[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 193 (Thursday, October 4, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60749-60776]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24300]



[[Page 60749]]

Vol. 77

Thursday,

No. 193

October 4, 2012

Part II





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 17





 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Endangered 
Species Status for the Florida Bonneted Bat; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 193 / Thursday, October 4, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0078; 4500030113]
RIN 1018-AY15


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Endangered Species Status for the Florida Bonneted Bat

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for public comments.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to list the 
Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus), as an endangered species 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This 
proposed rule, if made final, would extend the Act's protections to 
this species. We have found that critical habitat is prudent but not 
determinable at this time due to lack of knowledge of which physical 
and biological features are essential to the conservation of the 
species. The Service seeks data and comments from the public on this 
proposed listing rule and on the biological needs of the species that 
will enable the Service to define critical habitat for this species.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
December 3, 2012. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) must be received by 
11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests 
for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT by November 19, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R4-ES-2012-0078, 
which is the docket number for this rulemaking. You may submit a 
comment by clicking on ``Comment Now!''
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2012-0078; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see the Information Requested section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Williams, Field Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office, 
1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, Florida 32960-3559, by telephone 772-562-
3909, ext. 285, by facsimile 772-562-4288. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document consists of: (1) A proposed 
rule to list the Florida bonneted bat as an endangered species; (2) a 
finding that designation of critical habitat for the species is 
prudent; and (3) a finding that critical habitat is not determinable at 
this time because the biological needs of the species are not 
sufficiently well known to permit identification of areas as critical 
habitat.

Information Requested

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule 
will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request 
comments or information from the public, other concerned governmental 
agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, 
or any other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We 
particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) Additional information concerning the historical and current 
status, range, distribution, and population size of this species, 
including the locations of any additional populations or colonies of 
this species.
    (2) Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of 
the species, especially life history information and habitat needs 
(e.g., preferred roosting and foraging habitat, nightly and seasonal 
movements, dispersal capabilities, diet, and seasonal changes in diet), 
and ongoing conservation measures for the species and its habitat.
    (3) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threats (or lack thereof) to this species and regulations that may 
be addressing those threats.
    (4) Current or planned land use activities in the areas occupied by 
the species and possible impacts of these activities on this species.
    (5) Additional information regarding the threats under the five 
listing factors:
    (a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (c) Disease or predation;
    (d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
    (e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.

We are particularly interested in information regarding threats from 
disease; predation; climate change; impacts to prey base, including 
insect abundance and availability; impacts from wind energy and other 
land use projects; inadvertent or purposeful removal or displacement of 
Florida bonneted bats; use of bat exclusion devices at inappropriate 
times; and regulations or conservation measures that may be addressing 
these threats.
    (6) What physical or biological features (e.g., space, food, water, 
cover or shelter, sites for breeding and rearing of offspring, 
protected habitats) are essential to the conservation of the species.
    (7) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as 
``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), including the benefits of or possible risks of designation, 
including any possible adverse effects to Florida bonneted bats or 
roosts once their locations are published (e.g., targeted actions to 
discourage the use of roosts, intentional or excessive disturbance to 
roosts, removal of individuals from roosts, use of exclusion devices at 
inappropriate times, other persecution directed at the species), and 
any other risks associated with publication of maps designating any 
area on which the species may be located, now or in the future, as 
critical habitat.
    (8) Specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of habitat for the Florida bonneted 
bat;
    (b) What areas, which are occupied at the time of listing (or are 
currently occupied) contain features essential to the conservation of 
the species, should be included in a designation and why;
    (c) Special management considerations or protection that may be 
needed in critical habitat areas, including managing for the potential 
effects of climate change; and
    (d) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential 
for the conservation of the species and why.
    (9) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of 
climate

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change on the Florida bonneted bat and its habitat.
    Please note that submissions merely stating support for or 
opposition to the action under consideration without providing 
supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in 
making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is a threatened or endangered 
species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available.''
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We request 
that you send comments only by the methods described in the ADDRESSES 
section.
    If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your 
entire submission--including any personal identifying information--will 
be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy 
that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the 
top of your document that we withhold this information from public 
review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We 
will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov. 
Please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to 
verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Executive Summary

    This document consists of: (1) A proposed rule to list the Florida 
bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) as an endangered species; (2) a 
finding that designation of critical habitat for the species is 
prudent; and (3) a finding that critical habitat is not determinable at 
this time due to our current lack of understanding of the physical and 
biological habitat features essential to the conservation of the 
species.
    Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Act, a species or 
subspecies may warrant protection through listing if it is an 
endangered or threatened species throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range. The Florida bonneted bat is currently a candidate 
species known to exist only in south Florida. The species has a small 
estimated population size and faces numerous and immediate threats 
throughout its very restricted range and, therefore, qualifies for 
listing. Protections under the Act can only be accomplished through 
issuing proposed and final rules. This document proposes the protection 
of the species and is based upon our careful review of the status of 
the species and the threats it faces, using the best available 
information. Additionally, we seek data and comments from peer 
reviewers, government agencies and Tribes, stakeholders, and the public 
on this proposed listing rule and on possible critical habitat for the 
species.
    The basis for our action. Under the Act, a species may be 
determined to be an endangered or threatened species based on any of 
five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, 
or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) 
Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its 
continued existence. Based on our analysis below, we have determined 
that the Florida bonneted bat qualifies for listing as an endangered 
species due to three of these five factors (Factors A, D, and E).
    Peer review of our methods. We will obtain review and opinions from 
knowledgeable individuals with scientific expertise on our technical 
assumptions, analysis, adherence to regulations, and whether or not we 
used the best available information in developing this proposed rule. 
Their review will be requested during the public comment period.

