The US Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the comment period on the proposal to list the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionals) as endangered throughout its range. The northern long-eared bat is one of the species facing increased declines due to white-nose syndrome (WNS). The public comment period has been reopened until December 18, 2014 and a final decision on the proposal is due April 2, 2015.
Information on this proposal and more details on the northern long-eared bat can be found here. Comments can be submitted electronically or by hard copy. Please see the USFWS news release for submission instructions.
The USFWS is particularly interested in additional information and comments regarding the following:
(1) The northern long-eared bat’s biology, range and population trends, including:
(a) Habitat requirements for feeding, breeding and sheltering;
(b) Genetics and taxonomy;
(c) Historical and current range, including distribution patterns;
(d) Historical and current population levels, and current and projected trends; and
(e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its habitat or both.
(2) Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of the northern long-eared bat and ongoing conservation measures for the species and its habitat.
(3) Biological, commercial trade or other relevant data concerning any threats (or lack thereof) to this species and regulations that may be addressing those threats.
(4) Current or planned activities in the areas occupied by the species and possible impacts of these activities on this species.
(5) Additional information regarding the threats to the northern long-eared bat under the five listing factors, which are:
(a) The present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of its habitat or range;
(b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific or educational purposes;
(c) Disease or predation;
(d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
(e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
(6) The reasons why areas should or should not be designated as critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), including the possible risks or benefits of designating critical habitat, including risks associated with publication of maps designating any area on which this species may be located, now or in the future, as critical habitat.
(7) The following specific information on:
(a) The amount and distribution of habitat for the northern long-eared bat;
(b) What areas, that are currently occupied and that contain the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of this species, should be included in a critical habitat designation and why;
(c) Special management considerations or protection that may be needed for the essential features in potential critical habitat areas, including managing for the potential effects of climate change;
(d) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential for the conservation of this species and why;
(e) The amount of forest removal occurring within known summer habitat for this species;
(f) Information on summer roost habitat requirements that are essential for the conservation of the species and why; and
(g) Information on the features and requirements of the species’ winter habitat (hibernacula).
(8) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of changing environmental conditions resulting from climate change on the species and its habitat.
(9) Information on the data and reports submitted to the Service by affected states and how that information relates to our determination of whether the northern long-eared bat is an endangered or a threatened species.