Northern long-eared bat (photo courtesy USDA Forest Service)
(by Jeremy Caggiano, chair of the Science & Technology committee)
The impact Indiana bat has had on forest land management is significant. In light of the possibility that Northern Long-eared Bat (NLEB) may be listed to the Endangered Species Act, there is an increased interest among foresters and other conservation professionals in becoming qualified to conduct winter and summer bat surveys. Having the ability to independently and properly conduct a bat survey could enable treatment of declining forest stands, expedite implementation of timeframes, as well as reduce preparatory logistical challenges and costs incurred by private forestland owners.
Furthermore, it is important to note that based on existing literature, forestry doesn’t constitute an additional stress to NLEB. Instead, responsibly executed silviculture can result in improved maternal roosting and foraging habitat. If NJ Approved Consulting Foresters had the tools and training, they would be able to efficiently determine the presence or probable absence of these bats. Equipped with this knowledge the forester would be able proceed with management as planned or properly mitigate the risk associated with the incidental take of Indiana and Northern Long-eared bats.
To date, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) doesn’t train or certify bat surveyors but they do maintain a list of qualified individuals. Depending on intent, surveyors may subsequently be required to obtain a State Scientific Collecting Permit from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife as well as other permits, licenses, or authorizations required by federal and local authorities. The qualifications these individuals have obtained are also applicable to surveying for NLEB as long as the surveyors are able to identify suitable NLEB habitat and correctly differentiate NLEB from similar bat species.
Bat Conservation Incorporated currently offers bat workshops and training courses: http://www.batmanagement.com/Programs/programcentral.html