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USFWS Gives Final Rule On Long-Eared Bat

Steven Thomas-USFWS

While the process is likely far from over, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has posted final rules to preserve the Long-Eared Bat.

The bat is threatened by White-Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has killed bats by the millions.

The syndrome has been observed in 30 states. The bats use the northern forests as a place to rear their young. One group paying particular interest are loggers. Initial rules said harvesters would need to stay away from nesting trees by a quarter of a mile, but that has been reduced, says Great Lakes Timber Professionals Executive Director Henry Schienebeck...

"....they reduced the cutting around known maternity trees from a quarter-mile to 150 foot radius. All the science pointed to that. 150 feet is something we can work with..."

Under the final rule, intentionally harming, harassing or killing the northern long-eared bat is prohibited throughout the species’ range, except for removal of northern long-eared bats from human structures, and when necessary to protect human health and safety.

Schienebeck says a few more details need to be found out about the new rule. He says lawsuits about the ruling also are a factor and that,too, is in wait and see mode.

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