GREEN BAY —
Wisconsin officials and timber industry representatives are trying
to determine how to save the dwindling northern long-eared bat
population while limiting the economic impact of preservation
The U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service has proposed protections for the bat, including
adding it to the endangered species list, that would affect nearly
40 states, Press-Gazette Media reports (http://gbpg.net/1s255lI
). Bats have been dying by the millions in recent years from
white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease discovered in 2006.
regulations intended to protect the bats could restrict the timber
industry from logging trees where the bats live during a 30- to
45-day period in the summer.
and dying trees are the ones the bats have an affinity for,"
said Pete Fasbender of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Normal timber practices, cutting healthy trees — that
won't be an issue."
limitations might be enforced from April to October, which has
raised concerns among people in the timber industry who say that
timeframe is needed for logging activities. Industry professionals
said during a Monday meeting that they could lose tens of billions
of dollars annually.
were to happen like the worst-case scenario, it would give us
about two months out of the year where we could really log,"
said Scott Sawle, who owns of Rockbridge Sawmill Inc. "You
can't log a mill in two months out of the year."
He and some of
his timber industry peers hope to work with government officials
to protect the bat in a way that doesn't cause economic damage.
"We know the
bats are needed — they do a good job — but to go after our
industry, when we're not even the cause of the problem?" he
said. "They've got a disease. Work on that disease."
most concerned about the loss of bats in June and July, when young
bats who were recently born are most at risk, according to
The service is
scheduled to announce a final decision on protection efforts in