The northern long-eared bat (NLEB) is now on the federal endangered species list. This impacts forestry activities in Virginia. As an endangered species, there is no allowance for harming them, which includes harm resulting from modifying their habitat. Conducting typical forest management activities during restricted times of the year in locations where bats have been identified could result in conflicts with the Endangered Species Act.
NLEBs overwinter mostly in caves and spend summers in forests. Southeast Virginia has a year-round population. NLEBs were listed as Threatened in 2015 but are now listed as Endangered as of March 31, 2023. Populations are collapsing due to fungus in caves. This endangered classification escalates protection and is no longer seen as incidental in relation to forestry.
Guidance related to NLEB is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and DOF are working together to provide information related to forestry activities.
As related to forestry activities:
- Anyone conducting forestry activities that have a federal nexus is required to follow guidelines to help ensure they don’t harm any bats.
- For anyone executing forestry activities that don’t have a federal nexus, the USFWS guidance is voluntary. However, even unintentional harm to bats could violate the Endangered Species Act.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northern Long-Eared Bat
- Range-wide Indiana Bat and Northern Long-eared Bat Survey Guidelines
- Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Northern Long-Eared Bat
- Northern Long-Eared Bat Map Application
- NLEB Map
|Northern Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)|
Virginia DWR information sheet provides information about the endangered northern long-eared bat.
|Northern Long-Eared Bat Forestry Guidance|
State Forester presentation of general information about the northern long-eared bat and the impact on forestry activities from the Virginia Forestry Summit (April 27, 2023).