Acronyms and Abbreviations Used in This Document

    We use many acronyms and abbreviations throughout this proposed 
rule. To assist the reader, we provide a list of these here for easy 
reference:

Babcock-Webb WMA = Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management 
Area
BCNP = Big Cypress National Preserve
CCSP = U.S. Climate Change Science Program
ENP = Everglades National Park
FBC = Florida Bat Conservancy
FBWG = Florida Bat Working Group
FDACS = Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
FDEP = Florida Department of Environmental Protection
FFS = Florida Forest Service
FNAI = Florida Natural Areas Inventory
FPL = Florida Power and Light
FR = Federal Register
FSPSP = Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
FTBG = Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
FWC = Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
NPS = National Park Service
OC = Organochlorine
OP = Organophospate
PSSF = Picayune Strand State Forest
SFWMD = South Florida Water Management District
WMA = Wildlife Management Area
WNS = White-nose syndrome

Previous Federal Actions

    The Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) was previously known 
as the Florida mastiff bat (Eumops glaucinus floridanus).
    On September 18, 1985, we published a Review of Vertebrate Wildlife 
for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species (50 FR 37958), which 
included the Florida mastiff bat as a category 2 candidate species for 
possible future listing as an endangered or threatened species. 
Category 2 candidates were those taxa for which information contained 
in our files indicated that listing may be appropriate, but for which 
additional data were needed to support a listing proposal. In a January 
6, 1989, Animal Notice of Review (54 FR 554), the Florida mastiff bat 
continued as a category 2 candidate. On November 21, 1991, the Florida 
mastiff bat was upgraded from a category 2 to a category 1 species in 
an Animal Candidate Review for Listing as Endangered or Threatened 
Species (56 FR 58804), characterized as having a declining trend 
(indicating decreasing numbers or increasing threats or both). It 
remained a category 1 candidate (declining trend) in the 1994 review 
(59 FR 58982). In 1996, the Florida mastiff bat was removed from the 
candidate list (61 FR 7596) because the taxon was deemed to be more 
abundant or widespread than previously believed or not subject to any 
identifiable threat.
    On November 9, 2009, we recognized the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops 
floridanus) as a Federal candidate species in our annual Candidate 
Notice of Review (74 FR 57804) with a Listing Priority Number of 2 
(threats high in magnitude and imminent). This action constituted a 12-
month finding for the species in which it was determined that listing 
the species was warranted but precluded by other higher priority 
listing actions.
    On January 29, 2010, we received a petition from Wild South to list 
the Florida bonneted bat as an endangered species and to designate 
critical habitat pursuant to the Act (O'Malley 2010). The petition 
heavily relied upon the Service's 2009 species assessment, but did not 
provide any new substantial

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information. On February 17, 2010, we responded to the petitioner, 
indicating that we had previously determined that the listing of the 
species was warranted but precluded and that, through the Candidate 
Notice of Review process, we annually determine whether listing remains 
warranted but precluded.
    On May 10, 2011, the Service announced a work plan to restore 
biological priorities and certainty to the Service's listing process. 
As part of an agreement with one of the agency's most frequent 
plaintiffs, the Service filed a work plan with the U.S. District Court 
for the District of Columbia. The work plan will enable the agency to, 
over a period of 6 years, systematically review and address the needs 
of more than 250 species listed within the 2010 Candidate Notice of 
Review, including the Florida bonneted bat, to determine if this 
species should be added to the Federal Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants. This work plan will enable the Service 
to again prioritize its workload based on the needs of candidate 
species, while also providing State wildlife agencies, stakeholders, 
and other partners clarity and certainty about when listing 
determinations will be made. On July 12, 2011, the Service reached an 
agreement with a frequent plaintiff group and further strengthened the 
work plan, which will allow the agency to focus its resources on the 
species most in need of protection under the Act. These agreements were 
approved on September 9, 2011. The timing of this proposed listing is, 
in part, therefore, an outcome of the work plan.
    The Service's decision to propose listing of the Florida bonneted 
bat resulted from our careful review of the status of the species and 
the threats it faces.

Endangered Species Status for the Florida Bonneted Bat

Background

    The Florida bonneted bat is a member of the Molossidae (free-tailed 
bats) family within the order Chiroptera. The species is approximately 
130 to 165 millimeters (mm) (5.1 to 6.5 inches [in]) in length (Timm 
and Genoways 2004, p. 857) and the largest bat in Florida (Owre 1978, 
p. 43; Belwood 1992, p. 216; Florida Bat Conservancy [FBC] 2005, p. 1). 
The length of the tail ranges from 46 to 57 mm (1.8 to 2.2 in), hind 
foot 11 to 15 mm (0.4 to 0.6 in), ear 20 to 30 mm (0.8 to 1.2 in), and 
forearm 60.8 to 66.0 mm (2.39 to 2.60 in) (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 
857). Masses average 39.7 grams (g) (1.4 ounces [oz]) and range from 
30.2 to 46.6 grams (1.1 to 1.6 oz) (Owre 1978, p. 43; Belwood 1981, p. 
412; Belwood 1992, p. 216; Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 857). A pregnant 
female with a single fetus weighed 55.4 g (2.0 oz) (Belwood 1981, p. 
412). Males and females are not significantly different in size (Timm 
and Genoways 2004, p. 857). Timm and Genoways (2004, p. 857) found no 
pattern of size-related geographic variation in this species.
    Members of the genus Eumops have large, rounded pinnae (ears), 
arising from a single point or joined medially on the forehead (Best et 
al. 1997, p. 1). The common name of ``bonneted bat'' originates from 
characteristic large broad ears, which project forward over the eyes 
(FBC 2005, p. 1). Ears are joined at the midline of the head. This 
feature, along with its large size, distinguish the Florida bonneted 
bat from the smaller Brazilian (=Mexican) free-tailed bat (Tadarida 
brasiliensis), the only other molossid to occur in Florida (Belwood 
1992, p. 216).
    Wings of the members of the genus Eumops are among the narrowest of 
all molossids (Freeman 1981, as cited in Best et al. 1997, p. 3) and 
are well-adapted for rapid, prolonged flight (Vaughan 1959 as cited in 
Best et al. 1997, p. 3). This wing structure is conducive to high-speed 
flight in open areas (Findley et al. 1972 as cited in Best et al. 1997, 
p. 3).
    The Florida bonneted bat's fur is short and glossy, with hairs 
sharply bicolored with a white base (Belwood 1992, p. 216; Timm and 
Genoways 2004, p. 857). Like other molossids, color is highly variable; 
color varies from black to brown to brownish-gray or cinnamon brown 
with ventral pelage paler than dorsal (Owre 1978, p. 43; Belwood 1992, 
p. 216; Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 857). The basisphenoid pits (paired 
depressions in the basisphenoid bone) of the skull are ovoid (egg-
shaped) and moderately deep (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 857). The tail 
projects beyond the interfemoral membrane (skin that stretches between 
the legs) (Owre 1978, p. 43; Belwood 1992, p. 216).

