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Indiana Bat Habitat Conservation Plan PA State Lands Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry.

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Presentation on theme: "Indiana Bat Habitat Conservation Plan PA State Lands Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry."— Presentation transcript:

1 Indiana Bat Habitat Conservation Plan PA State Lands Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry

2 Who is involved The HCP covers: 3.8 million acres – DCNR State Forest Lands: 2.2 million acres – DCNR State Parks lands: 295,000 acres – Game Commission State Game Lands: 1.4 million acres Developing the HCP: – DCNR Forests and Parks Bureaus – PA Game Commission Wildlife and Habitat Bureaus – ICF International—consultant to coordinate HCP & NEPA development – Stakeholder Committee

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4 Why Are We Getting An HCP? Avoid and minimize incidental take of Indiana bats resulting from forestry management and other related activities to the maximum extent practicable on state lands Accommodate current and future forestry management activities on state lands Identify targeted conservation efforts that can improve value of state lands for Ibat and help stabilize and aid in the recovery of the species To obtain an Incidental Take Permit from USFWS for impacts to Ibat from Forest Management Activities

5 What activities are covered? Forest Mgmt Activities: Forestry Regeneration and Operations – Timber harvests, salvage, fencing, firewood – NOT just cutting a tree Roads and Trails: – associated with timber harvests, trails Prescribed Fire: – burning and fire breaks Activities Assoc with Implementation of HCP: – habitat restoration and HCP monitoring effects

6 Habitat— Classifying There are several relevant periods in a bat’s life history. Annually: o winter hibernation, spring migration, spring staging, summer reproduction, autumn swarming, and autumn migration. Habitat Classifications for the HCP: o Winter use o Fall-Spring use o Summer use

7 Winter Use Location of hibernacula and lands within.25 mile – Indiana bats: includes ~ 20 hibernacula recognized by USFWS – NLEB: includes over 300 sites where the species has been observed surveys or trapping

8 Fall/Spring Use Area surrounding the hibernacula to account for area where swarming and mating takes place before and after winter hibernation. For both Ibat and NLEB: area within 5-miles of hiber

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10 Summer Use Within Pennsylvania: broadest use category Summer period of roosting and foraging during reproduction Most summer roosts widely distributed, not well identified; difficult to predict distribution of summering bats Habitat Distribution Tool created to model summer use areas; MaxEnt, a statistical-based software package Predict species distributions based on presence-only data using a procedure known as maximum entropy. Maximum entropy determines env. variables in landscape that are most influential in predicting species occurrence and probability of species occurrence for each landscape unit: comparing point location to suite of variables

11 Habitat Distribution Tool Variables Example Variables Mean Precipitation Distance to Hibernacula Land Cover Mean Maximum Temperature Mean Minimum Temperature Distance to Streams Distance to Major Roads Aspect Slope Forest Cover within 300 meters Distance to Coal Mined /Karst Area/Carbonate Rock

12 Summer Use Potential Habitat NLEB: over 90% state lands   Ibat: less than 20% state lands

13 Potential Effects (Take Analysis) Forestry Regeneration & Operations Seral diversification Horizontal Diversification Early Seral Diversification Maintain deer fences Firewood Roads and Trails: Build/Maintain Roads Build New Trails Prescribed Fire: Rx burning and fire breaks

14 Potential Effects Categories: High/Mod Summer User Effects on Roosting Effects on Foraging Years of Effects (ex: 1-5, 10, 20, 30) Timber harvests Shelterwood, Clearcut: Mod decline Roost; Mod Imp Forage Single tree, Group Section: None Roost; Mod Imp Forage Pre-commercial Thinning: Trace Imp Roost; Trace Imp Forage RX Fire Roost: Large Imp 1-5 yrs; Trace after that Foraging: Large Imp 1-3; Trace after that Potential Take: o Ibat: ~ 7 (1%) o NLEB: ~ 2,000 (3%) Potential Effects (Take Analysis)

15 Conservation Program **Ibat Only; NLEB have not been developed** Biological Goals and Objectives Goal 1: o Avoid and minimize impacts on Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats from forestry-related activities covered by this HCP. Goal 2: o Improve roosting and foraging habitat for Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats on State Lands. Goal 3: o Promote WNS survivorship on State Lands. Goal 4: o Increase knowledge and awareness of Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats on State Lands. Conservation Measures developed to meet Biological Goals & Objectives

16 Goal 1: Avoid and minimize impacts on Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats from forestry-related activities covered by this HCP. Reduce disturbance to hibernating bats – human entry – obstructions around hiber Reduce impacts on covered bats from harvest, firewood – Retain snags in Summer – Restrict harvest in Spring/Fall April1-May 15 and Aug 15-Nov 15 – Restrict harvest in Winter year round – Maintain forest cover in various age classes – Limit firewood collection seasonally Reduce impacts from RX fire – Restrict seasonally: Summer, Fall/Spring and Winter Protect streams/riparian habitat for insect prey base – Retain riparian vegetation – Implement spill prevention

17 Goal 2. Improve roosting and foraging habitat for Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats on State Lands. Increase quality/quantity of roost trees – Use RX fire and timber mgmt to enhance acreage of mod/high use habitat – Remove understory clutter to create suitable roosting Install bat boxes ID and enhance Potential hibernacula

18 Goal 3: Promote WNS survivorship on State Lands Strictly enforce WNS protocols Provide artificial roosts for bats

19 Goal 4: Increase knowledge and awareness of Ibats on state lands Implement staff training Public engagement

20 Summary Quick overview of HCP Still waiting for NLEB determination – NLEB currently not part of HCP; begin drafting chapters with NLEB in preparation Next steps: – June 2015: Draft HCP & NEPA EIS – Summer/Fall 2015: public outreach – Winter 2015/2016: Final HCP and EIS


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