Smaller text size Reset text size Larger text size
skip navigation
Air Rail Highway Bike/Ped Public Transit
Project Development > Environment > Northern Long Eared Bat
Northern Long Eared Bat (NLEB)

Northern Long Eared Bat (NLEB)

The NLEB is a medium sized brown bat that hibernates during the winter and forages and roosts in upland forest habitat during the summer. The NLEB has longer ears than the other bats in the Myotis genus and eats insects like moths, flies, beetles, and caddisflies. The NLEB forage primarily through the understory of forested areas and catch insects, both while in flight using echolocation and by gleaning motionless insects from vegetation. 

White-nose Syndrome

The NLEB and some other hibernating bat species, have experienced recent rapid population declines. The bats are dying because of a disease called White-nose Syndrome. NLEB hibernate during the winter months in small groups in caves and mines with constant temperatures, high humidity, and no air currents. White-nose Syndrome infects bats during hibernation and is caused by a fungus. Bats with White-nose Syndrome use up energy stores essential for surviving the winter, which results in strange behavior. In some cases bats have been observed to leave their hibernacula too early and perish. Scientists have found 90 to 100 percent declines in bat populations at some hibernacula in the northeast during winter surveys.

Northern Long Eared Bat Listed as a Threatened Species

Under the federal Endangered Species Act the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has listed the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species. Threatened species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. The goal of the Endangered Species Act is to recover and conserve species that are in danger until the species has recovered and no longer requires the protection of the law. Though the species decline is attributed to White-nose Syndrome, now that the bat is listed as threatened, all actions that may affect the bat need to be considered and reviewed. Along with the listing the USFWS has developed a 4(d) rule.

Reviewing Projects for Impacts to NLEB

No Effect Determinations

If a proposed action will have no effect, the USFWS does not have to be notified. Projects entirely outside the range of the NLEB, or projects with no suitable habitat within the project area (high-density urban areas or non-forested areas) will result in “no effect”. Projects with No Effect include activities conducted completely within existing road/rail surface and do not involve percussive or other activities that increase noise above existing traffic/background levels (blasting and use of pile drivers, rock drills, or hoe rams), maintenance, alteration, or demolition of bridges/structures if the results of a bridge assessment indicates no signs of bats, and activities that do not involve construction, such as bridge assessments, property inspections, development of planning and technical studies, property sales, property easements, and equipment purchases. For these projects document the determination of No Effect.

Protecting Vital NLEB Habitat Areas

Consult the NH Natural Heritage Bureau and the NH Fish and Game Department to determine the proximity of known maternity roost trees and known hibernacula to the project site. These areas are essential to the NLEB at sensitive points in the bat’s life cycle and are afforded additional protection by the 4(d) Rule and the USFWS, FRA, FTA, and FHWA Range-wide Programmatic Consultation for Indiana Bat and Northern Long-Eared Bat.

For Projects with FHWA Involvement/Funding

USFWS, FRA, FTA, and FHWA have standardized their approach to assessing impacts to northern long-eared bats from highway construction and expansion projects; then avoiding, minimizing and mitigating those impacts where possible. This conference is documented in the Range-wide Programmatic Consultation for Indiana Bat and Northern Long-Eared Bat.

Programmatic Biological Opinion for Transportation Projects in the Range of the Indiana Bat and Northern Long-Eared Bat

Review the User's Guide to determine if the project is within the scope of the Programmatic Biological Opinion for Transportation Projects in the Range of the Indiana Bat and Northern Long-Eared Bat. The location of proposed tree clearing will need to assessed against known locations of NLEB hibernacula and maternity roost trees. Generally the Programmatic Consultation applies to projects that are less than 5 miles long and less than 20 acres in size, more than 0.5 mile from a hibernaculum, more than 0.25 miles from roost sites, and within 300 feet of the road or rail surface. Refer to the User’s Guide for a more detailed description of the requirements for projects reviewed in accordance with the Programmatic Biological Opinion for Transportation Projects in the Range of the Indiana Bat and Northern Long-Eared Bat.