Taxonomy

    Allen (1932, pp. 256-259) first described a new genus and species 
of Pleistocene free-tailed bat, Molossides floridanus, from a jaw of a 
single specimen. Ray et al. (1963, pp. 373, 377-381) transferred 
Molossides floridanus to the genus Eumops. The genus Eumops was later 
revised (Koopman 1971, pp. 1-6; Eger 1977, pp. 1-69; Timm and Genoways 
2004, p. 859). Koopman (1971, pp. 1-6) found specimens of Eumops from 
Florida that have been identified as E. glaucinus to be markedly larger 
than tropical American specimens of that species and regarded 
floridanus as a well-marked subspecies of E. glaucinus. Until recently, 
two subspecies of E. glaucinus had been recognized: E. glaucinus 
floridanus, which occurs in Florida, and E. glaucinus glaucinus, which 
occurs from central Mexico to southeastern Brazil and northwestern 
Argentina, and Cuba and Jamaica in the Greater Antilles (Eger 1977, pp. 
39-43).
    Timm and Genoways (2004, p. 852) reviewed and reassessed the 
taxonomic status of bats of the genus Eumops. They found considerable 
geographic variation among specimens of bonneted bats (then named E. 
glaucinus) and determined that E. glaucinus is in fact a species-group 
consisting of more than one species. Timm and Genoways (2004, pp. 852, 
855, 859) determined that bonneted bats in Florida are significantly 
larger than those in all other populations and have other 
distinguishing skeletal morphology, including the following: 
proportionally shorter and deeper basisphenoid pits (bony cavities 
inside the nose), glenoid fossa (mandibular fossa or depression in the 
skull) that are broadly triangular with rounded apices (tips), and 
differences in shape of the baculum (penis bone) and palate. Given 
these differences, Timm and Genoways (2004, pp. 852, 856) indicated 
that the correct name for both Pleistocene and Recent Florida bonneted 
bats is Eumops floridanus. Recent studies show that morphologically, E. 
floridanus is distinct from all other populations in the E. glaucinus 
complex (R. Timm, University of Kansas, pers. comm. 2008a; McDonough et 
al. 2008, pp. 1306, 1311). Based upon their most recent work, McDonough 
et al. (2008, p. 1306) concluded that there are four species in the E. 
glaucinus complex--E. glaucinus (in South America east of the Andes), 
E. ferox (in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America), an unnamed 
taxon in western Ecuador (subsequently described as E. wilsoni (Baker 
et al. 2009, pp. 1-13)), and E. floridanus in south Florida.
    E. floridanus is extremely similar in both the mitochondrial and 
nuclear genes to the populations on Cuba and Jamaica and is clearly 
derived from those populations (R. Timm, pers. comm. 2008a; McDonough 
et al. 2008, pp. 1309-1313). Specimens of E. floridanus are 
morphologically distinct from E. glaucinus, but cannot be distinguished 
by cytochrome-b or amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) DNA 
data (McDonough et al. 2008, pp. 1312-1313). McDonough et al. (2008, p. 
1313) suggested that morphological

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distinction in E. floridanus has preceded establishment of either 
mitochondrial or nuclear distinction through their examination of mtDNA 
(mitochondrial DNA), nuclear AFLP, karyotypic, and morphological data 
within the E. glaucinus complex. According to McDonough (2008, p. 
1313), the floridanus-glaucinus complex presented a unique opportunity 
to study the process of speciation using new techniques from the 
emerging field of genomics, and the use of multiple character sets 
(mtDNA, nuclear, and morphological) will become more prevalent in the 
future. McDonough et al. (2008, p. 1313) stated that while adherence to 
the genetic species concept would relegate E. floridanus to conspecific 
status (of or belonging to the same species) with E. glaucinus, 
morphological and ecological concepts clearly call for the recognition 
of E. floridanus as a distinct species.
    The Florida bonneted bat (E. floridanus) was previously known as 
Florida mastiff bat, Wagner's mastiff bat, and mastiff bat (E. 
glaucinus floridanus) (Owre 1978, p. 43; Belwood 1992, p. 216; Best et 
al. 1997, p. 1). While earlier literature found the Florida bonneted 
bat distinct at the subspecies level (see Timm and Genoways 2004, pp. 
852, 856; McDonough et al. 2008, p. 1307), the most current scientific 
information confirms that E. floridanus is a full species and this 
taxonomic change has been accepted by the scientific community (Timm 
and Genoways 2004, p. 861; McDonough et al. 2008, pp. 1306-1315; R. 
Timm, pers. comm. 2008b, 2009; Baker et al. 2009, pp. 9-10). The 
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 
(Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1) and the Florida Natural Areas 
Inventory (FNAI) (FNAI 2012, p. 24) use the name E. floridanus. The 
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) (FWC 2011a, pp. 
1-11) also recognizes the species as E. floridanus, but their current 
threatened and endangered list uses both names, Florida bonneted 
(mastiff) bat, Eumops (=glaucinus) floridanus (see also Factor D 
below).

