Final 4(d) Rule Issued for Federally Threatened Northern Long-Eared Bat

February 23 2016

Northern long-eared batWondering what the Final 4(d) Rule for the federally threatened northern long-eared bat (NLEB) means for your project? Here’s the breakdown:

The NLEB Final 4(d) Rule went in to effect February 16, 2016. See if your project area is within the white-nose syndrome (WNS) zone using the map and spreadsheet; check the USFWS NLEB page for updates and more info. All of VA and most of NC is within the WNS zone. If your project is within the WNS zone and if NLEB appears on your Official Species List, the following process applies to your project, particularly if the project will include tree removal and/or alteration of caves or mines where NLEB hibernates.  

Non-Federal Actions:

  • Determine if your project within ¼ mile of a cave or mine where NLEB hibernates (i.e., known hibernaculum) or within 150 feet of known occupied maternity roost trees. Use the VDGIF map for VA projects, coordinate with the NC Natural Heritage Program and the USFWS NC Field Office for NC projects, or corresponding sites for other states.
    • No: No further USFWS coordination required for NLEB.
    • Yes: If your project intersects one of the NLEB habitat polygons, conclude “May affect” and submit to USFWS for further review.

Federal Actions:

  • If your project is within the NLEB locations identified in your state Conclude “May affect” and submit the project to USFWS for further review
  • If your project is outside the identified NLEB locations, Federal projects have the following options:
    • Implement a time-of-year restriction for tree clearing during the active season (April 15 – September 15 in VA; April 1 to October 31 in NC) Submit a Self-Certification Letter with “No Effect” determination
    • Conduct a survey following USFWS summer survey guidelines. If negative results (NLEB absent): Submit a Self-Certification Letter to USFWS along with survey results with “Not likely to adversely affect (NLAA)” determination.