[Federal Register: October 28, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 208)]
[Page 66387-66388]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-ES-2010-N216; 50120-1113-0000-C2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Assisting States, 
Federal Agencies, and Tribes in Managing White-Nose Syndrome in Bats; 
Draft National Plan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announces the 
availability for public review of a draft national plan to assist 
States, Federal agencies, and tribes in managing white-nose syndrome in 
bats. This draft plan was prepared by representatives of the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
and Forest Service; U.S. Department of Defense's Army Corps of 
Engineers; U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, 
National Park Service, and FWS; St. Regis Mohawk Tribe; Kentucky 
Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; Missouri Department of 
Conservation; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; 
Pennsylvania Game Commission; Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife; 
and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The FWS is 
requesting review and comment on the draft plan from all interested 

DATES: Comments on the draft plan must be received on or before 
November 29, 2010.

ADDRESSES: An electronic copy of the draft plan is available at http://
www.fws.gov/WhiteNoseSyndrome/. The document is also available by 
request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York Field Office, 
3817 Luker Road, Cortland, NY 13045 (phone: 607-753-9334). Requests for 
copies of the draft plan and written comments regarding this plan 
should be addressed to Dr. Jeremy Coleman, National White-Nose Syndrome 
Coordinator, at the New York Field

[[Page 66388]]

Office. In addition, FWS is accepting electronic comments on the draft 
plan at the following e-mail address: WhiteNoseBats@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Jeremy Coleman, National White-
Nose Syndrome Coordinator, at the New York Field Office. See ADDRESSES 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal 
disease responsible for unprecedented mortality in hibernating bats in 
the northeastern United States. It has spread rapidly since its 
discovery in January 2007, and poses a potentially catastrophic threat 
to hibernating bats throughout North America, including several species 
listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act 
(ESA). Listed bats include the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), Virginia 
big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus), Ozark big-eared 
bat (Corynorhinus townsendii ingens), and gray bat (Myotis grisescens).
    The mobility of bats, the potential for human-assisted 
transmission, and the severe consequences of WNS make it imperative 
that a national effort be mounted to avoid irreversible losses to bat 
populations and associated ecological impacts throughout North America. 
This effort requires collaboration among State, Federal, and tribal 
wildlife management agencies with stewardship responsibilities for bat 
populations and among nongovernmental organizations and the scientific 
community. Collaboration at the international level is also needed, 
because the threat of WNS crosses international borders.
    In June of 2008, an effort to formalize a coordinated approach for 
addressing WNS was initiated among Federal and State wildlife 
management agencies. More recently, a multiagency WNS National Plan 
Writing Team was formed to prepare a draft national plan that details 
the elements that are critical to the investigation and management of 
WNS, identifies key actions to address stated goals, and outlines the 
roles of Federal and State agencies and other entities.
    The WNS response strategy outlined in the draft national plan 
includes general practices, as well as seven program elements. These 
elements and their associated goals are:
    1. Communications: Provide target audiences with relevant 
information about WNS as a wildlife health issue and the efforts taking 
place to control and manage WNS, including contact information for key 
team members and agency personnel.
    2. Scientific and Technical Information Dissemination: Create a WNS 
database that can both be used by individual agencies and act as a 
central data repository.
    3. Diagnostics: Develop diagnostic and sample quality standards, 
establish laboratory testing capacity, and report test results to 
resource management agencies.
    4. Disease Management: Provide management recommendations to slow 
the spread of WNS, reduce morbidity and mortality rates to sustainable 
levels, and limit adverse impacts of management actions.
    5. Research Coordination: Conduct a critical review of previous and 
ongoing research projects; investigate disease etiology, WNS 
pathogenesis and epidemiology, interaction of disease and host ecology, 
and human dimensions and ecological consequences of WNS; and 
disseminate research findings.
    6. Disease Surveillance: Create a nationwide early detection 
program, coordinate sample collection and submission, and support 
epidemiological investigations.
    7. Conservation and Recovery of Affected Species: Develop rapid 
assessment population monitoring techniques, establish criteria for 
prioritizing conservation activities, and determine best practices for 
maintaining and recovering populations.
    The national plan will be followed by an implementation plan that 
will identify sub-actions, the agencies responsible for implementation 
of each action/sub-action, and cost estimates. Also, the national plan 
will help individual agencies develop response plans tailored to their 
WNS-related needs and circumstances.
    Request for Public Comments: We request written comments on the 
draft national plan. All comments received by the date specified in 
DATES will be considered in preparing a final plan.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, the FWS cannot guarantee that we will 
be able to do so.

    Authority: As a number of federally listed bat species are 
threatened by WNS, the FWS is issuing this notice primarily under 
the authority of the ESA of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531). This plan is 
intended to guide recovery of listed bats. It was developed so that 
it can be easily adopted or incorporated into existing or future 
recovery plans.

    Dated: September 27, 2010.
Kyla J. Hastie,
Acting Regional Director, Region 5, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-27340 Filed 10-27-10; 8:45 am]