Life History

    Relatively little is known about the Florida bonneted bat's life 
history. Lifespan is not known. Based upon the work of Wilkinson and 
South (2002, pp. 124-131), Gore et al. (2010, p. 1) inferred a lifespan 
of 10 to 20 years for the Florida bonneted bat, with an average 
generation time of 5 to 10 years.
    The Florida bonneted bat has a fairly extensive breeding season 
during summer months (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 859). The maternity 
season for most bat species in Florida occurs from mid-April through 
mid-August (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 8). During the early portion of 
this period, females give birth and leave young in the roost while they 
make multiple foraging excursions to support lactation (Marks and Marks 
2008a, pp. 8-9). During the latter portion of the season, young and 
females forage together until the young become sufficiently skilled to 
forage and survive on their own (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 9). The 
Florida bonneted bat is a subtropical species, and pregnant females 
have been found in June through September (FBC 2005, p. 1; Marks and 
Marks 2008a, p. 9). Examination of limited data suggests that this 
species may be polyestrous (having more than one period of estrous in a 
year), with a second birthing season possibly in January-February (Timm 
and Genoways 2004, p. 859; FBC 2005, p. 1).
    Information on reproduction and demography is sparse. The Florida 
bonneted bat has low fecundity; litter size is one (FBC 2005, p. 1; 
Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1). The colony studied by Belwood 
(1981, p. 412) consisted of eight adults and included five post-
lactating females, one pregnant female with a single fetus, and one 
male with enlarged testicles; the other female escaped before 
examination. The pregnant female captured was the first record of a 
gestating Florida bonneted bat in September (Belwood 1981, p. 412). 
However, Belwood (1981, p. 412) noted that this finding is consistent 
with the reproductive chronology of bonneted bats in Cuba, which are 
polyestrous. Robson et al. (1989, p. 81) found an injured pregnant 
female in Coral Gables in late August 1988, which aborted its fetus in 
early September 1988. A landowner with an active colony in North Fort 
Myers reported that she has seen young bats appear in spring and 
summer, generally with only one or two births within the colony per 
year (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2006a). However, four young were noted in 
2004 (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2006a). A juvenile male caught in a mist 
net at Picayune Strand State Forest (PSSF) on December 17, 2009, 
suggested breeding in the area (Smith 2010, p. 1). Age was determined 
by viewing the epiphyseal-diaphyseal fusion (level of bone growth and 
formation in the wings) under a magnifying glass and taking a 
photograph of the fusion, which was independently confirmed by two 
Florida bat experts (Smith 2010, pp. 1-2). The juvenile weighed 35 g 
(1.2 oz) and had a left forearm length of 64.5 mm (2.5 in) (Smith 2010, 
p. 1).
    Based upon limited information, the species roosts singly or in 
colonies consisting of a male and several females (Belwood 1992, p. 
221). G.T. Hubbell believed that individuals in Miami roosted singly 
(Belwood 1992, p. 221). However, Belwood (1981, p. 412) suggested that 
a colony, consisting of seven females and one male using a longleaf 
pine cavity as a roost site in Punta Gorda, was a harem group, based on 
its sex ratio. Belwood (1981, p. 412; 1992, p. 221) suggested that this 
behavior has been recorded in a few bat species and such social 
groupings may be facilitated by roosting in tree cavities, which can be 
defended from other males (Morrison 1979, pp. 11-15).
    Information on roosting habits from artificial structures is also 
limited. The Florida bonneted bat colony using bat houses on private 
property in Lee County consisted of 8 to 25 individuals, including one 
albino (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2006a, 2006b; 2008a, 2008b, 2012). After 
the prolonged cold temperatures killed and displaced several bats in 
early 2010, a total of 10 individuals remained by April 2010, with 
seven occupying one house and three occupying another (S. Trokey, pers. 
comm. 2010a, 2010b, 2010c). As of February 2012, there are 18 bats 
using two houses at this location (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2012). Sex 
ratio is not known. Some movement between the houses has been observed; 
the albino individual has been observed to be in one house one day and 
the other house the next (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2006a).
    At the Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area 
(Babcock-Webb WMA), 42 individuals are using 4 separate roosts, 
consisting of 7 bat houses among 4 sites (J. Myers, pers. comm. 2012a, 
2012b; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 12, A61). These sites each consist 
of two bat houses on a single pole, with the exception of one site, 
which has a pole containing only one house. The most recent counts from 
simultaneous observations at these sites, taken at emergence on April 
19, 2012, documented the following: 35 Florida bonneted bats at 2 
houses, 5 at 2 houses, 1 at 2 houses, and 1 at 1 house (J. Myers, pers. 
comm. 2012a; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 12, 19, A61). It is not known if 
there is movement between houses or among roost locations or between 
artificial and unknown natural roosts within Babcock-Webb WMA.
    The Florida bonneted bat is active year-round and does not have 
periods of hibernation or torpor. The species is not migratory, but 
there might have been seasonal shifts in roosting sites (Timm

[[Page 60754]]

and Genoways 2004, p. 860). Belwood (1992, pp. 216-217) reported that, 
prior to 1967, G.T. Hubbell routinely obtained several individuals per 
year collected during the winter from people's houses.
    Precise foraging and roosting habits and long-term requirements are 
unknown (Belwood 1992, p. 219). Active year-round, the species is 
likely dependent upon a constant and sufficient food supply, consisting 
of insects, to maintain its generally high metabolism. Based upon 
limited information, Florida bonneted bats feed on flying insects of 
the following orders: Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (true flies), and 
Hemiptera (true bugs) (Belwood 1981, p. 412; Belwood 1992, p. 220; FBC 
2005, p. 1). An analysis of bat guano (droppings) from the colony using 
the pine flatwoods in Punta Gorda indicated that the sample (by volume) 
contained coleopterans (55 percent), dipterans (15 percent), and 
hemipterans (10 percent) (Belwood 1981, p. 412; Belwood 1992, p. 220). 
No other similar analyses have been performed, but researchers are 
planning to conduct analyses of guano to determine dietary preferences 
and seasonal changes (Ridgley 2012, pp. 1-4; C. Marks, FBC, pers. comm. 
2012; S. Snow, Everglades National Park (ENP), pers. comm. 2012). This 
species may prey upon larger insects, which may be less abundant than 
smaller prey items (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012). Since the species can 
take flight from the ground like other Eumops spp., it may also prey 
upon ground insect species (Ridgley 2012, pp. 1-2).
    Molossids, in general, seem adapted to fast flight in open areas 
(Vaughan 1966, p. 249). Various morphological characteristics (e.g., 
narrow wings, high wing-aspect ratios (ratio of wing length to its 
breadth) make Eumops well-adapted for efficient, rapid, and prolonged 
flight in open areas (Findley et al. 1972, pp. 429-444; Freeman 1981, 
pp. 96-97; Norberg and Rayner 1987, pp. 399-400; Vaughan, 1959 as cited 
in Best et al. 1997, p. 3). Barbour and Davis (1969, p. 234) noted that 
the species flies faster than smaller bats, but cannot maneuver as well 
in small spaces. Belwood (1992, p. 221) stated that E. glaucinus is 
``capable of long, straight, and sustained flight,'' which should allow 
individuals to travel large distances. Norberg and Rayner (1987, p. 
399) attributed long distance flights of Brazilian free-tailed bats to 
their high wing-aspect ratios, with that species capable of traveling 
65 km (40 miles) from its roosting site to its foraging areas (Barbour 
and Davis 1969, p. 203). Nonetheless, average foraging distances for 
the Florida bonneted bat are not known (G. Marks, pers. comm. 2012). 
Although the species can fly long distances, it likely does not travel 
farther than necessary to acquire food needed for survival (G. Marks, 
pers. comm. 2012).
    Bonneted bats are ``fast hawking'' bats that rely on speed and 
agility to catch target insects in the absence of background clutter, 
such as dense vegetation (Simmons et al. 1979, pp. 16-21; Belwood 1992, 
p. 221; Best et al. 1997, p. 5). Foraging in open spaces, these bats 
use echolocation to detect prey at relatively long range, roughly 3 to 
5 meters (10 to 16 feet) (Belwood 1992, p. 221). Based upon information 
from G.T. Hubbell, Belwood (1992, p. 221) indicated that individuals 
leave roosts to forage after dark, seldom occur below 10 meters (33 
feet) in the air, and produce loud, audible calls when flying; calls 
are easily recognized by some humans (Belwood 1992, p. 221; Best et al. 
1997, p. 5; Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 5). On the evening of April 19, 
2012, Florida bonneted bats using bat houses at Babcock-Webb WMA 
emerged to forage at dusk; emergence occurred from approximately 8:20 
to 8:40 p.m. (J. Myers, pers. comm. 2012; P. Halupa, pers. obs. 2012).

