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All cave-hibernating bats are in decline due to the fungal disease white-nose syndrome. It is likely that four bat species will be listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are currently developing the Lake States Forest Management Bat Habitat Conservation Plan (Lake States HCP). Developing an HCP is complex and time-consuming. Once approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, states can apply for a federal permit. The permit would allow the incidental take of Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats, little brown bats, and tricolored bats during normal forest management activities across the three states.

Draft Plan 

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the Lake States HCP.

Chapter 2 goes into detail describing the covered lands and covered activities that will be a part of the HCP.

Chapter 3 provides background information for each state.

Chapter 4 addresses the potential effects of covered activities on covered species and describes the amount of take of covered bat species in the Lake States HCP.

Chapter 5 contains measures to avoid and minimize impacts on individual bats and important habitat features, such as caves and roost trees, potentially resulting from the covered activities. In addition, the conservation strategy proposes a suite of mitigation activities. Collectively, these conservation measures further avoid the already low impacts on covered bat species and fully offset any remaining impacts.

Appendix E provides information on the habitat features that comprise high-quality habitat for the covered bat species.

Chapter 6 describes the implementation framework of the Lake States HCP, including the organizational structure, agencies’ roles and responsibilities, and the assurances requested by the DNRs through permit coverage.

Appendix F provides a description of the Landowner Enrollment Program under the Lake States HCP including an overview, components of the program, and the methodology used to establish criteria for enrollment in the program.

Chapter 7 outlines the estimated costs to implement the Lake States HCP over the proposed 50-year permit term and provides assurances that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will pay for those costs.

Chapter 8 discusses alternatives that were considered but not selected as well as the reasons those alternatives were not selected for analysis. The choice of a preferred alternative represents the best attempt to reduce significant impacts on the four covered bat species while allowing forest management activities.