NFWF Announces $769,000 to Help Bat Populations Suffering from White-nose Syndrome

Five new grants will inform and implement promising strategies to stem the impacts of white-nose syndrome

Tricolored bat

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 14, 2023) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and partners today announced $769,000 in grants to implement fungal treatment methods and enhance habitat management to reduce the impacts of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in the states of Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. These grants will generate more than $693,000 in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of over $1.4 million to help bats, a suite of species that plays an important pest control role for the agricultural sector.

The grants were awarded through the Bats for the Future Fund (BFF), a partnership between NFWF and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Avangrid Foundation, Southern Company and NextEra Energy Resources. 

“White-nose syndrome continues to have serious impacts on hibernating bat species in North America,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Strategies including enhancement of habitats and inhibiting growth of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome will help to improve survival and recovery of North American bat species. With the support of our federal and corporate partners, the grants we announce today will contribute to reducing impacts from this calamitous disease.”

The BFF has three program objectives: 

  • Advance field treatments and management tools that provide the greatest potential to improve bat survival by preventing exposure to Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungal pathogen that causes WNS, and/or enhancing bats’ ability to withstand the disease.
  • Implement field treatments, management tools and habitat conservation strategies that help WNS-affected bat populations recover from the impacts of WNS.
  • Support innovative and collaborative research leading directly to development and deployment of treatments and management tools or strategies for WNS that will perpetuate viable populations of bats.

“Robust partnerships are integral for addressing the conservation challenges of the modern world, which include devastating wildlife diseases like white-nose syndrome,” said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, national white-nose syndrome coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “These grants through the Bats for the Future Fund support the partnerships, scientific growth, and ingenuity needed to secure healthy hibernating bat populations in North America for years to come.”

The projects supported by the five grants announced today will enhance habitats around roosting sites for Indiana bats, identify and include key foraging habitats in management plans, and further test the efficacy of anti-fungal applications to slow the growth of the causal fungus. This year’s BFF recipients include:

  • Temple University will evaluate targeted implementation strategies for environmental control of the fungal pathogen that causes WNS during the critical period of early winter and develop specific protocols for management intervention.
  • Wildlife Conservation Society Canada will implement a probiotic treatment cocktail in 11 bat maternity colony study sites in Washington state and British Columbia and refine protocols in preparation for potential upscaling of this disease management tool.
  • The University of Waterloo will determine the long-term persistence of the fungus causing WNS in hibernacula in North America. This project will provide insight into whether bats are still being exposed to the fungus from environmental reservoirs in hibernacula in the WNS-endemic zone.
  • Bat Conservation International will collaborate with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to identify and incorporate key foraging habitats near summer and winter roosts as part of a state-wide management plan for recovering little brown and tri-colored bats.
  • The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation will utilize existing partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others to enhance habitats through tree planting and various forest management strategies which promote tree species of importance to the Indiana bat lifecycle.

“Fighting white-nose syndrome needs resourceful solutions. Bats for the Future grants make creative research possible; research that takes action to improve bat health and habitat,” said Jesalyn McCurry, environmental stewardship manager at Southern Company. “Southern Company is proud to be an original funder of the Bats for the Future conservation fund.” 

“Bats play a critical role in the environment and ecosystems around us. It’s vital to protect them by studying and slowing the spread of white-nose syndrome,” said Avangrid Foundation Executive Director & Director of Corporate Citizenship Pablo Colón. “The Avangrid Foundation is proud to partner with NFWF to provide much needed funding for these innovative research and conservation initiatives.”

“As an industry leader in renewable energy, we are committed to environmental conservation and building strong relationships that make a difference,” said Matt Raffenberg, vice president of environmental services for NextEra Energy Resources. “We are proud to support the Bats for the Future Fund and are encouraged by the innovation of this year’s grants that support the ongoing work to slow the progression of white-nose syndrome and hopefully improve bat survival.”

Since its inception in 2017, the BFF has awarded more than $4.8 million in grants to support research and implement experimental treatment and management strategies that slow the spread of WNS and improve survival of bats across the U.S. and Canada. Grants support collaborations among federal and state agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations and for-profit corporations, who have joined forces to prevent potential bat extinctions caused by this spreading wildlife disease.

A complete list of the 2023 grants made through the BFF is available here.    

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $8.1 billion. NFWF is an equal opportunity provider. Learn more at

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service also leads the collaborative National Response to WNS. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit The public can also connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube channel and download photos from our Flickr page.

About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is a leading energy provider serving 9 million customers across the Southeast and beyond through its family of companies. Providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy with excellent service is our mission. The company has electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company, a leading distributed energy distribution company with national capabilities, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, resilience and sustainability, we are taking action to meet customers’ and communities’ needs while advancing our goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and are the key to our sustained success. We are transforming energy into economic, environmental and social progress for tomorrow. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have earned the company national awards and recognition from numerous organizations, including Forbes, The Military Times, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, J.D. Power, Fortune, Human Rights Campaign and more. To learn more, visit

About Avangrid Foundation
The Avangrid Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that funds philanthropic investments that primarily impact communities where AVANGRID, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate. Since 2001, the Avangrid Foundation and its predecessors have invested more than $32 million in partnerships that focus on building sustainable, vital and healthy communities; preserving cultural and artistic heritage; advancing education; and improving people’s lives. The Avangrid Foundation is committed to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the United States. For more information, please visit

About Avangrid
Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $41 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, Avangrid has two primary lines of business: networks and renewables. Through its networks business, Avangrid owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Through its renewables business, Avangrid owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. Avangrid employs more than 7,500 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021, 2022 and 2023 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2023, Avangrid ranked first within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2023 for the fifth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. Avangrid is a member of the group of companies controlled by Iberdrola, S.A. For more information, visit

About NextEra Energy Resources
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (together with its affiliated entities, NextEra Energy Resources) is a clean energy leader and is one of the largest wholesale generators of electric power in the U.S., with approximately 27,400 megawatts of total net generating capacity, primarily in 40 states and Canada as of year-end 2022. NextEra Energy Resources is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, a world leader in battery storage and is driving the development of the green hydrogen economy. The business operates clean, emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire and Wisconsin as part of the NextEra Energy nuclear fleet. NextEra Energy Resources offers a wide range of clean energy solutions to help businesses and customers across the country meet their emissions reduction goals. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit


Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166,