The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will extend for six months the deadline on its decision whether to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), providing additional time to resolve questions received during the public comment period regarding the species’ population and white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of bats and poses the greatest threat to this species.
The Service proposed to list the bat as endangered on October 2, 2013, with final decision due within 12 months. The Service received comments on the proposal that questioned how quickly the disease might spread to unaffected areas and how the disease will impact northern long-eared bat populations in unaffected or recently affected areas. As a result of the six-month extension, the Service will make its final determination by April 2, 2015.
As part of the six-month extension, the Service is reopening the public comment period on the listing proposal for 60 days and seeks input from states, tribes, federal agencies and other stakeholders about the status of the northern long-eared bat and the impacts of white-nose syndrome on the species. Previous comments need not be resubmitted.
The rule extending the deadline will publish soon in the Federal Register, at which time the 60-day comment period will begin. For information about the proposal to list the northern long-eared bat, the six-month extension and how to comment, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/nlba/index.html