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Bat Habitat Conservation Plan

Four fuzzy bats in a row cling to a cave ceiling

Bats are in trouble, forest landowners can help

Bat populations are declining due to white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease. The Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat are federally endangered, and other cave-dwelling bat species may be classified as federally threatened or endangered in the future.

Forest landowners should check to see if they need to take action to protect bats prior to starting forest management activities.

Lake States Bat Habitat Conservation Plan

The Endangered Species Act prohibits direct harm to species listed as endangered.

While some forest management activities can sustain and improve bat habitat, others can harm bats. An Incidental Take Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to conduct activities that could harm or kill bats.

The Michigan DNR worked with the Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs to prepare the Lake States Bat Habitat Management Plan. This plan lays out information needed to obtain an Incidental Take Permit. The Habitat Conservation Plan identifies how harm to bats during forestry activities will be avoided or minimized using proposed conservation measures. The Incidental Take Permit will allow for forest management activities such as timber harvesting, tree planting and prescribed burning to take place when measures are used to protect bats.

Landowners may voluntarily seek inclusion under the Michigan DNR’s Incidental Take Permit through the Bat Habitat Conservation Plan Landowner Enrollment Program to conduct forest management activities on their lands.

Forest landowners: How to determine whether to enroll

Landowners with 10,000 or more acres who intend to conduct forest management activities and those with ownerships of any size near important bat habitat features (see map below) will be eligible to apply to the Bat Habitat Conservation Plan Landowner Enrollment Program. If you need assistance interpreting the map, contact DNR-GIS@Michigan.gov.

Forest management activities include harvesting and planting trees and the use of prescribed fire. Bat habitat features include roost trees or hibernation sites, usually caves or mines, called hibernacula.

If you can answer "yes" to one or more of the following criteria, contact Keith Kintigh to learn about enrolling in the Bat HCP Landowner Enrollment Program.

A machine is used to pick up cut timber in the forest

Those who plan to conduct forest management activities and own 10,000 acres or more of land.

Map of bat areas

Known bat areas map

Those who own forest lands of any size within known bat habitat areas, viewable on the map.

More information

Contact

For more information from the DNR on the Lake States Bat Habitat Conservation Plan or voluntary landowner opportunities through the Bat HCP Landowner Enrollment Program, email DNR-BatHCP@Michigan.gov.