The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the Avangrid Foundation, Southern Company, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service, announced the 2018 round of funding for the Bats for the Future Fund. Four grants totaling $1.1 million were awarded to prevent and slow the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS), advance management tools and treatments to minimize WNS, promote the survival and recovery of WNS-affected bats, and support innovative research leading to lasting management solutions. The four awards generated more than $900,000 in match from the grantees, providing a total conservation impact of $2 million.
Unfortunately, more than 6 million bats have died over the past decade from WNS. In some sites where WNS has been detected, up to 100 percent of bats have been killed. Since signs of the disease were first observed in New York in 2006, WNS has spread rapidly from the Northeast to the Midwest and eastern and southeastern Canada, with cases confirmed in 33 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces to date.
The Bats for the Future Fund focuses on existing and novel disease treatments and management strategies urgently needed to stem the impacts of WNS at the leading edge of the disease, areas with a mosaic of contaminated and uncontaminated sites on the front line of the fungus’ invasion. This includes areas where WNS is currently causing the greatest bat population declines, such as the Midwest. By investing funding to treatments and new management strategies for WNS, the fund hopes to defeat this devastating disease.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in collaboration with Kennesaw State University, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and Lockhaven University will implement an integrated disease management approach aimed at minimizing WNS mortality amongst tricolored bats in Texas. Project will use multiple mitigation approaches, including high-pressure steam cleaning, application of polyethylene glycol, and anti-fungal fumigants, to delay the establishment of Pd, the causal agent of WNS, reduce WNS-related mortality, and slow the spread of the pathogen.
Originally published by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in the Bats for the Future Fund 2018 Grant Slate