Hey, I still look at and occasionally post on Cave Chat, and jeez, one even finds nice comments about oneself! Thanks, Ernie and Beerlover. The next cold one's on me, whenever I see you!
WNS is still an issue, the latest news from Washington State a clear case in point. It's an odd find, for sure. While the Center for Biological Diversity's Mollie Matteson does her typical premature jumping to conclusions, the actual scientists are testing the bat and fungus genetically to see if it's a subspecies (or maybe a transplant) of the Little Brown bat (typical in the Northwest), and to see if the fungus is the eastern U.S. type or the asian version.
Some good info on Washington State Little Brown bats in this 2013 article. Largest known maternity roost is @ 1000 Little browns (plus @2000 of the related Yuma myotis, which some researchers call the same species).
However, winter hibernacula are virtually unknown, with roosts cited in the article as solitary bats or very small groupings.https://www.eopugetsound.org/articles/little-brown-myotis-myotis-lucifugus
Re: decon (technically, cleaning and disinfecting), the preferred method is the hot water (122 degrees F, 50C, for 20 minutes). The chemical versions still work, of course, but the USFWS ran afoul of another federal agency back in 2012 by promoting an off label use for those chemicals, a no-no under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Pesticide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). USFWS, of course, had this out there for several years before the other federal agency took note.
Caver compliance with the decon protocols has been decidedly mixed, but the fact is that permission to visit most caves on federal lands, and many state lands, requires compliance.
The protocols are extremely effective, killing up to 50,000 spores when far less are typically present (see Hazel Barton's research). My own personal opinion, stated frequently on these pages and elsewhere, is that, as a practical matter, deconning in the WNS-saturated zone does nothing to prevent the spread of WNS, which has pretty much run its course. Further, in non-WNS areas, if it's local cavers caving locally, and never having been to a WNS area, there is zero chance of spreading the disease, as it's not present. However, the recent finding in Washington State changes things, especially in that area. Expect state and federal agencies to err on the side of abundant caution and require decon, probably within a 200 mile radius or something similar.
I've also been told that Seattle grotto members are working with the state wildlife agency to help with surveillance in response to the finding. I'm sure any and all assistance would be appreciated.