U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Protects Northern Long-eared Bat as Threatened Under ESA
Also Issues Interim Special Rule that Tailors Protections to Eliminate Unnecessary Restrictions and Provide Regulatory Flexibility for Landowners
April 01, 2015
The Service announced today it is protecting the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, primarily due to the threat posed by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has devastated many bat populations. At the same time, the Service issued an interim 4(d) rule that eliminates unnecessary regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and others in the range of the northern long-eared bat.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Special Rule to Focus Protections for Northern Long-Eared Bat
Rule Would Apply if Species is Listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act
January 15, 2015
In response to the rapid and severe decline of the northern long-eared bat – a species important for crop pest control – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a special rule under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that would provide the maximum benefit to the species while limiting the regulatory burden on the public.
If finalized, the rule, under section 4(d) of the ESA, would apply only in the event the Service lists the bat as “threatened.” The Service’s proposal will appear in the Federal Register Jan. 16, 2015, opening a 60-day public comment period.
“White-nose syndrome is having a devastating effect on the nation’s bat populations, which play a vital role in sustaining a healthy environment and save billions of dollars by controlling forest and agricultural pests,” said Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “We need to do what we can to make sure we are putting commonsense protections in place that support vulnerable bat species but are targeted to minimize impact on human activities. Through this proposed 4(d) rule, we are seeking public comment on how we can use the flexibilities inherent in the ESA to protect the bat and economic activity.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Reopens Comment Period on Proposal to List the Northern Long-eared Bat as Endangered
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Comments will be accepted through Dec. 18, 2014.
The Service is reopening the comment period to alert the public to additional information provided by state conservation agencies within the range of the species. The Service will consider this information, and all information received previously, while determining whether the northern long-eared bat warrants listing under the Endangered Species Act. Reopening of the comment period will allow the public to provide comments on the proposed rule in light of that additional information. A final decision on the proposal is due on April 2, 2015.
You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
(1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!'' Please ensure that you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting your comment.
(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, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
All comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means we will post any personal information you provide us. If you previously submitted comments or information on the Oct. 2, 2013, proposed rule (78 FR 61046), please do not resubmit them. We have incorporated them into the public record, and we will consider them fully in our final determination.
To view the information provided by state agencies and other information about the northern long-eared bat, go to http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/nlba/index.html
In October 2013, the Service proposed to list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species throughout its range, which includes 38 states and the District of Columbia. The Service cited the species’ sharp decline due to impacts of a disease, white-nose syndrome, a disease that affects cave-hibernating bats. On June 3, 2014, the Service announced a six-month extension of the final determination to list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species and reopened the comment period for 60 days.
Questions and Answers: Re-opening Comment Period on the Proposal to List Northern Long-eared Bat as Endangered
U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Lists as Threatened and Designates Critical Habitat for Georgia Rockcress
The Georgia rockcress, is receiving protection as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. The Georgia rockcress has been a candidate for listing as a threatened species under the ESA since 2000 and was proposed as threatened in September 2013.
Final Listing Rule (.pdf)
The species is only found in Alabama and Georgia. Approximately 732 acres (297 hectares) of riparian, river bluff habitat being designated as critical habitat. The critical habitat is located in Georgia including Gordon, Floyd, Harris, Muscogee, and Clay Counties; and in Alabama, including Bibb, Dallas, Elmore, Monroe, Sumter and Wilcox Counties.
Final Critical Habitat Rule (.pdf)
If you have questions or need more information, please contact Jimmy Rickard at 706-613-9493 or via email at James_Rickard@fws.gov .
Copies of the rule which include maps are also available by contacting Jimmy Rickard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Georgia Ecological Services Office, 105 Westpark Dr., Suite D, Athens, Georgia 30606 (telephone 706/613-9493, extension 223; facsimile 706/613-6059).
Service Lists and Designates Critical Habitat for Three Endangered Plants Under Endangered Species Act
Three rare plants found in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee are now protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This protection becomes final on September 2, 2014, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The plants, which are listed as endangered, are the fleshy-fruit gladecress, whorled sunflower, and Short’s bladderpod.
Final Listing Rule (.pdf)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is designating critical habitat for three endangered plants found in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee This critical habitat designation becomes final on September 25, 2014, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Service has identified 2,488 acres in 31 units as habitat critical to the plants’ survival.
