U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards Grants
to 35 States, District of Columbia for Work on Deadly Bat Disease
Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced grant awards totaling just under $1 million to 35 states and the District of Columbia for white-nose syndrome (WNS) projects. State natural resource agencies will use the funds to support research, monitor bat populations and prepare for and respond to WNS, a disease that afflicts bats.
“White-nose syndrome has now been confirmed in 26 states and five Canadian provinces,” said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the Service’s national WNS coordinator. “These grants provide essential support to our state partners in preparing for and responding to this disease. The research, monitoring, and actions made possible by these grants have yielded valuable results and insights for our national response to white-nose syndrome.”
First discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, WNS spread through the eastern U.S. and parts of Canada, and continues to move westward. The Service is leading a cooperative effort with federal and state agencies, tribes, researchers, universities and other non-governmental organizations to investigate and manage the disease. In addition to developing science-based protocols and guidance for land management agencies and other partners to slow the spread of WNS, the Service has funded many research projects to improve understanding of the disease and support sound, effective management responses.
“We are seeing a continent-wide focus on bat conservation because of threats to bats such as white-nose syndrome,” said Wendi Weber, co-chair of the White-Nose Syndrome Executive Committee and Service northeast regional director. “For example, the newly created North American Bat Monitoring Program will provide us basic data about bat populations so we can better prepare for and respond to white-nose syndrome, which unfortunately continues to spread throughout the U.S. and Canada. These grants will help states engage in this international effort.”
Funding for grants was provided through the Endangered Species Recovery and Science Applications programs. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia submitted proposals requesting $1,589,789. All requests were given partial awards, ranging from about $13,000 to $39,000, for a total of $998,767.
Additional information about WNS is available at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/. Connect with our white-nose syndrome Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwswns, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfws_wns and download photos from our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/collections/72157626455036388/.
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through social media channels.