Action timeline

January 29, 2008 – The Center wrote a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking that all caves and abandoned mines be closed to recreational use where Indiana bats and other federally listed bat species are found.

February 18, 2008 – The Center, Heartwood and Friends of Blackwater petitioned the Service and other agencies to pull permits for federal projects that will harm imperiled bats — including the Indiana bat — and to close bat hibernation sites to the public.

April 14, 2008 – When the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to heed our February petition, the Center and allies filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Bush administration unless it undertook a review of all its activities that might harm endangered bat species that are affected or could be affected by white-nose syndrome.

March 5, 2009 – The Center and allies filed an official protest against a Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management plan to auction off oil and gas leases on a parcel of land in West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest, just a few miles away from a major hibernating site for Virginia big-eared and Indiana bats.

March 12, 2009 – In response to our protest, the Bureau withdrew the Monongahela National Forest land parcel from the oil and gas lease sale.

March 26, 2009 – The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a cave closure advisory for the states currently affected by white-nose syndrome and adjoining states.

April 24, 2009 – The U.S Forest Service announced a year-long closure of all Forest Service caves and abandoned mines in the eastern region to stem the spread of white-nose syndrome.

May 20, 2009 – The Center and 60 other national and regional organizations sent a letter to members of Congress requesting increased funding for research on white-nose syndrome.

May 21, 2009 – The Forest Service issued a year-long closure order for all caves and mines on national forest land in the Southern Region. All together, Forest Service caves in 33 states are now closed.

August 24, 2009 – The Center sent a letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service's new director, Sam Hamilton, urging that action on white-nose syndrome be his first priority.

January 21, 2010 – The Center filed a petition to close all caves and abandoned mines on federal lands to public access to prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome.

September 16, 2010 – The Fish and Wildlife Service announced a closure of caves and mines in the national refuge system to reduce the spread of white-nose syndrome.

December 2016 – The Service announced its consideration of an application from nine oil and gas companies that would allow them to avoid liability under the Endangered Species Act for killing and harming bats in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia over the next 50 years — including the federally protected Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat, as well as three species proposed for protections: the little brown bat, eastern small-footed bat and tri-colored bat.

Photo of Indiana bat courtesy Flickr/Nessie Grace