 Habitat

    Relatively little is known of the ecology of the Florida bonneted 
bat, and long-term habitat requirements are poorly understood (Robson 
1989, p. 2; Robson et al. 1989, p. 81; Belwood 1992, p. 219; Timm and 
Genoways 2004, p. 859). Habitat for the Florida bonneted bat mainly 
consists of foraging areas and roosting sites, including artificial 
structures. At present, no active, natural roost sites are known, and 
only limited information on historical sites is available.
    Recent information on foraging habitat has been obtained largely 
through acoustical surveys, designed to detect and record bat 
echolocation calls (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 5). Acoustical methods 
have generally been selected over mist netting as the primary survey 
methodology because this species flies and primarily forages at heights 
of 9 meters (30 feet) or more (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 3). The 
Florida bonneted bat has a unique and easily identifiable call. While 
most North American bats vocalize echolocation calls in the ultrasonic 
range that are inaudible to humans, the Florida bonneted bat 
echolocates at the higher end of the audible range, which can be heard 
by some humans as high-pitched calls (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 5). 
Most surveys conducted using acoustical equipment can detect 
echolocation calls within a range of 30 meters (100 feet); call 
sequences are analyzed using software that compares calls to a library 
of signature calls (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 5). Florida bonneted bat 
calls are relatively easy to identify because calls are issued at 
frequencies well below that of other Florida bat species (Marks and 
Marks 2008a, p. 5).
    In general, open, fresh water and wetlands provide prime foraging 
areas for bats (Marks and Marks 2008c, p. 4). Bats will forage over 
ponds, streams, and wetlands and drink when flying over open water 
(Marks and Marks 2008c, p. 4). During dry seasons, bats become more 
dependent on remaining ponds, streams, and wetland areas for foraging 
purposes (Marks and Marks 2008c, p. 4). The presence of roosting 
habitat is critical for day roosts, protection from predators, and the 
rearing of young (Marks and Marks 2008c, p. 4). For most bats, the 
availability of suitable roosts is an important, limiting factor 
(Humphrey 1975, pp. 341-343). Bats in south Florida roost primarily in 
trees and manmade structures (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 8).
    Available information on roosting sites for the Florida bonneted 
bat is extremely limited. Roosting and foraging areas appear varied, 
with the species occurring in forested, suburban, and urban areas (Timm 
and Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1). Data from acoustical surveys and other 
methods suggests that the species uses a wide variety of habitats (see 
Table 1) (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 13-14; 2008b, pp. 2-5; 2008c, pp. 
1-28; 2012, pp. 1-22; R. Arwood, Inside-Out Photography, Inc., pers. 
comm. 2008a, 2008b, 2012; Smith 2010, pp. 1-4; S. Snow, pers. comm. 
2011, 2012).

Use of Forests and Other Natural Areas

    Bonneted bats are closely associated with forested areas because of 
their tree-roosting habits (Robson 1989, p. 2; Belwood 1992, p. 220; 
Eger 1999, p. 132), but specific information is limited. Belwood (1981, 
p. 412) found a small colony of Florida bonneted bats (seven females 
and one male, all adults) roosting in a longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) 
in a pine flatwoods community near Punta Gorda in 1979. The bats were 
roosting in a cavity 4.6 meters (15.1 feet) high, which had been 
excavated by a red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) and later 
enlarged by a pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) (Belwood 1981, 
p. 412). Belwood (1981, p. 412) suggested that the bats were permanent 
residents of the tree due to the considerable accumulation of fecal 
material,

[[Page 60755]]

approximately 1 meter (3.3 feet) in depth. Eger (1999, p. 132) noted 
that in forested areas, old, mature trees are essential roosting sites 
for this species. The species also uses foliage of palm trees. Based 
upon information from G.T. Hubbell, specimens have been found in shafts 
of royal palms (Roystonea regia) (Belwood 1992, p. 219).
    Similar roosting habitats have been reported for E. g. glaucinus in 
Cuba. Nine of 19 known roost sites were located in tree cavities, 
including woodpecker holes and cavities in royal palms, ``dagame'' 
trees (Callycophyllum candidissimum), and mastic trees (Bursera 
simaruba) (Silva-Taboada 1979 as cited in Robson 1989, p. 2 and Belwood 
1992, p. 219). Another individual was found roosting in the foliage of 
the palm Copernicia vespertilionum (Silva-Taboada 1979 as cited in 
Belwood 1992, p. 219). Belwood (1992, pp. 219-220) noted that the 
majority of the approximately 80 specimens of E. glaucinus from 
Venezuela housed in the U.S. National Museum were collected from tree 
cavities in heavily forested areas.
    More recent acoustical data and other information indicate that the 
Florida bonneted bat uses forests and a variety of other natural areas. 
Echolocation calls have been recorded in a wide array of habitat types: 
pine flatwoods, pine rocklands, cypress, hardwood hammocks, mangroves, 
wetlands, rivers, lakes, canals, etc. (see Table 1). Table 1 lists 
locations and habitat types where Florida bonneted bats were recorded 
or observed (2003 to present) (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 13-14; 2008b, 
pp. 2-5; 2008c, pp. 1-28; 2012, pp. 1-22; R. Arwood, pers. comm. 2008a, 
2008b, 2012; Smith 2010, pp. 1-4; S. Snow, pers. comm. 2011, 2012; FNAI 
2012, pp. 1-28). Additional details on key sites are provided below 
Table 1.

