Restrictions Loosened Regarding Long-Eared Bat
Last week the National Fish and Wildlife Service determined that it’s “not prudent” to designate any “critical habitat” within the 32-state range of the endangered northern long-eared bat. The decision brings an end to the latest chapter of the fight to save the bat, which has been decimated by reasons having nothing to do with land development and everything to do with the spread of a disease called white-nose syndrome in their typical nesting and breeding grounds. Previously, the listing of the bats as a threatened species meant restricting the removal of trees of certain sizes and diameters between mid-April and mid-September, which is the bats’ migration season. For obvious reasons, this action would have drastically affected developers and home builders, who cannot afford to wait until October for the bat to begin hibernating before starting the process of tree removal.
It is important for NAHB members to remember the bat is still a federally protected species under the Endangered Species Act. That means developers and builders cannot undertake otherwise lawful activities if the Service determines that a proposed project may result in the intentional injury, harm or death of a bat.
To read more about this change in policy click here.