Threatened Bat Species Could Endanger Building Permits

The listing of the Northern Long-Eared Bat as threatened under the Endangered Species Act becomes effective May 4 – and that’s a change that will affect more than 1,750 counties in the Eastern and North Central United States.

The action restricts the removal of trees of certain sizes and diameters between mid-April and mid-September, which is the bats’ migration season.

The 1,750 counties accounted for 53% of the building permits pulled in 2014.

NAHB believes that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has underestimated the degree of the impact of this listing. Specifically, FWS does not understand the time-sensitive nature of home building and assumes proposed projects that may affect the bats’ summer habitat can simply wait until they start hibernating in October.

Once the listing is effective, any property with or near known hibernation or maternity roost sites will need to consult with regulators and get a permit to proceed – a process likely to delay work for several months or even years, depending on the kind of permit needed.

While NAHB will seek an exemption for our members under the 4(d) rule, projects undertaken after May 4 must comply with the ESA rulings. Learn more by reading this FAQ or contact Environmental Policy Program Manager Larissa Mark.

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