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Don’t Wing Your Environmental Stewardship: Helping the Northern Long-Eared Bat Hang in There

March 3, 2023

Don’t Wing Your Environmental Stewardship: Helping the Northern Long-Eared Bat Hang in There

Photo credit: Al Hicks/New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

What federally endangered bat species can be found in 37 states and eight provinces in North America? If you guessed the northern long-eared bat, you’re correct.

In November 2022, the species was reclassified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), “The bat, listed as threatened in 2015, now faces extinction due to the range-wide impacts of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease affecting hibernating bats across North America.” The updated classification took effect on Jan. 30, 2023.

The FWS also notes, “Bats are critical to healthy, functioning natural areas and contribute at least $3 billion annually to the U.S. agriculture economy through pest control and pollination.” During the warmer months, these species tend to live alone or in small colonies “underneath bark or in cavities or crevices of both live and dead trees,” and will emerge at dusk to fly along forested areas.

As utilities and associated organizations are being called upon by stakeholders and the public alike more than ever to explain their environmental stewardship efforts throughout their territories, it’s important to know and understand what species inhabit those spaces.

Environmental stewardship is more than a trend — it’s here to stay. Our Research, Science & Innovation (RSI) team is dedicated to strengthening environmental stewardship across the industry through education, collaboration, technology, and business development — including BIOaudit™ assessments.

These assessments can promote conservation and engagement in sustainable practices that support rare, threatened, and endangered species such as bees and bats.

As you inspect utilities and organizations’ surrounding vegetation, what are you doing to protect endangered species like the northern long-eared bat?

ACRT Staff

ACRT is the largest independent utility consulting company in the U.S. and empowers utilities to proactively manage vegetation across their entire rights-of-way. We consistently stay on top of and share relevant industry content with our employees and customers around the country.