The Northern long-eared bat is found across much of the eastern and north central United States, and all Canadian provinces from the Atlantic Ocean west to the southern Yukon Territory and eastern British Columbia.
The USFWS proposal to list the bat species as endangered appeared in the Oct. 2, 2013, Federal Register. The proposal opened a 60-day public comment period that would have ended on Dec. 2. The USFWS will be extending the time for public comment an additional 30 days.
The primary threat to the bat is a disease, white-nose syndrome, which has killed an estimated 5.5 million cave-hibernating bats in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Canada. Populations of the bat in the Northeast have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of white-nose syndrome were first observed in 2006.
White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease known to cause high mortality in bats that hibernate in caves. The fungus causing the disease thrives in low temperatures and high humidity — conditions commonly found in caves and mines where Northern long-eared bats hibernate.
White-nose syndrome has spread rapidly throughout the East and is currently establishing a foothold in the Midwest. Although there is debate as to how fast white-nose syndrome may spread throughout the species’ range, current model predictions suggest it will likely spread throughout the United States.
Under the Endangered Species Act, an endangered plant or animal is one that is in danger of becoming extinct.
The USFWS is looking for comments on the proposal to list the northern long-eared bat.
You may submit comments by one of the following methods. Comments must be received by Jan. 2, 2014.
1) Electronically at http://www.regulations.gov:
In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024, which is the docket number for the rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Send a Comment or Submission.” If your comments will fit in the provided comment box, please use this feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as it is most compatible with our comment review procedures.
2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax
Dr., MS 2042–PDM, Arlington VA 22203
The Service requests that you send comments only by the methods described above. The Service will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that the Service will post any personal information you provide. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on Jan. 2, 2014.
For more information on the proposal to list the Northern long-eared bat and other endangered species information, go to http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/nlba/index.html. For more information about white-nose syndrome visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service.
(Editor’s Note: This guest “Viewpoint” has been submitted to the Cleveland Daily Banner by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an informational tool for those wishing to express opinions on the agency’s potential actions regarding endangered animal and plant life. It has been provided by the agency’s Tim Patronski and Georgia Parham.)