         Table 1--Locations and Habitat Types Recorded or Observed for Florida Bonneted Bats (2003-2012)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Site                     Ownership           Counties           Management         Habitat type
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everglades National Park (ENP)    public............  Monroe............  National Park       earth midden
 (2 backcountry sites along                                                Service (NPS).      hammocks,
 Wilderness Waterway [Darwin's                                                                 mangroves.
 Place, Watson Place]).
ENP (junction of Main Park Road   public............  Miami-Dade........  NPS...............  pine rocklands,
 and Long Pine Key).                                                                           wetlands.
L-31N Florida Power and Light     private...........  Miami-Dade........  NPS and FPL.......  canal, mixed.
 (FPL) corridor, eastern
 boundary ENP.
Homestead, FL...................  private...........  Miami-Dade........  None..............  residential,
                                                                                               urban.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic        private...........  Miami-Dade........  FTBG..............  pine rockland,
 Garden (FTBG).                                                                                hardwood hammock,
                                                                                               water, tropical
                                                                                               garden,
                                                                                               residential.
Zoo Miami.......................  private and public  Miami-Dade........  Miami-Dade........  urban, landscaped;
                                                                                               pine rocklands.
Coral Gables (2 sites, including  private...........  Miami-Dade........  None..............  residential,
 Granada Golf Course).                                                                         urban.
Snapper Creek Park..............  public............  Miami-Dade........  Miami-Dade County.  residential,
                                                                                               urban.
Everglades City.................  private...........  Collier...........  None..............  residential,
                                                                                               urban.
Naples..........................  private...........  Collier...........  None..............  residential,
                                                                                               urban.
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve       public............  Collier...........  Florida Department  lake and canal
 State Park (FSPSP) (2 sites,                                              of Environmental    near hardwood
 including Ballard Pond, Prairie                                           Protection (FDEP).  hammock, and pine
 Canal Bridge).                                                                                flatwoods.
Picayune Strand State Forest      public............  Collier...........  FFS...............  canal (juvenile
 (PSSF).                                                                                       male caught above
                                                                                               Faka-Union
                                                                                               Canal).
Big Cypress National Preserve     public............  Collier...........  NPS...............  pine flatwoods,
 (multiple sites).                                                                             palmetto,
                                                                                               cypress, mixed
                                                                                               and hardwood
                                                                                               hammocks,
                                                                                               mangroves, mixed
                                                                                               shrubs, wet
                                                                                               prairies, river.
North Fort Myers (2 sites,        private...........  Lee...............  None; private       residential,
 including bat houses).                                                    landowner.          urban; bat
                                                                                               houses.
Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management  public............  Charlotte.........  Florida Fish and    pinelands (and
 Area (WMA) (3 sites, Tucker                                               Wildlife            near red-cockaded
 Grade east end, B/W west area,                                            Conservation        woodpecker
 and bat houses and near red-                                              Commission (FWC).   clusters); bat
 cockaded woodpecker clusters).                                                                houses.
Babcock Ranch (Telegraph Swamp).  public, private...  Charlotte.........  Private entities,   swamp.
                                                                           FWC, FFS, and Lee
                                                                           County.
Kicco...........................  public............  Polk..............  FWC and SFWMD.....  oxbow along
                                                                                               Kissimmee River.
Kissimmee River Public Use Area   public............  Okeechobee........  FWC and SFWMD.....  boat ramp along
 (Platt's Bluff).                                                                              Kissimmee River.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In 2006, the species was found at Babcock-Webb WMA in the general 
vicinity of the colony found by Belwood (1981, p. 412); this was the 
first documentation of the Florida bonneted bat at this location since 
1979 (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 6, 11, 13). Major habitat types at 
Babcock-Webb WMA include dry prairie, freshwater marsh, wet prairie, 
and pine flatwoods; all calls were recorded in pinelands (Marks and 
Marks 2008a, pp. A7, B38-B39; 2012,

[[Page 60756]]

pp. 8, A61, B43). The species was also recorded at an adjacent 
property, Babcock Ranch in 2007; calls were recorded at Telegraph 
Swamp, but not in the pinelands surveyed (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 
A9, B55-B57).
    The species has been found within the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve 
State Park (FSPSP), using this area throughout the year (D. Giardina, 
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), pers. comm. 
2006; C. Marks, pers. comm. 2006a, 2006b, M. Owen, FSPSP, pers. comm. 
2012a, 2012b). In 2006, this species was found at a small lake and at a 
canal adjacent to tropical hardwood hammocks (Ballard Pond and Prairie 
Canal Bridge) in the FSPSP (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 11, A7-A9, B50-
B51). Available data and observations indicate that the species was 
regularly heard at FSPSP from 2000 through 2012 at various locations, 
primarily in the main strand swamp and near royal palms (M. Owen, pers. 
comm. 2012a, 2012b; R. Rau, pers. comm. 2012). In November 2007, the 
species was observed along U.S. 41 at Collier-Seminole State Park in 
Collier County (S. Braem, FDEP, pers. comm. 2012). The FDEP also 
suggests that the species may occur at Charlotte Harbor Preserve State 
Park in Charlotte County and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park in Collier 
County (P. Small, FDEP, pers. comm. 2012).
    The Florida bonneted bat has been found in various habitats within 
Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP). During surveys conducted in a 
variety of habitats in 2006-2007, the majority consisting of cypress 
swamps and wetlands, only one call was recorded in 16 survey nights in 
2007 (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 11, A12-A14). The call was recorded at 
Deep Lake along the western edge of BCNP and the eastern side of the 
FSPSP; the lake was surrounded by cypress and hardwood hammocks similar 
to the habitat around Ballard Pond in the FSPSP (see above) (R. Arwood, 
pers. comm. 2008b). The species was recorded again in February 2012 at 
another location (Cal Stone's camp) in an area of pine and palmetto 
with cypress domes in the surrounding area (R. Arwood, pers. comm. 
2012; Marks and Marks 2012, p. 13). Data derived from recordings taken 
in 2003 and 2007 by a contractor and provided to the Service (S. Snow, 
pers. comm. 2012) and available land use covers derived from a 
geographic information system also suggest that the species uses a wide 
array of habitats within BCNP.
    As noted earlier, FWC biologists and volunteers caught a free-
flying juvenile male Florida bonneted bat in 2009 using a mist net in 
the PSSF in Collier County (Smith 2010, p. 1). Habitat composition of 
PSSF includes wet prairie, cypress stands, and pine flatwoods in the 
lowlands and subtropical hardwood hammocks in the uplands, and the 
individual was captured in the net above the Faka-Union Canal (Smith 
2010, p. 1). This was particularly notable because it may have been the 
first capture of a Florida bonneted bat without a roost site being 
known (Smith 2010, p. 1).
    In 2000, the species was found within mangroves at Dismal Key 
within the Ten Thousand Islands (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 861; Marks 
and Marks 2008a, pp. 6, A9, B53; 2012, p. 14). Subsequent surveys in 
2000, 2006, and 2007 did not document any calls at this location (Marks 
and Marks 2008a, pp. 6, 11, 14). In 2007, the species had been recorded 
at a backcountry campsite (Watson's Place) within ENP, comprised of 
mixed hardwoods (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012). In 2012, the species was 
found within mangroves and mixed hardwoods at another backcountry 
campsite (Darwin's Place) along the Wilderness Waterway (Ten Thousand 
Island area), approximately 4.8 kilometers (km) (3 miles) east-
southeast of Watson's Place within ENP (Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 
17, A53, B35, B38; C. Marks, pers. comm. 2012; S. Snow, pers. comm. 
2012). However, the species was not located in similar habitats during 
18 survey nights in 2012 (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 14).
    In 2011-2012, the species was found in various natural habitats 
elsewhere in ENP and vicinity (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2011, 2012; Marks 
and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 14). It was found in wetlands and pinelands at 
the junction of the main park road and road to Long Pine Key (S. Snow, 
pers. comm. 2011, 2012; Marks and Marks 2012, p. 8, 14, 17), and also 
along the L-31N canal in a rural area, at the eastern boundary of ENP 
(S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 14, 17, A59). 
In March 2012, one suspect (presumed, but not confirmed) call sequence 
was also recorded on SR 9336 in an area of rural residential and 
agricultural habitat in Miami-Dade County (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012). 
In January 2012, another suspect call was recorded from the suburban 
streets of the village of Palmetto Bay in Miami-Dade (S. Snow, pers. 
comm. 2012).
    In 2008, the Florida bonneted bat was found at two locations along 
the Kissimmee River during a survey of public areas contracted by FWC 
(J. Morse, pers. comm. 2008, 2010; Marks and Marks 2008b, pp. 2-5; 
2008c, pp. 1-28). One location was at an oxbow along the Kissimmee 
River in a pasture in Kicco; the other was at Platt's Bluff boat ramp 
at a public park on the Kissimmee River (Marks and Marks 2008c, pp. 11, 
17). However, despite numerous attempts, no additional calls were 
detected in the Lake Kissimmee areas or along the Kissimmee River 
during subsequent surveys designed to more completely define the 
northern part of its range (C. Marks, pers. comm. 2012a; Marks and 
Marks 2012, pp. 3, 5, 8, 10) (see Current Distribution).

