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NSS Sends Letter to Feds to Change WNS Policies

PostPosted: Apr 5, 2018 12:05 pm
by PYoungbaer
On February 15, the NSS sent a letter to the U.S. Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture, asking them to revisit their WNS policies on cave closures and decon. Citing the fact that over ten years into the WNS phenomenon, efforts to cure or stop the spread of the disease have not worked. In fact, the blanket cave closures and ending of cooperative arrangements has proven counterproductive to both cave and bat conservation. The letter was jointly penned by NSS President Geary Schindel, NSS Chair of the Directorate Peter Youngbaer, and Dr. Merlin D. Tuttle, Founder and Executive Director of Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation. Read the full text of the letter here:

Re: NSS Sends Letter to Feds to Change WNS Policies

PostPosted: Apr 8, 2018 4:37 pm
by Steve_S
That letter is perfectly written, and in my opinion a few years overdue. Hopefully they take it into consideration and change the policy.

Re: NSS Sends Letter to Feds to Change WNS Policies

PostPosted: Apr 12, 2018 8:18 am
by PYoungbaer
Thanks, Steve, but we need more than hope. The following contact information for reaching one's Senators and Representatives was also published in the NSS News and should be appearing on social media shortly:

The NSS' letter to Secretaries Zinke and Perdue will have more impact if the Secretaries also hear from Senators and Representatives that they would like to see them address the WNS cave closure policies. If you, as NSS members, contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to contact the Secretaries and support the NSS' letter, that will help greatly. Cabinet officials prioritize responses to those politicians currently in office, so your asking your congressional delegation to support the NSS' letter will make this effort stronger. Thank you.

How to contact your U.S. Senators: ... rs_cfm.cfm

How to contact your U.S. Representatives:

As you know, the NSS has been intimately involved with the discovery and response to WNS since its arrival. We led in getting critical early research funded and carried out, and have assisted in many related efforts along the way. It has been a struggle on many levels, straining relationships in some cases, but all with the goals of cave and bat conservation foremost in mind.

At the 2016 NSS Convention in Ely, Nevada, the NSS Board of Governors adopted the following statement:

"The National Speleological Society supports recent published statements by Merlin D. Tuttle, Ph.D., entitled “White-Nose Syndrome: Origin, Impact and Management” (May 1, 2016) and “A Turning Point in Saving Bats from WNS” (June 7, 2016). Dr. Tuttle recommends focusing resources on helping survivors of WNS rebuild resistant populations and also protection from disturbance, especially during hibernation. Future research should “First, do no harm” and be minimally invasive. Emphasis should be on electronic monitoring in summer habitats to evaluate efficacy of conservation activities and to credibly support threatened and endangered listings. Cooperation with local, regional and national agencies to fully evaluate cave closure status should be an ongoing effort and, where possible, access to caves should be restored. Cavers are a critical resource to evaluating the health of bat populations and should be more fully utilized."

At the 2017 NSS Convention in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, those of us in attendance were inspired by Merlin Tuttle's keynote address during the Friday Awards Banquet, calling for a change in the policies and a renewing of the strong relationship with the organized caving community - which has proven time and again to be critical to cave and bat conservation and the protection and enjoyment of natural resources, both private and public.

We hope the letter and follow up action will be the next step in accomplishing exactly that. YOU are the follow up action. Thank you.

Re: NSS Sends Letter to Feds to Change WNS Policies

PostPosted: Apr 12, 2018 9:21 am
by ohiocaver
Notes sent to both Ohio Senators and my Rep. Let's get caves open again! :clap: :kewl: