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About White Nose Syndrome (WNS)

Adaptive Management Strategy Information for Cavers   Environmental Analysis

What is White-Nose Syndrome (WNS)?

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a wildlife disease responsible for unprecedented bat mortality in the northeastern United States. Since it was discovered in 2006, more than 5.5 million bats have died and the fungus that causes the disease, Geomyces destructans (Gd), has been detected as far west as Oklahoma. Bat Conservation International provides a good overview of WNS.

Has WNS reached the Rocky Mountain Region of the Forest Service?

To date, neither the disease, nor the fungus, has been confirmed on any of the National Forests in the Rocky Mountain Region (Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas). A map tracking the disease’s progress is kept up to date as new information becomes available.

What is the Forest Service doing to prevent WNS in the Rocky Mountain Region?

During 2012 and 2013, the Forest Service completed an environmental assessment with each Forest Supervisor approving individual decision notices and a finding of no significant impact. Review our adaptive management strategy. The Nebraska National Forest was not included because there are no known caves or mines on the unit.

How many bat species occur on Forest Service lands within the Rocky Mountain Region? 

Twenty-two bat species are known to occur or expected to occur in the Rocky Mountain Region states.  Of these 22, 16 species hibernate during the winter and 6 migrate during the winter.  Four of the 22 species are currently on the Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species list: fringed myotis, spotted bat, hoary bat, and Townsend’s big-eared bat. 

Additional information about species occurrence and habitat associations can be found here (PDF file 160.5 kb)

Where can I find out more about White-nose syndrome, cave/mine closures, and bats?