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Bat Habitat Conservation Plan
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 reclassified as federally threatened or endangered in the future.
Lake States Bat Habitat Conservation Plan
The Michigan DNR worked with the Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop the Lake States Forest Management Bat Habitat Conservation Plan, or Bat Habitat Conservation Plan for four bat species, the Indiana Bat, northern long-eared bat, little brown bat and tricolored bat. This plan describes potential impacts of forest management on bats, objectives to offset forest management impacts on bats, and sets a compliance strategy for forest management activities performed as land administrators.
A Habitat Conservation Plan is required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of an application for an Incidental Take Permit, which the Michigan DNR has received. An Incidental Take Permit ensures forest management activities in endangered bat habitat can continue without additional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service consultation.
Landowner information and next steps
The Bat Habitat Conservation Plan and Incidental Take Permit for Michigan are in place for the four covered bat species. Through the Incidental Take Permit, the DNR can extend take authorization to eligible nonfederal landowners through a Landowner Enrollment Program to have their forest lands covered by the Bat Habitat Conservation Plan. The DNR is currently developing a program to begin making the Landowner Enrollment Program available for landowners.
Landowners also have the option to develop their own Habitat Conservation Plan or other Endangered Species Act compliance strategy through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, if desired.
Interim tools and voluntary guidance for the northern long-eared bat
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March released interim tools and guidance to help stakeholders transition to the reclassification of the northern long-eared bat from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Guidance includes an interim Section 7 Consultation framework, a determination key, interim guidance for wind energy operations and interim guidance for habitat modification. Refer to the federal northern long-eared bat website for these resources.