White-Nose Syndrome Grants to States and Tribes
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is pleased to announce the availability of financial assistance to wildlife and natural resource management agencies of states, the District of Columbia, and federally-recognized Native American Tribes for efforts related directly to the management of white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease of bats. State Agencies and Tribal natural resource or environmental management programs are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. The most competitive proposals will present actionable plans to manage WNS and bat species that are affected or potentially vulnerable to the disease. WNS is confirmed in at least 12 bat species, including three that are federally listed as threatened or endangered. The northern long-eared bat was listed as Threatened primarily due to impacts of WNS. Concern over population declines resulting from WNS led the Service to schedule status assessments for two additional bat species: little brown bat and tricolored bat. The work funded through the WNS Grants to States and Tribes is expected to assist partners in their efforts to combat the disease and conserve affected species. In addition, the projects funded will provide information that strengthens the scientific information needed to support decisions under the Endangered Species Act. Since 2008, funding through the WNS Grants to States has led to critical information and resources for maximizing the benefits of bat conservation efforts by States. In 2019, this funding opportunity was extended to Tribes engaged in, or seeking to engage in, bat management and conservation efforts. Although WNS has decimated several species of bats in North America, efforts taken with the support of funding from the Service’s WNS program have helped the management community to focus efforts where there is the greatest need and benefit. Through the advances made in understanding WNS over the past decade, we now have multiple tools that management agencies can consider when developing and implementing strategies to combat WNS. In this way, these grants support the actions of States and Tribes working to conserve bats in the United States.