Pennsylvania Field Office
Northeast Region

News Archive

Pennsylvania State Lands Forestry Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)

February 24, 2014: The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) manages 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) manages 2.2 million acres of State Forests and 295,000 acres of State Parks, totaling approximately 3.8 million acres of land. These predominantly forested lands provide potential foraging, roosting, maternity colony, and fall swarming habitat for all bat species that occur in Pennsylvania, including the federally listed endangered Indiana bat and the federally proposed endangered northern long-eared bat. Forestry operations on these lands have the potential to incidentally take these bats and their habitat. Therefore, PGC and DCNR are developing an ITP application and HCP to address these activities. Please see the link below for frequently asked questions (FAQs) and updates on the project scheduling.

This northern long-eared bat has visible symptoms of white-nose synrdome.
Credit: University of Illinois/Steve Taylor
northern long-eared bat

Endangered status proposed for northern long-eared bat

October 18, 2013: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Northeast populations of the bat, found across all 13 states in the region, have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of the disease white-nose syndrome were first observed in 2006. The Service also determined that the eastern small-footed bat, which has not shown drastic decline at winter hibernacula, does not warrant listing. Comments and information from the public are encouraged through Dec. 2, 2013. 

News release
More information

Rabbitsfoot Mussel. Credit: Dick Biggins/USFWS
Rabbitsfoot mussel

Service estimates economic impacts of critical habitat designation for rabbitsfoot mussel

UPDATE 9/16/2013: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the rabbitsfoot mussel as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The comment period for the draft economic analysis remains open until October 28. Learn more

UPDATE 8/26/2013: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service re-opened the public comment period on the draft economic analysis for the proposed designation of critical habitat for the rabbitsfoot mussel. Learn more

May 8, 2013: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has analyzed the economic impacts of designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act for the rabbitsfoot freshwater mussel in Pennsylvania and 11 other states. The agency invites public comment on the draft economic analysis, which shows that across all 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. 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 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.

Press release
2012 press release
Critical habitat proposal, economic analysis

Review will find if cave-dwelling invertebrate needs federal protection

The Heller Cave springtail, a small cave-dwelling invertebrate known only from one Pennsylvania cave, may need protection under federal law as a threatened or endangered animal. This announcement, called a 90-day petition finding, is the first step in the Service's scientific process to determine whether the springtail warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Service was petitioned in October 2011 by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Juniata Valley Audubon Society to list it under the ESA. For the next step, the Service seeks biological information on the springtail. Information will be used in an extensive status review that will determine whether the Service will propose extending ESA protection to the Heller Cave springtail.


Credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS
Indiana bat

$600,000 grant will support conservation planning for Penn. state agencies

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced August 14, 2012, a grant to support conservation planning in Pennsylvania. The grant will support state agencies' efforts to address forest land management activities on state lands to benefit the Indiana bats and other bats. Awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, the grants are part of $33 million to fund projects in 21 states benefiting numerous species, from the Peninsular bighorn sheep to Kirtland's warbler.

More (News release)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes endangered species protection for two freshwater mussels

The Service has proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the sheepnose and the spectaclecase, two freshwater mussels found in river systems in the eastern U.S. These mussels occupy less than half the number of streams where they once occurred. Threats include loss and degradation of habitat due to impoundments, channelization, chemical contaminants, mining and sedimentation. The decline of freshwater mussels often signals a decline in the water quality of their habitat.

Learn more about the spectaclecase and the sheepnose.


Last updated: June 5, 2014
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.