Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America


Step 7a. The Northern long-eared bat (NLEB) - what it means for your project.


In 2015, the USFWS listed the Northern long-eared bat (NLEB) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), due to the impacts of white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of cave-hibernating bats. The species seasonal and annual survival depends on successfully hibernating and roosting their young. Therefore, federal protections focus on the locations where the NLEB hibernate and roost during the pup season. Regardless of the legal protections afforded the Northern long-eared bat during their most sensitive life stages, we encourage people to take proactive steps to conserve bats throughout all of its range and life history.

Endangered Species Act protections for the NLEB:

The ESA protects threatened and endangered wildlife from “take,” which includes harming, harassing, or killing a listed species. However, the Service implemented a special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA providing flexibility to those working in northern long-eared bat habitat. Under the 4(d) rule:

All intentional take is prohibited, except:
  • Defense of human life (includes for public health monitoring)
  • Removal of hazardous trees for protection of human life and property
  • Removal of bats from human structures (check with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to ensure compliance with state wildlife laws)
Incidental take without a permit is prohibited:
  • Within hibernation sites (includes disturbing or disrupting hibernating individuals and alternation of hibernation habitat, including cave or mine entrance, when bats are not present)
  • Within ¼ mile of a known hibernation site
  • Within a 150-foot radius of a known, occupied maternity roost during the pup season (June 1- July 31)

Eastern North Carolina areas where incidental take may be a special consideration:

According to our records, NLEB is known to be present in the green counties highlighted below. Some of these counties, listed below the map, also contain known roost trees for NLEB.  To find out if your project requires further consultation please click on the link for the respective county to see a more detailed "Red HUC" map that identifies in red the areas that may be subject to restrictions related to maternity roosting sites.

Map updated on 03-24-2020. The counties listed below also contain known winter roost trees. Click on the county name to see highlighted red HUC maps, which represent areas containing known roost tree(s).

Red HUC maps (12-03-2018):

Voluntary Conservation Measures

Beyond the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, we heartily encourage pro-active conservation steps to help conserve this species:

  • Prior to implementing a project, survey for NLEB, and share the data with te Service. Such data allows us to better understand the bat’s habitat use and distribution, track its status, evaluate threats and impacts, and develop effective recovery actions.
  • Remove trees outside the pup season (June 1 to July 31) and/or active season (April 1 to October 31) to reduce the chance of impacting unidentified maternity roosts
  • Avoid clearing habitat within a 5-mile radius of hibernation sites when bats are emerging from or preparing for hibernation (April 1 to May 15 and August 15 to November 14, respectively).
  • Manage forests to ensure a continual supply of snags and other suitable maternity roost trees.
  • Conduct prescribed burns outside the pup season (June 1 to July 31) and/or the active season (April 1 to October 31), and avoid high-intensity burns.
  • Perform bridge repair, retrofit, or maintenance outside the bat’s active season (April 1 to October 31) in areas where they are known to roost on bridges or where such use is likely.
  • Minimize use of herbicides and pesticides. If necessary, spot treatment is preferred over aerial application.
  • Minimize light pollution during the active season by angling lights downward or via other light minimization measures.

Continue to Step 7.b for Project Review Guidance for NLEB

For questions about ESA permits or the Northern long-eared bat, please contact the Raleigh Field Office for projects on the Eastern half of the state and the Asheville Field Office for projects on the Western half.


llink to Asheville officelink to Raleigh

Western NC - Asheville Field Office Eastern NC - Raleigh Field Office
Continue to Step 7.b
Project Review Steps for Conservation and Development Projects:
Program Contacts:

The Project Planning and Consultation team reviews projects under the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.

Write to us at RALEIGH@FWS.GOV

John Ellis

Phone: 919-856-4520 ext. 26 John_Ellis@fws.gov , projects involving hydroelectric power


John Hammond

Phone: 919-856-4520 ext 28 John_Hammond@fws.gov , projects involving ESA Section 7 Consultation and military installations


Gary Jordan

Phone: 919-856-4520 ext.32 Gary_Jordan@fws.gov , projects involving the North Carolina Department of Transportation or Federal Highway Administration


Kathy Matthews

Phone: 919-856-4520 ext 27 Kathryn_Matthews@fws.gov, projects involving wind energy


Leigh Mann

Phone: 919-856-4520, ext 10 Raleigh@fws.gov, projects tracking and correspondence


Emily Wells

Phone: 919-856-4520 ext 25 Emily_Wells@fws.gov, projects involving Habitat Conservation Planning and the City of Boiling Spring Lakes


Mailing Address

Raleigh Field Office

P.O. Box 33726

Raleigh, NC 27636-3726

Last Updated: April 23, 2020