U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards Grants for Work on Deadly Bat Disease
Brent Lawrence, (503) 231-6211
Jeremy Coleman, (413) 253-8223
Catherine Hibbard, (413) 253-8569
Idaho, Oregon and Washington receive funding for critical projects
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced grant awards totaling $950,694 to 28 states for white-nose syndrome (WNS) projects. State natural resource agencies will use the funds to support research, monitor bat populations and detect and respond to white-nose syndrome, a disease that afflicts bats.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will receive $15,136 to continue a two-year pilot project for utilizing acoustic detectors to obtain baseline bat activity data. Working with state partners, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will receive $41,487 to establishing a system for the rapid process of diagnosing suspect animals. Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) will receive $41,500 to complete their strategic plan that will, among other things, respond to public inquiries, collect data to monitor bat populations and disease surveillance in the state, and engage in research activities related to wind energy and cave management that will include decontamination and cave access to curtail the spread of the disease.
“White-nose syndrome has spread rapidly from one state in 2007 to 22 states and five Canadian provinces this year,” said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the Service’s national WNS coordinator. “These grants provide essential support to our state partners in responding to this disease. The research, monitoring, and actions made possible by these grants have yielded valuable results and insights for our national response to white-nose syndrome.”
“This is one of the most devastating diseases affecting wildlife in North America,” said Robyn Thorson, Pacific Regional Director. “Our best estimates indicate that it has killed more than 5.7 million bats.”
First discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, the disease has spread rapidly through the eastern United States and parts of Canada, and continues to move westward. The Service is leading a cooperative effort with federal and state agencies, tribes, researchers, universities and other non-government organizations to research and manage the spread of WNS. In addition to developing science-based protocols and guidance for land management agencies and other partners to minimize the spread of WNS, the Service has funded numerous research projects to support and assess management recommendations and improve basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.
Funding for grants was provided through the Endangered Species Recovery program. Proposals were received from 28 states. All eligible requests were given at least partial awards, ranging from about $7,000 to $47,500, for a total of $950,694. Additional information about WNS, the international disease investigation, and research can be found on the national WNS website at www.whitenosesyndrome.org. The site contains up-to-date information and resources from partners in the WNS response, current news and links to social media.
America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. The Service is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. Learn more about the Endangered Species Program at: www.fws.gov/endangered.
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