User's Guide

The FHWA, FRA, & FTA Programmatic Consultation can be used for actions that may affect, but are not likely to adversely affect (NLAA) NLEBs, as well as, some actions that may affect, are likely to adversely (LAA) affect NLEB. If applicable, obtain an Official Species List from the USFWS Information for Planning and Conservation site and enter project detials into the NLEB Determination Key in IPaC.

IPaC Information for Planning and Conservation

IPaC has recently been updated to include a Determination Key for projects that conform to the FHWA Range-wide Programmatic Consultation for Indiana Bat and Northern Long-Eared Bat. To use this key, first create or login to your IPaC account and create a project with the project description and location. The Determination Key in IPaC will lead users through a series of questions to determine the applicability of the Determination Key to the project and, where applicable, to determine the appropriate anticipated impact of the project on NLEB. Please refer to the IPaC Determination Key Guide for instructions.

At this time, USFWS is also accepting the paper format for project submittal forms. If the Determination Key for NLEB is not utilized to determine if the project conforms to the FHWA Range-wide Programmatic Consultation for Indiana Bat and Northern Long-Eared Bat, use the consultation code from the Official Species list along with project details to complete the project submittal form (Appendix B) and supply the form to NH DOT. NH DOT will send it to the USFWS Concord Field Office. If the project is Likely to Adversely Affect (LAA) NLEB, the project cannot begin until a response confirming the determination is received from USFWS, this typically takes 30 days. Projects that propose clearing during the NLEB’s active season are one type of project that is LAA NLEB.

Avoidance and Mitigation Measures

The Range-wide Programmatic Consultation for Indiana Bat and Northern Long-eared Bat are described in (Appendix C) of the User’s Guide. For projects to be covered by the Programmatic Biological Opinion (BO), specific avoidance and minimization measures (AMMs) must be implemented where applicable. AMMs, if adopted under appropriate circumstances, are expected to reduce the potential impacts of the proposed action on both bat species.

Project Submittal Form

If the project does not have FHWA involvement or is not within the scope of the Range-wide Programmatic Consultation for Indiana Bat and Northern Long-eared Bat:

The Northern Long Eared Bat 4(d) Rule

The 4(d) rule lists prohibitions that focus on protecting the bat when it is most sensitive and allows certain activities that would otherwise be prohibited by the Endangered Species Act. Please refer to the details included in the Optional Framework to Streamline Section 7 Consultation for the Northern Long-Eared Bat for a more detailed explanation of application of the 4(d) rule and recommended conservation measures.

For Non-Federal Actions, review the Key to the Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule for Non-Federal Activities

Key to the Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule for Non-Federal Activities

For Federal Actions, review the Key to the Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule for Federal Actions that May Affect Northern Long-Eared Bats:

Key to the Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule for Federal Actions that May Affect Northern Long-Eared Bats

If applicable, more than 30 days in advance of funding, authorizing, or carrying out an action, supply the Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule Streamlined Consultation Form to the NH DOT. For FHWA projects, NH DOT will submit the form to the USFWS New England Field Office. For projects with U.S. Army Coprs of Engineers (USACE) as the lead Federal Agency, NH DOT will supply the form to USACE and USACE will submit the form to USFWS.

Streamlined Consultation Form

Individual Informal Consultation

For projects that are not within the scope of the FHWA Programmatic Informal Consultation and which would include take that is prohibited by the Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule, NH DOT will initiate Informal Consultation with the USFWS New England Field Office.

Additional Information:

Bridge/Structure assessments conducted pursuant to the FHWA Range-wide Programmatic Consultation are valid for two years from the date of the assessment. If a bridge/structure is suspected of providing habitat for any species of bat, NH DOT will coordinate with the USFWS to identify necessary AMMs.

Bridge Assessment Guidance

Bridge Assessment Form

Contacts:

Rebecca Martin – Environmental Manager, Rebecca.Martin@dot.nh.gov.





New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483 | 7 Hazen Drive | Concord, NH | 03302-0483
Tel: 603.271-3734 | Fax: 603.271.3914

copyright 2015. State of New Hampshire