Proposed Indiana Bat Survey Protocols

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Proposed Indiana Bat Survey Protocols

Postby PYoungbaer » Jan 13, 2013 9:59 am

After a year of discussion and feedback, the following was just posted in the Federal Register. It was reviewed this week at the Northeast Bat Working Group meeting amid a fair amount of controversy. Public Comment period is open for one month. These protocols are intended to be used to establish presence/absence of federally-endangered Indiana bats. If present, developers, forestry operations, mining operations, transportation projects, energy projects, etc. would be subject to "take" and mitigation requirements. From the presentations I saw on the technology, a major issue is the inability of the technology to discern between a Little Brown bat's calls and an Indiana bat's calls, which many feared could lead to many false positives, and ultimately potentially backlash against the Endangered Species Act. It was a rather candid and heated discussion - quite interesting to see this evolve over the past year. Again, public comments are welcome for the next month (until Feb. 8).

Dear Interested Parties,

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is inviting input on draft guidelines and protocols for determining whether endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) are present or likely absent at a given site during the summer, from May 15 to August 15. Deadline for comments is February 8, 2013.
The draft guidance, which includes habitat assessments, as well as acoustic, mist-net, radio-tracking, and emergence surveys, is intended to standardize survey procedures throughout the range of the Indiana bat, enhance detection and capture of bats, and provide conservation partners, project proponents and the Service with important data for conservation and recovery efforts and regulatory compliance. The Service is also seeking comment on proposed criteria for testing the accuracy and suitability of available automated acoustic bat identification software programs and a proposed contingency plan for the 2013 summer survey season.

The draft guidelines were prepared by representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service; U.S. Department of Defense’s Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Department of the Interior’s Geological Survey and USFWS; Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The Indiana bat is federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Indiana bat, an endangered species, was listed in 1967 due to episodes of people disturbing hibernating bats in caves during winter and killing large numbers of bats. Indiana bats are vulnerable to disturbance because they hibernate in large numbers in only a few caves and mines (the largest hibernation caves support from 20,000 to 50,000 bats). Other threats that have contributed to the Indiana bat's decline include commercialization of caves, loss of summer habitat, pesticides and other contaminants, and most recently, the devastating disease white-nose syndrome.

Indiana bats occur over most of the eastern half of the United States. Almost half of them hibernate in caves in southern Indiana. The 2011 rangewide population estimate was about 425,000 Indiana bats, less than half as many bats as when the species was listed as endangered in 1967.

The draft survey guidelines are available at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Endangered/m ... dance.html. The document is also available by request, by U.S. mail from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services Field Office, 620 South Walker Street, Bloomington, IN 47403–2121; or by phone at 812–334–4261, x1216. You may submit your comments in writing by any one of the following methods:

U.S. mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 620 South Walker Street, Bloomington, IN 47403–2121;
Hand-delivery: Field Supervisor at the above U.S. mail address;
E-mail: indiana_bat@fws.gov; or
Fax: 812–334–4273. Include “Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidelines” in the subject line of the facsimile transmittal.

News Release
http://www.fws.gov/midwest/News/release.cfm?rid=611

Federal Register Announcement
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-01 ... -00213.pdf

Draft Summer Survey Guidelines and Related Documents
http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Endangered/m ... dance.html


Mike, Andy, and Robyn

--
********************************************************************
Robyn A. Niver
Endangered Species Biologist
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
New York Field Office
3817 Luker Rd.
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 753-9334 (voice)
(607) 753-9699 (fax)
PYoungbaer
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Re: Proposed Indiana Bat Survey Protocols

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 15, 2013 8:24 pm

Geeze. I smell a Pruitt.....inside joke.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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