Pennsylvania Field Office News
Pennsylvania's Indiana Bat Conservation Fund protects important habitat
Healthy Indiana bats
Credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS
June 4, 2014: Since 2012, 1,325 acres of Indiana bat habitat have been conserved using funds from the Indiana Bat Conservation Fund (IBCF). Through the fund, Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has purchased 113 acres of swarming habitat in Fayette County in October 2012 using $127,000 from IBCF, and 1,212 acres of swarming and foraging habitat in Blair County in June 2013 using $2,308,000 from IBCF. In August 2014, PGC plans to acquire an additional 642 acres in Blair County with about $1,149,839 from the IBCF, bringing total conserved lands to 1,967 acres.
The IBCF was established to fund the conservation and recovery of the endangered bat, while minimizing the direct, indirect, and cumulative adverse effects that can occur as a result of development and other activities. In most cases, contributions to the IBCF will be from project proponents and permit applicants as compensation for activities that may adversely affect Indiana bats or their habitat. These funds are used solely for real property acquisition and permanent Indiana bat habitat protection, although these lands are available for compatible public recreational use, such as hiking, hunting, bird watching. Additionally, other entities that want to further the conservation and recovery of the Indiana bat may donate funds to the IBCF for the purpose of permanently protecting Indiana bat habitat.
The IBCF is administered by the PGC, who, in partnership with the Service, purchase or acquire real property interests to be retained and managed in perpetuity for the benefit of the Indiana bat consistent with the purposes of the Endangered Species Act.
Service reopens comment period on proposed critical habitat designation for rabbitsfoot mussel
A rabbitsfoot mussel
Credit: Bob Butlet/USFWS
May 14, 2014: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the public comment period for 60 days through July 14 on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the rabbitsfoot freshwater mussel under the Endangered Species Act. The species was listed in September 2013, and in 2012, the Service identified just over 120 river miles in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties in Pennsylvania as essential to the conservation of the rabbitsfoot mussel. The draft economic analysis shows that across 12 states, administrative costs to federal and state agencies could be $4.4 to $5.9 million over a span of 20 years; some of that cost may be incurred by local governments and businesses. The designation of critical habitat will help ensure that federal agencies and the public are aware of the mussels' habitat needs and proper consultation is conducted by federal agencies when required by law. A critical habitat designation does not set up a preserve or refuge and only applies to situations where federal funding or a federal permit is involved.