Indiana Bat Habitat Conservation Plan PA State Lands

Indiana Bat Habitat Conservation Plan
PA State Lands
Pennsylvania DCNR
Bureau of Forestry
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
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
• 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
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
• 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
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
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
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
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
Forest Cover within 300 meters
Distance to Coal Mined /Karst
Area/Carbonate Rock
Summer Use
Potential Habitat
 Ibat: less than 20% state lands
NLEB: over 90% state lands
Potential Effects (Take Analysis)
Forestry Regeneration &
Seral diversification
Horizontal Diversification
Early Seral Diversification
Maintain deer fences
Roads and Trails:
Build/Maintain Roads
Build New Trails
Prescribed Fire:
Rx burning and fire breaks
Potential Effects (Take Analysis)
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%)
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
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
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
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
Goal 3:
Promote WNS survivorship on State Lands
• Strictly enforce WNS protocols
• Provide artificial roosts for bats
Goal 4:
Increase knowledge and awareness of
Ibats on state lands
• Implement staff training
• Public engagement
• 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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