Small clusters of little brown bats at Aeolus Cave, Vermont | Credit: Shannon Keith (USFWS)
  • Bats for the Future Fund

    Bats play critical roles in the U.S. controlling agricultural, forest, and human pests. Recent studies estimate that the pesticide services of bats are worth more than $1 billion annually to the U.S. corn industry alone, and more than $3 billion annually to all agricultural production.

    Unfortunately, more than 6 million bats have died over the past decade from the white-nose syndrome disease (WNS) spread. In some sites where WNS has been detected, up to 100 percent of bats have disappeared. Since signs of the disease were first observed in New York in 2006, WNS has spread rapidly from the Northeast to the Midwest, Southeast and eastern Canada, and in the spring of 2016 was found in Washington state.

    WNS is caused by a cold-loving fungus that attacks hibernating bats. More than half of the bat species in the United States and Canada hibernate to survive the winter, and are potentially susceptible to this disease. Without a solution to this devastating problem, several bat species may be in danger of extinction.

    The Bats for the Future Fund was launched in the fall of 2016 to provide grant funding in order to advance field treatments and management tools that provide the greatest potential to prevent exposure of bats to Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungal pathogen that causes WNS, and improve survival from WNS; implement field treatments, management tools and conservation strategies that help WNS-affected bat populations to recover and rebound from the impacts of WNS; and, support innovative and collaborative research leading to development and deployment of treatments and management tools for WNS that will perpetuate viable populations of bats. Major funding for the Bats for the Future Fund is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with additional funding from the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Company and the Avangrid Foundation.

 

 Application Information

 
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