U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards Grants to 34 States, District of Columbia for Work on Deadly Bat Disease

August 9, 2016                                                            Contact: Catherine Hibbard, 413-253-8569

How do states respond to or prepare for white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease that affects hibernating bats? It depends on their location. Actions include looking for the fungus that causes the disease, carrying out decontamination procedures at state caves and mines, monitoring bat populations and writing bat conservation plans.

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it has awarded just under $1 million to natural resources agencies in 34 states and the District of Columbia for these actions. This is the seventh year the Service has given grants to states for WNS response, for a total of more than $6.2 million awarded.

“A state’s response to white-nose syndrome depends on how long the disease has been there or how close they are to known occurrences,” said Wendi Weber, Northeast Regional Director for the Service and co-chair of the WNS Executive Committee. “Where it has been established, the focus is on increasing survival of bats. On the leading edge of the disease front, it’s also on limiting the spread, and where the disease has not been discovered, it’s on preventing the arrival of WNS. With this funding, we’re happy to help the states on all fronts to defeat this deadly disease.”

Gabrielle Graeter of North Carolina looks for bats. Photo: Gary Peeples/USFWS
Tony Elliott of Missouri looks for signs of white-nose syndrome in a group of hibernating bats. Photo: Ann Froschauer/USFWS