U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final 4(d) rule and updates to critical habitat

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) final 4(d) rule, which identifies Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the northern long-eared bat, went into effect on February 16, 2016. The northern long-eared bat has been protected as a threatened species under the ESA since April 2015 and this rule identifies prohibited activities in an effort to protect the bat’s sensitive life stages in areas affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS).

On April 25, 2016, the FWS announced that a determination was made that a critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat under the ESA was not prudent. When this species was listed as threatened under the ESA in 2015, it was determined that a critical habitat was practical, but not determinable. With additional information and a more in-depth analysis, that determination was re-evaluated and found that designating critical habitat would not benefit the species. To read the full press release, click here.

For more information about the northern long-eared bat and the determination on critical habitat, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s website at www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/nleb.  For more information about white-nose syndrome visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org.