Author: Dan Maltese
The United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) is proposing to list the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as a federally endangered species throughout its range. Based on the information provided in the Federal Register (Vol. 78, No, 191) dated October 2, 2013, the USFWS is seeking data and comments on the listing by December 2, 2013. Requests for a public hearing must be received by the USFWS in writing on or before November 18, 2013. A final determination as to the listing will be made based on comments received. Pertinent information related to this listing includes:
- The northern long-eared bat has been particularly hard hit by White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), especially in the eastern U.S. Typically, federal protection for a species under the Endangered Species Act is driven by habitat declines. However, in the case of the northern long-eared bat, the proposed federally endangered status is more closely related to disease-control and not habitat loss.
- Unlike other species of bats, such as the Indiana bat, the northern long-eared bat does not have a large amount of historical data that can be used to track its decline. Many of the studies are fairly recent and involve winter hibernacula surveys conducted in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). For example, in 2013 the PGC conducted hibernacula surveys at 34 sites where northern long-eared bats were also observed prior to WNS. Researchers found a 99-percent decline (from 637 to 5 bats) at these locations (Turner 2013, unpublished data). However, in other areas, the northern long-eared bats have been consistently caught during summer mist net surveys and regularly detected during acoustic surveys in eastern populations.
- The October 2, 2013 Federal Register also offers that the proposed listing of the eastern small footed bat (Myotis leibii) is NOT warranted.
CEC will be providing comment to the USFWS on this proposed listing and is assisting many of our clients on this issue. For more information, please contact Ryan Slack in our Indianapolis, Indiana office at (877) 746-0749, or Dan Maltese in our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania office at (800) 365-2324.