Thompson: Federal Funding to Combat Disorder Affecting Bats Will Protect Environment and Pennsylvania Industries

Aug 10, 2016

Bellefonte, PA –U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5) today announced the awarding of $33,400 to Pennsylvania from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to help combat White-Nose Syndrome, a deadly fungus that has killed between 5.7 million and 6.7 million bats across North America.  This is the seventh year the USFWS has provided grants to states for the purpose of research and addressing the disease. 

“As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, I have been active in ensuring the effects of White Nose Syndrome are appropriately addressed. I’ve participated in field hearings on the subject and toured habitats where bat populations have been devastated by this fungus,” Thompson said.  “There is an ecological importance to sustaining the bat population as well as preventing the species from becoming endangered, which would cause great harm to resource production, agriculture and construction across the commonwealth and a large part of the country."

WNS was first discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-07 and then spread across the United States and Canada.  It has been confirmed in 29 states and five Canadian provinces.  The funding from the USFWS is intended to be used to further research the fungus that causes disease, conduct decontamination in mines and caves, monitor bat populations for signs of WNS and to write bat conservation plans.

“With partnership on all levels, we can get the science right and work to slow the devastating effects of White-Nose Syndrome," Thompson added. 

In 2015, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service finalized a rule under the Endangered Species Act listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat as “threatened.” This status allows for some new conservation practices to be put into place where warranted, without broadly prohibiting common land use activities.