Forest Service proposes loosening protections for endangered Indiana bats

Note Ripped Edge Bottom Raw@4x

Indiana bat colony in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Rockcastle county
The Daniel Boone National Forest has proposed to amend the forest’s 2004 management plan with respect to the federally endangered Indiana bat. The Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) was first listed as an endangered species in 1967, and has been in decline ever since. Since 2006, the spread of the disease White Nose Syndrome (WNS) has caused remaining populations of Indiana bats (as well as other species of bats) to crash. 

Some of the Forest Service’s proposed changes simply align terms and criteria with those currently in use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. However, the Forest Service is also proposing to loosen several protective standards that limit timber harvest near maternity colonies of both Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis). Northern long-eared bats are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act on account of catastrophic declines from WNS.

One of the reasons provided by the Forest Service of the need for change is that logging restrictions near maternity colonies during the summer roosting season mean that more logging has to take place during the wetter winter months. But over last decade, several aquatic species have been listed as threatened or endangered, meaning that sedimentation of streams from logging has to be taken more seriously. For example, the Forest Service just proposed around 3,000 acres of intensive logging on steep slopes in the Redbird District in designated Critical Habitat for the Kentucky Arrow Darter, which was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2015. The Redbird District includes most of the remaining habitat for this species. We’ll post more about the South Redbird Project in the near future.

The bottom line is that the only changes the Forest Service should be making with respect to Indiana and northern long-eared bats are those that are demonstrably protective and support their populations. These important, imperiled species cannot afford the loss of a single maternity colony – especially to facilitate logging on our public lands.

For now, the Forest Service is accepting comments on their proposal until Monday, March 26th. The agency will likely prepare an Environmental Assessment sometime in the near future.

Links to project documents can be found on our website here, and the Daniel Boone National Forest website here.

Here is a link to the page on the Daniel Boone National Forest website where the public can comment on this proposalComments are due by 3/26/2018.

Comments can be emailed to:

Or sent by postal mail to:

Dan Olsen, Forest Supervisor
Daniel Boone National Forest
1700 Bypass Road
Winchester, Kentucky 40391

Please state “Plan Amendment” in the subject line when providing electronic comments, or on the envelope when replying by mail. 

Here is where you can read comments that have been submitted by the public.

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