Post Content

Northern Long Eared Bat

Northern Long-Eared Bat

Today, May 19, is Endangered Species Day, a day when many environmental organizations and government agencies recognize conservation efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats.

The MassDOT Highway Division works hard to ensure compliance with State and Federal endangered species regulations to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts to rare and endangered species.  In April of 2015 the northern long-eared bat became federally listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, due to their precipitous population decline caused by White-nose Syndrome.  White-nose Syndrome, named as such because of the resultant mold that grows on the bats’ nose, is a disease that kills bats during the winter while they hibernate in caves and mines, called “hibernacula.”  Not only are bats important ecologically, but they also have health and economic benefits because they reduce populations of mosquitoes and crop pests such as moths and beetles.

Through the environmental review process, the Highway Division ensures that highway projects do not adversely affect the priority habitats of northern long-eared bats, such as forested habitat at hibernacula, and maternity roosting trees where adult females raise their young pups.  These project reviews are coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ensure compliance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.  MassDOT and other state DOTs are collecting distribution data for the northern long-eared bat, which informs the project review process while also contributing to long-term conservation planning by the USFWS and state wildlife agencies, such as the Massachusetts Division of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife).

Research by the USFWS and other scientists is ongoing in an attempt to counter the threat of White-nose Syndrome, and recent research has successfully cured northern longed-eared bats of the disease by using a common bacteria to prevent the mold of White-nose Syndrome from growing on bats.  Although the future of the northern long-eared bat is still uncertain, there is optimism through microbiological research, and through the targeted stewardship and collaboration between regulatory agencies and project proponents, such as USFWS, MassWildlife and MassDOT.

Written By:


Recent Posts

Baker-Polito Administration Authorizes MBTA Control Board Extension, Board and Staffing Transitions Announced posted on May 25

Baker-Polito Administration Authorizes MBTA Control Board Extension, Board and Staffing Transitions Announced

Acting to maintain momentum toward improving the MBTA for riders, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack today announced that the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) will extend its governance by two years as allowed under   …Continue Reading Baker-Polito Administration Authorizes MBTA Control Board Extension, Board and Staffing Transitions Announced

Sumner Tunnel Traffic Adjustments posted on May 24

Sumner Tunnel Traffic Adjustments

MassDOT has announced that beginning on Thursday morning, May 25, it will be implementing the following adjustments to the traffic pattern in the area of the entrance of the Sumner Tunnel in order to improve traffic flow as construction activities continue for the ongoing toll   …Continue Reading Sumner Tunnel Traffic Adjustments

MassDOT: Plan Ahead for Memorial Day Travel posted on May 24

MassDOT: Plan Ahead for Memorial Day Travel

MassDOT advises Memorial Day holiday travelers to plan ahead, utilize MassDOT’s many travel “real time” tools and use public transportation if possible to travel between destinations. “We know from past years that travelers can expect heavy traffic volumes during Memorial Day weekend and should accordingly   …Continue Reading MassDOT: Plan Ahead for Memorial Day Travel