Use of Parks, Residential, and Other Urban Areas

    The Florida bonneted bat uses human structures and other nonnatural 
environments. In Coral Gables (Miami area), specimens have been found 
in the shafts of royal palm leaves (Belwood 1992, p. 219). Based upon 
observations from G.T Hubbell, past sightings in Miami suggest that 
preferred diurnal roosts may be the shingles under Spanish tile roofs 
(Belwood 1992, p. 219). The species also roosts in buildings (e.g., in 
attics, rock or brick chimneys of fireplaces, and especially buildings 
dating from about 1920-1930) (Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1). One 
individual recently reported that a single Florida bonneted bat had 
come down the chimney and into his residence in Coral Gables in the 
fall about 5 years ago (D. Pearson, pers. comm. 2012). Belwood (1992, 
p. 220) suggested that urban bats would appear to benefit from using 
Spanish tile roofs on dwellings, since the human population in south 
Florida is growing, and such structures are more common now than in the 
past. However, it is important to recognize that bats using old or 
abandoned and new dwellings are at significant risk; bats are removed 
when structures are demolished or when they are no longer tolerated by 
humans and eradicated or excluded from dwellings (see Summary of 
Factors Affecting the Species, Factor E).
    This species may also roost in rocky crevices and outcrops on the 
ground, based on the discovery of an adult for which the specimen tag 
says ``found under rocks when bull-dozing ground'' (Timm and Genoways 
2004, p. 860). A colony was found in a limestone outcropping on the 
north edge of the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables; the 
limestone contained a large number of flat, horizontal, eroded fissures 
in which the bats roosted (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 860). It is not 
known to what extent such roost sites are suitable.
    Recent acoustical surveys (2006, 2008, 2012) confirmed that the 
species continues to use a golf course in urban Coral Gables (Marks and 
Marks 2008a,

[[Page 60757]]

pp. 6, 11, A4; 2008b, pp. 1-6; 2012, pp. 8, 14, 16, 19, A24, B16). 
Despite numerous efforts, attempts to locate the roost site have been 
unsuccessful.
    Recordings taken continuously from a balcony from a fifth floor 
condominium also detected presence in Naples (R. Arwood, pers comm. 
2008a). Recordings taken from a house and at a boat dock along the 
Barron River in Everglades City also detected presence in this area (R. 
Arwood, pers comm. 2008a).
    The species has been documented at Zoo Miami within an urban public 
park in Miami-Dade County (C. Marks, pers. comm. 2011; Ridgley 2012, p. 
1; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 14, 16, A26). A dead specimen was found 
on Zoo Miami (then known as Miami Metrozoo) grounds at the Asian 
Elephant barn in 2004 (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 6). Miami-Dade County 
biologists observed seven bats similar in size to Florida bonneted bats 
and heard chatter at the correct frequency a few years ago, but were 
unable to obtain definitive recordings (S. Thompson, Miami-Dade Park 
and Recreation Department, pers. comm. 2010) until a single call was 
recorded by FBC outside the same enclosure in September 2011 (Ridgley 
2012, p. 1; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 14, 16, A26). Surrounding 
habitats include natural areas and horticulturally altered landscape, 
with a variety of manmade structures (Ridgley 2012, p. 1).
    In 2011 and 2012, the species was recorded within tropical gardens 
at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG) in Miami-Dade County (S. 
Snow, pers. comm. 2011, 2012; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 13-14, 17, 
A35, A37).

Use of Artificial Structures

    The Florida bonneted bat can use artificial structures (Marks and 
Marks 2008a, p. 8; Morse 2008, pp. 1-14; S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2012). 
In fact, all of the active known roosting sites for the species are bat 
houses (two at a private landowner's house; four at Babcock-Webb WMA).
    The species occupies bat houses on private land in North Fort 
Myers, Lee County; until recently, this was the only known location of 
an active colony roost anywhere (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2006a, 2008b; 
Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 7, 15). The Florida bonneted bat has used 
this property for over 9 years (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2012). The bat 
houses are located near a small pond, situated approximately 5 meters 
(17 feet) above the ground with a south by southwest orientation (S. 
Trokey, pers. comm. 2012). The relatively high height of the houses may 
allow the large bats to fall from the roosts before flying (S. Trokey, 
pers. comm. 2012).
    The species also occupies bat houses within pinelands at Babcock-
Webb WMA in Punta Gorda, Charlotte County (Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 
A61). In winter 2008, two colonies were found using bat houses (Morse 
2008, p. 8; N. Douglass, FWC, pers. comm. 2009). In 2010, approximately 
25 individuals were found at two additional bat houses, bringing the 
potential total at Babcock-Webb WMA to 58 individuals, occupying four 
houses (J. Birchfield, FWC, pers. comm. 2010; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 
12, A61). In 2012, 42 individuals were found to use four roost sites, 
consisting of a total of seven bat houses, situated approximately 5 
meters (17 feet) above the ground with north and south orientations (J. 
Myers, pers. comm. 2012a; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 12, 19, A61). 
Roosts at Babcock-Webb WMA are mainly in hydric and mesic pine 
flatwoods with depression and basin marshes and other mixed habitat in 
the vicinity (J. Myers, pers. comm. 2012b).
    In summary, relatively little is known of the species' habitat 
requirements. Based upon available data above, it appears that the 
species can use a wide array of habitat types (see Table 1 above). 
Available information on roosting sites is extremely limited and 
particularly problematic, since the availability of suitable roosts is 
an important, limiting factor for most bat species. Existing roost 
sites need to be identified so they can be preserved and protected 
(Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 15). Uncertainty regarding the location of 
natural and artificial roost sites may contribute to the species' 
vulnerability (see Summary of Factors Affecting the Species, Factors A 
and E below). Since the location of key roost sites is not known, 
inadvertent impacts to and losses of roosts may be more likely to 
occur, placing the species at greater risk. If key roost sites are 
located, actions could be taken to avoid or minimize losses.

