The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced grant awards totaling $962,981 to thirty states for white-nose syndrome (WNS) projects. State natural resource agencies will use the funds for surveillance and monitoring of caves and mines where bats hibernate, preparing state response plans and other related projects.
“Grants like these provide essential support to our state partners in responding to white-nose syndrome,” said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the Service’s national WNS coordinator. “Responding to the rapid spread and severity of this disease has been difficult for state agencies and other partners. Providing funds directly to states helps to improve capacity for response within those states, but also provides support for critical research projects and strengthens our national response effort overall.”
White-nose syndrome has devastated bat populations across eastern North America. First documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, the disease has spread into 19 states and four Canadian provinces. Service biologists and partners estimate that WNS has killed more than 5.5 million bats.
The Service is leading a cooperative effort with federal and state agencies, tribes, researchers, universities and other non-government organizations to research and manage the spread of WNS. In addition to developing science-based protocols and guidance for land management agencies and other partners to minimize the spread of WNS, the Service has funded numerous research projects to support and assess management recommendations and improve our basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.
Funding for grants was provided through Endangered Species Recovery funds. Proposals were received from 31 states requesting $1,183,480. All eligible requests were given at least partial awards, ranging from $14,646 to $50,000, for a total of $962,981 in grant funds.
Additional information about WNS, the international disease investigation, and research can be found on the new partner-oriented WNS website, http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/. The site contains the most up-to-date information and resources from partners in the WNS response, current news and links to social media.
America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We are working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. Learn more about the Endangered Species Program at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.