Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Black Hills bat listed as threatened

A step toward preserving some Black Hills habitat has been taken.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is protecting the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), primarily due to the threat posed by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has devastated many bat populations. The Service, states, federal agencies, tribes, conservation organizations and scientific institutions are working together on a national response team to address white-nose syndrome through disease monitoring and management, conservation and outreach. For areas of the country affected by white-nose syndrome, the measures provided in the interim 4(d) rule exempt “take” (a term under the ESA that includes harming, harassing or killing a listed species) resulting from certain activities. In parts of the country not affected by white-nose syndrome, the 4(d) rule recognizes that activities that result in incidental take of bats are not imperiling the species. These activities will be exempt from the Act’s prohibitions. Purposeful take, however, other than removal of bats from dwellings, is prohibited. [excerpt, press release, USFWS]
GOP donors being subsidized by the federal government to log in the Black Hills are putting pressure on the state's congressional delegation to resist habitat protection for the black-backed woodpecker, too.

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