Comment period reopened on proposal to list the northern long-eared bat

Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopened the public comment period on whether to federally list the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as endangered. An announcement of the action appeared in the November 18 issue of the Federal Register (Vol. 79, No. 222, pp. 68657-68658). In the notice, the Service states that the agency is taking this action to notify the public of new information that was supplied to them by state wildlife and forestry agencies within the range of the species. The Service is now requesting that new comments on the proposal be submitted on or before December 18, 2014.

Recently the states, through regional chapters of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, provided letters to the Service. The letters indicate that, although northern long-eared bat numbers in the northeastern US portion of the range have declined since 2006 due to the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, those effects have only occurred in the northeastern US. As a result, the agencies suggest that the best available information does not indicate that the northern long-eared bat is in danger of extinction throughout a “significant portion of” the species’ range. The agencies recommend that, if the Service determines that the bat should be designated as a threatened species, that determination should be accompanied by a 4(d) rule that identifies the role of normal forest management and other land management activities for which best management practices have been developed as necessary and advisable for conserving northern long-eared bat. The Federal Register notice, the letters, and other information on this proposed listing is at https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/nlba/.

A final decision on the proposed listing of this species is due on April 2, 2015.

  

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