DNR Invites Public to Participate in Bat Habitat Conservation Efforts

Cave-dwelling bat populations in Wisconsin are rapidly declining due to a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.  Some species may soon be listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In preparation for this listing, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is teaming up with the Michigan and Minnesota DNRs to develop a large-scale Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The purpose of this HCP is to obtain a federal incidental take permit under ESA section 10 requesting authorization for the incidental take of bats during forest management activities. The goal of this project is the protection of federally endangered bat species and the continuation of forest management activities in the Lake States.

The DNR will use the HCP to help guide forest management activities on DNR-administered land. County, municipal and private land owners may also decide to participate in the plan, as a way to continue forest management activities while remaining in compliance with the ESA.

You will have opportunities to comment on the contents of the HCP during its development. The HCP will address the costs and benefits of forest management for bats, and the conservation measures that will be used to offset forest management impacts on bats.

Please consider participating in one of the following ways:

Visit the HCP Website to learn more about the Lakes States Forest Management Bat Habitat Conservation Plan. Discover opportunities for involvement and sign up for updates and notifications on the status of the HCP by visiting http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestPlanning/hcp/bats.html.

View the HCP Introductory Video. To provide some initial background, the DNR has developed an online video that is available for viewing on the website: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestPlanning/hcp/bats.html.

If you will need an accommodation to view the video, email DNRNHCForestBatHCP@wisconsin.gov or call 1-888-936-7463 at your earliest convenience.

Send us your questions. Once you’ve viewed the introductory video, please submit any questions or comments you have to DNRNHCForestBatHCP@wisconsin.gov. We will answer them in a follow-up webinar, which will be hosted in September.