U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Extends Comment Period On Proposal To List The Northern Long-Eared Bat As Endangered

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending the deadline for public comment on the proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  The extension notice is expected to publish in the Federal Register early next week and will extend the public comment period to Jan. 2, 2014.

The northern long-eared bat is found across much of the eastern and north central United States, and all Canadian provinces from the Atlantic Ocean west to the southern Yukon Territory and eastern British Columbia.

The Service’s proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered appeared in the October 2, 2013, Federal Register.  The proposal opened a 60-day public comment period that would have ended on Dec. 2. The Service will be extending the time for public comment an additional 30 days, with the comment period ending Jan. 2, 2014.

The primary threat to the northern long-eared bat is a disease, white-nose syndrome, which has killed an estimated 5.5 million cave-hibernating bats in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Canada. Populations of the northern long-eared bat in the Northeast have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of white-nose syndrome were first observed in 2006.

White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease known to cause high mortality in bats that hibernate in caves. The fungus causing the disease thrives in low temperatures and high humidity – conditions commonly found in caves and mines where northern long-eared bats hibernate.

White-nose syndrome has spread rapidly throughout the East and is currently establishing a foothold in the Midwest. Although there is debate as to how fast white-nose syndrome may spread throughout the species’ range, current model predictions suggest it will likely spread throughout the United States.

Under the Endangered Species Act, an endangered plant or animal is one that is in danger of becoming extinct. If a final decision is made to list the northern long-eared bat, the species will be protected from take – harming, harassing, killing – and federal agencies will work to conserve the bat and its habitat as they fund, authorize or carry out activities. In addition, a recovery plan will be developed for the species.

Before the emergence of white-nose syndrome, the northern long-eared bat was found in 39 states, including the District of Columbia, with higher abundance in the East and becoming increasingly rare moving west. Other threats to the species include wind energy development, habitat destruction or disturbance to hibernating and summer habitat, climate change, and contaminants. The Service is working with the wind energy industry to address impacts to imperiled bats.

The Service is looking for comments on the proposal to list the northern long-eared bat.

You may submit comments by one of the following methods; comments must be received by Jan. 2, 2014.

(1) Electronically at http://www.regulations.gov .

In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024, which is the docket number for the rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Send a Comment or Submission.” If your comments will fit in the provided comment box, please use this feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as it is most compatible with our comment review procedures. If you attach your comments as a separate document, our preferred file format is Microsoft Word. If you attach multiple comments (such as form letters), our preferred format is a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel; or

(2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to:

Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024

Division of Policy and Directives Management

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM

Arlington, VA 22203

The Service requests that you send comments only by the methods described above. The Service will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that the Service will post any personal information you provide. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 2, 2014.

For more information on the proposal to list the northern long-eared bat and other endangered species information, go to http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/mammals/nlba/index.html

For more information about white-nose syndrome visit www.whitenosesyndrome.org.

Conservation Reserve Program Sign-Up To be Held Dec. 1-Feb. 26

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has been informed that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up will be held Dec. 1, through Feb. 26, 2016.  Through the program’s various targeted continuous CRP practices, the general and continuous program offerings will provide a much-needed habitat boost to recovering ... (click for more)

Alexander Votes To Expand And Protect Hunting And Fishing Opportunities On Federal Land

Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday voted for the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, which expands and protects sporting and recreation access to federal lands and reauthorizes important federal conservation programs. He said, “Nearly 900,000 Tennesseans and visitors with hunting and fishing licenses know Tennessee has some of the best land, lakes, and rivers in the country. ... (click for more)

Monica McMillon, 37, Shot And Killed In Alton Park On Tuesday Night

Monica McMillon, 37, was shot and killed in Alton Park on Tuesday night. The Chattanooga Police responded to the 3800 block of Highland Ave. on the report of a shooting. Once on scene police located one victim inside a residence. She  was struck by gunfire and  succumbed to her injuries on scene.   No suspect information is available at ... (click for more)

Judge Denies Motion By Walker County To Delay Closing Of Hutcheson Hospital

A bankruptcy judge in Atlanta on Tuesday denied a motion by Walker County, Ga., is asking a delay in closing Hutcheson Medical Center and laying off employees. Judge Paul Bonapfel said he appreciated the position of Walker County, but he said he would not interfere with the business decision made by the trustees appointed to operate the Fort Oglethorpe hospital. He also said ... (click for more)

A Thankful List

David Jeremiah said it best, that we have a tendency to concentrate on the things we don’t have rather than what God has already blessed us with.  Perhaps, he said, it is because there is not enough parchment available in this world to record all God’s bountiful blessings should we try to list them. This Thanksgiving let us gather our family close to us, whisper a prayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote DesJarlais Out!

There are two good bills in both the Senate and the House of Representatives right now that are directly aimed at the sadistic villains who derive some sick pleasure out of torturing helpless Tennessee Walking Horses. They call it “soring,” where caustic materials are lathered into a horse’s forelegs and then wrapped in plastic so they’ll cook. Sometimes they use nails or screws ... (click for more)