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The Interim Consultation Framework (framework) offers a streamlined formal section 7 consultation process that provides take authorization for northern long-eared bat for federal projects that are completed by April 1, 2024, and consistent with the 4(d) rule. The framework applies to a wide variety of ongoing projects with a federal nexus (federal permit or funding), such as timber harvest, prescribed fire, and infrastructure projects. For projects where take is likely to occur that meet the requirements of the framework, agencies will fill out a template Biological Assessment form, and Field Offices will provide a completed template Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement in a timely manner.
The Interim Wind Guidance (and associated documents) provides a strategy that will allow companies to operate and monitor for northern long-eared bats in a manner where take is not reasonably certain to occur. The guidance includes a curtailment strategy (i.e., reduction in electricity generation) at lower wind speeds when bats are migrating.
The goal of the Interim Habitat Modification Guidance is to help private, state, tribal, and local project proponents determine if they are reasonably certain to take northern long-eared bats when conducting activities that result in habitat modification. If take is reasonably certain, proponents can decide if they want to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan for their activities and apply for an Incidental Take Permit that would provide take authorization under section 10 of the ESA. Because the northern long-eared bat is now extremely rare on the landscape, we anticipate take will not be reasonably certain for most projects.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) currently protects 1,662 U.S. species and 638 foreign species. With ongoing threats such as habitat loss and new threats like climate change, a commitment to species conservation and the ESA continues to be vital. Learn more about the importance of conserving biodiversity and the people, projects, and programs that are moving the needle for imperiled species.