Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Status for Northern Long-Eared Bat
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to reclassify the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), a bat species found in all or portions of 37 U.S. States, the District of Columbia, and much of Canada, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The northern long- eared bat is currently listed as a threatened species with an accompanying rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act (``4(d) rule''). This document complies with a court order, which requires the Service to make a new listing decision for the northern long-eared bat. After a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that the northern long-eared bat meets the Act's definition of an endangered species. Accordingly, we propose to list the northern long- eared bat as an endangered species under the Act. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would reclassify this species as an endangered species on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and remove its species-specific 4(d) rule. Additionally, this proposed rule serves as our 5-year review of the species. We also are notifying the public that we have scheduled an informational meeting followed by a public hearing on the proposed rule.