Final Critical Habitat Rule (.pdf)
Short’s bladderpod is found in Posey County, Indiana; Clark, Franklin, and Woodford Counties Kentucky; and Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Jackson, Montgomery, Smith, and Trousdale Counties. Tennessee. The whorled sunflower is found in Floyd County, Georgia; Cherokee County, Alabama, and Madison and McNairy Counties, Tennessee. The fleshy-fruit gladecress is found in Lawrence and Morgan Counties, Alabama.
If you have questions or need more information, please contact Geoff Call in the Service’s Tennessee Field Office at 931-525-4983, or via e-mail at Geoff_Call@fws.gov. For fleshy fruit gladecress, please contact Shannon Holbrook in the Service’s Alabama Field Office at 251-441-5871, or via e-mail at Shannon_Holbrook@fws.gov.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes Threatened Status and Critical Habitat Designation for the Georgia Rockcress
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the Georgia rockcress as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Only found in Georgia and Alabama, the plant has been a candidate for listing as a Threatened species since 2000.At the same time, the Service also is proposing to designate about 786 acres of river bluff habitat as the plant’s critical habitat. The proposed critical habitat areas in Georgia include lands in Gordon, Floyd, Harris, Muscogee, Chattahoochee, and Clay Counties. In Alabama, the proposed critical habitat designation includes areas in Bibb, Dallas, Elmore, Monroe, Russell, Sumter and Wilcox Counties.
Press Release (.pdf)
Proposed Listing Rule (.pdf)
Service releases draft economic analysis for Coastal Beach Critical Habitat previously proposed for the Recovery of Northwest Atlantic Population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is releasing the estimated cost and economic impacts of its proposal to designate terrestrial critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic population of loggerhead sea turtles in coastal areas of six southeastern U.S. states.
The draft economic analysis considered the potential impact of the designation on various sectors of the economy. On average, of the potential annual $150,000 costs associated with the designation, 46% would be borne by the Service, 38% by other Federal Agency costs, and the remaining 16% to the project proponents. These proponents could include counties doing beach nourishment projects, or private or corporate applicants doing some type of beach construction.
In association with the Notice of Availability, which publishes in the Federal Register tomorrow, the Service has in response to public requests also scheduled three public hearings: August 6 in Charleston, SC; August 7 in Wilmington, NC and August 8 in Morehead City, NC. See the notice and press release for full details.
The Service is also re-opening the public comment period for 60 days on the proposal and the associated draft economic analysis.
Written comments and materials concerning the economic analysis or any aspect of the proposed critical habitat designation may be submitted electronically (preferred) at http://www.regulations.gov under docket # FWS–R4–ES–2012–0103 or via mail to Public Comments Processing; Attn: Docket # FWS–R4–ES–2012–0103, Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
All electronic comments must be received by 11:59 PM, September 16, 2013. Comments and materials submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than September 16, 2013. All comments must include a first and last name, city, state, country and zip code.
Comments and information previously submitted need not be resubmitted; these will beincorporated with all other comments and considered in making the final decision.
Direct link to submit comments via regulations.gov
Draft Economic Analysis Report - PDF - 1.8MB
Federal Register Notice for Proposed Critical Habitat (text) - PDF version - 9.44MB
Click here for more information on the Draft Economic Analysis Report or the Proposed Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Endangered Species Act Protection and Critical Habitat Designation for Three Plants in the Southeast
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list three plants as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. At the same time, the Service also proposes to designate critical habitat for these species. Those plants are Short’s bladderpod, whorled sunflower, and fleshy-fruit gladecress. Collectively, these plants occur in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Alabama.
News Release (.pdf)
Frequently Asked Questions (.pdf)
Proposed Listing Rule (.pdf)
Recovering the robust redhorse - a fish once thought to be extinct
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Georgia Power, the State of Georgia, the U.S. Geological Survey and other partners to recover the robust redhorse—a fish once thought to be extinct. Click HERE to watch a video about the effort.
Stream Crossing Initiative
Athens ES Office embarks on a stream crossing initiative to make stream crossings more passable by fish and other wildlife.
Stream-road crossings can impede the upstream and downstream movement of aquatic organisms, including fish, salamanders, and invertebrates. Consequently, the US Army Corps of Engineers worked with state and federal natural resource agencies to develop specific Regional Conditions that are intended to minimize impacts to fish passage following the construction of crossings. This website offers valuable resources to those wanting to learn more about the importance of fish passage, general methods that can be used to minimize impacts to streams, and guidance to those that are applying for permits to build culverts and bridges. Examples of fish passable and impassable crossings are provided, along with a fact sheet that describes this initiative.