Friday, January 15, 2016

USFWS finalizes protection for Black Hills bat

Another step toward preserving some Black Hills habitat has been taken.
In an effort to conserve the northern long-eared bat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule today that uses flexibilities under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to tailor protections to areas affected by white-nose syndrome during the bat’s most sensitive life stages. As white-nose syndrome continues to affect this species, the bat’s status may decline to the point that it becomes endangered. In that event, the Service would publish a new proposal requesting public input. If the bat were to be listed as endangered in the future, the 4(d) rule would no longer apply, and all regulatory prohibitions under the ESA would take effect. In the United States, the northern long-eared bat is found from Maine to North Carolina on the Atlantic Coast, westward to eastern Oklahoma and north through the Dakotas, reaching into eastern Montana and Wyoming. [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.
"The species, by any sensible measure, clearly deserves endangered status," says Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity in Vermont. "It's dying at rates of 90 to 100 percent." [Environmentalists Say 'Threatened' Status For Bats Not Enough]
Senator don Juan Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem have tossed bones to their campaign contributors by railing against the protection of endangered species like the northern long-eared bat and for more money for the Neiman family to log the old growth ponderosa pine essential to preserving Black Hills habitat. Neiman Enterprises sells clear pine to Pella for windows and doors.
Like most bats, northern long-eared bats emerge at dusk to feed. They primarily fly through the understory of forested areas feeding on moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies, and beetles, which they catch while in flight using echolocation or by gleaning motionless insects from vegetation. [USFWS fact sheet]
Box Elder Creek is still running in January because of the mountain pine beetle's feast of pine even as a town named for a war criminal is preparing another celebration of ecocide.

South Dakota's GOP-dominated legislature is also pandering to the logging industry by voting to give them more cash.

Cougars and the American Dipper have been all but extirpated from the Black Hills.

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