Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its decision to list the northern long-eared bat as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specifically, it issued an interim special rule under Section 4(d) of the ESA that "eliminates unnecessary regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and others in the range of the northern long-eared bat," according to the Services press release. Previously, IMA-NA submitted comments to the Service suggesting that designation as "threatened" under Section 4(d) was a better option than a designation of "endangered" for the northern long-eared bat. The northern long-eared bat population has declined substantially from the spread of the deadly white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal growth affecting hibernating cave bats.
The listing goes into effect on May 4, 2015, 30 days after publication of the final listing determination in the Federal Register. The Service is also accepting comments on the interim 4(d) rule through July 1, 2015. Additionally, the Service will be holding teleconference information sessions at the following times:
• Friday, April 3, 2015 at 1 p.m. Central Time
• Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 3 p.m. Central Time
• Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 11 a.m. Central Time
To participate, call toll-free: 877-918-2510, enter passcode 9285200#.
IMA-NA's previous comments are attached and you can click here to read the press release and here to read the interim rule.