held between 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm at: 

Mark and Sharon Bowers
4116 Loch Lomond Way
Livermore, CA 94551
(925) 583-6042

You can also attend remotely, via Zoom Meeting:



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Meeting ID: 101 222 114


Setting the Standard on Clean Gear in Western Caves

Cavers in California recently got the unwelcome news that Pseudogymnoascus destructans (the fungus that causes WNS) has been detected in California bats. Sadly, it’s a day that we all knew was likely to come sooner or later, but that doesn’t make it less difficult to accept.

The jury is still out as to how WNS will affect the bat population on the West Coast -- as we now know, the presence of the fungus alone isn’t enough to cause WNS; it also requires the right combination of cave environment and bat behavior to blossom into the epidemic seen in other parts of North America. There’s reason to hope that it may not flourish here as much as it has elsewhere, but as the saying goes, hope is not a strategy.

So what strategy should we use to minimize the long-term risk to our beloved avocation of underground exploration? The most obvious answer is one that few will be enthusiastic about: increased vigilance about decontamination of our cave gear.

I know, I know -- it’s tempting to dismiss WNS decon protocols as a waste of time. Epidemiological studies have made clear that bat-to-bat transmission appears to be the only significant vector by which the fungus spreads, and there isn’t any evidence of even a single case of human-caused transmission. Even if this is the case, I want to persuade you that following an approved decon protocol is a good idea. For one thing, no one wants to end up as the caver who “wins” the lottery of being the first documented case of human-caused WNS transmission. (At least I certainly don’t!) And, of course, it can also help prevent the unwanted spread of other cave biota to unrelated cave ecosystems. But there’s another compelling reason: the caving community needs to set the standard of behavior here. We should see this as an opportunity to demonstrate that conservation of cave environments is something that is deeply important to all cavers. If that means we have to go above-and-beyond our previous cleaning standards, we should view it not as a burden to bear, but as a challenge to uphold -- and as a way for the general public (and land owners and managers, of course) to see the dedication we have to preserving these resources for everyone.

(Besides, I happen to like my gear clean.)

Those are my thoughts. We’d love to hear yours. Please share them with me at

P.S. Need a refresher on the right decon procedure? Download our flyer at, or visit or for even more information.


Cave Gear Decontamination: Why & How

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease that affects hibernating bats and is caused by a fungus, Although this fungus is harmless to humans, it is often fatal to hibernating bats. When it grows on them, it can disrupt their metabolism, making them use up the fat reserves they rely on for surviving the winter.

Cavers need to do their part to avoid spreading this fungus between caves. To help cavers follow an effective protocol, we've put together a simple brochure to give a quick overview of what you should do to help minimize the risk to our bat population. You can download it here.



Spring 2019 Board Meeting

The Spring 2019 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Western Cave Conservancy will be held at 1 PM, Sunday, April 28, 2019 the home of Steven Johnson & Lynn Tetenbaum:

934 Warfield Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

(If lost: 510-823-7741)

For those who cannot attend in person, you are welcome to attend remotely (call-in details will be posted before the meeting).

Free street parking is generally available, but you may have to park a (hilly) block or so away. As usual, carpooling is recommended.

Dial-in Info:

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Meeting ID: 672 032 149

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Changes On The WCC Board For 2019

As we begin the new year, there are some changes and additions in the line-up of officers and directors on the WCC Board. We have a new President, Steven Johnson, who has been on the board for over a year now and doing a wonderful job as Director of Communications. Jerry Johnson has stepped up as our new Vice President, to fill the vacancy left by Martin Haye who has retired from the board. Finally, we have a new board member, Rafael Langer-Osuna, who has very generously volunteered to be our “pro-bono” legal counsel. 

Due to a lot of complications in his life recently, Bruce Rogers decided it was best to step down from leading the organization. We aren't losing Bruce off the Board however, he was appointed as our Science Director, a position that he is well qualified for and will have an easier impact on his time. His continued presence will be very appreciated as he is a true font of historical knowledge and experience.

Everyone on the board wishes to thank Bruce for his six years of faithful service as our President and to thank Martin for his many years of service and dedication to the cause. Without Martin's dream of a conservancy and his initial seed money, the WCC would not exist.