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Rock Island Field Office instructs Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service staff on identifying Indiana bat habitat
Midwest Region, August 1, 2013
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NRCS field staff work through classroom exercises at training.
NRCS field staff work through classroom exercises at training. - Photo Credit: Kristen Lundh USFWS
Participants head to the field to identify suitable Indiana bat habitat.
Participants head to the field to identify suitable Indiana bat habitat. - Photo Credit: Kristen Lundh USFWS
Participants evaluate wooded area for the presence of Indiana bat habitat.
Participants evaluate wooded area for the presence of Indiana bat habitat. - Photo Credit: Kristen Lundh USFWS

The Rock Island Field Office assisted Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service staff at a training event designed to teach field staff how to properly identify suitable Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) summer habitat and complete section 7 consultations under the Endangered Species Act. The training was attended by approximately 40 NRCS and Iowa DNR staff from across southeastern Iowa.

 

During the training a Rock Island Field Office biologist presented information and fielded questions about Indiana bat biology and habitat requirements. Time was spent in the classroom and in the field giving the participants real hands-on experience identifying potential Indian bat habitat.

Through the informal Section 7 process, a programmatic procedure was developed for NRCS field staff to complete individual section 7 consultations. A section 7 consultation on the program was completed in 2011 and covers NRCS projects over five years. This programmatic approach will cover all threatened and endangered species in Iowa and follows a two-phase approach that will lead NRCS field office staff through a decision-making process and end in a “no effect," "not likely to adversely affect," or “likely to adversely affect” determination for each project. The best management practices and avoidance measures developed by NRCS and the Service have been integrated into these assessments and as field staff go through the assessment, they are able to integrate best management practices into their project and avoid effects and ultimately increase the conservation of bats and/or bat habitat.

As part of this Section 7 process, NRCS staff must evaluate projects for suitable habitat for listed species, including the Indiana bat. This is the third such training developed in cooperation between NRCS and the Rock Island Field Office in an effort to better inform NRCS field staff how to evaluate a site for the presence of suitable Indiana habitat and accurately generate an effects determination.


Contact Info: Kristen Lundh, 309-757-5800 ext. 215, kristen_lundh@fws.gov



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