Historical Distribution

    Records indicating historical range are limited. Morgan (1991, p. 
200) indicated that E. glaucinus had been identified from four late 
Pleistocene (approximately 11,700 years ago) and Holocene (time period 
beginning 10,000 years ago) fossil sites in the southern half of the 
Florida peninsula. Late Pleistocene remains are known from Melbourne, 
Brevard County, and Monkey Jungle Hammock in Miami-Dade County (Allen 
1932, pp. 256-259; Martin 1977, as cited in Belwood 1981, p. 412 and 
Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 857; Morgan 1991, p. 188). Holocene remains 
are known from Vero Beach, Indian River County (Ray 1958, Martin 1977, 
and Morgan 1985, 2002 as cited in Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 857; 
Morgan 1991, pp. 187-188, 200), and also Monkey Jungle Hammock (Morgan 
1991, p. 188). The largest fossil sample (9 specimens) was reported 
from the Holocene stratum at Vero Beach (Morgan 1985 as cited in Morgan 
1991, p. 200). The fossil records from Brevard County and Indian River 
County are considerably farther north than where living individuals 
have typically been recorded (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 857; Marks and 
Marks 2008b, p.5).
    Timm and Genoways (2004, p. 856) noted that E. floridanus is one of 
the few species of Recent mammals that was described from the 
Pleistocene fossil record before the discovery of living individuals. 
The type specimen (first specimen used to describe the species), 
described by Allen (1932, pp. 256-259) is from Melbourne in Brevard 
County, Florida (Morgan 1991, pp. 187, 200). The type specimen is dated 
from the late Rancholabrean Melbourne Bed, in Brevard County (Morgan 
1991, pp. 187, 200; Timm and Genoways 2004, pp. 858, 860).
    Most of the historical records and sightings for this species are 
several decades old from the cities of Coral Gables and Miami in 
extreme southeastern Florida, where the species was once believed to be 
common (Belwood 1992, pp. 216, 219; Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 857; 
Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1). G.T. Hubbell also reported a 
female with young from Fort Lauderdale in Broward County; all of his 
sightings of Florida bonneted bats were near human dwellings (Belwood 
1992, p. 219). Prior to 1967, G.T. Hubbell regularly heard loud, 
distinctive calls at night as the bats foraged above buildings and he 
routinely obtained several individuals per year that were collected 
during the winter months from people's houses (Belwood 1992, pp. 216-
217). Layne (1974, p. 389) stated, ``This bat has the most restricted 
range of any Florida mammal, being only known from Miami, Coral Gables, 
and Coconut Grove, where it inhabits buildings in residential areas 
with lush vegetative growth'' (Barbour, 1936; Schwartz 1952a; Jennings, 
1958).
    Other early literature also mentioned Fort Lauderdale as an area 
where the species occurred (Barbour and Davis 1969, p. 231; Belwood 
1992, pp. 218-219). However, in their comprehensive review, none of the 
specimens examined by Timm and Genoways (2004, pp. 856-857, 864) were 
from

[[Page 60758]]

Broward County. Belwood (1981, p. 412) found a colony in Punta Gorda; 
however, the longleaf pine in which the bats roosted was felled during 
highway construction. Recent specimens are only known from extreme 
southern and southwestern Florida, including Miami-Dade County on the 
east coast and Charlotte, Collier, and Lee Counties on the Gulf coast 
(Timm and Genoways 2004, pp. 856-857).
    As part of a status survey, Robson (1989, pp. 8-9) examined 
available specimens from museum collections (University of Miami, 
Miami-Dade Community College, and Florida Museum of Natural History) 
dating from 1951-1989. Of the 21 specimens examined, 11 were from Coral 
Gables, 4 were from Miami, 3 were from North Miami, and 3 were from 
Punta Gorda (Robson 1989, p. 8). As part of the same study, Robson 
(1989, p. 9) investigated 44 reports of bats throughout southern 
Florida in 1989, but did not collect or observe the Florida bonneted 
bat. Another 25 sites were selected for acoustical sampling as part of 
this study. Records of bats from the selected sites were generally 
scant or nonexistent; only one record from Coral Gables was found 
(Robson 1989, p. 9). Despite considerable effort (1,724 stops during 
86.2 hours), no additional evidence of the species was found in this 
study (Robson 1989, pp. 9, 15).

Current Distribution

    Endemic to Florida, the Florida bonneted bat has one of the most 
restricted distributions of any species of bat in the New World 
(Belwood 1992, pp. 218-219; Timm and Genoways 2004, pp. 852, 856-858, 
861-862). Although numerous acoustical surveys for the Florida bonneted 
bat have been conducted in the past decade by various parties, the best 
scientific information indicates that the species exists only within a 
very restricted range, confined to south Florida (Timm and Genoways 
2004, pp. 852, 856-858, 861-862; Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 15; 2012, 
pp. 10-11).
    The majority of information relating to current distribution comes 
from the following recent studies: (1) Range-wide surveys conducted in 
2006-2007, funded by the Service, to determine the status of the 
Florida bonneted bat following the 2004 hurricane season, and followup 
surveys in 2008 (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 1-16 and appendices; 2008b, 
pp. 1-6); (2) surveys conducted in 2008 along the Kissimmee River and 
Lake Wales Ridge, funded by the FWC, as part of bat conservation and 
land management efforts (Marks and Marks 2008c, pp. 1-28; 2008d, pp. 1-
21; Morse 2008, p. 2); (3) surveys conducted within BCNP in 2003 and 
2007, funded by the NPS (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012); (4) surveys 
conducted in 2011-2012 in ENP by NPS staff (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012); 
(5) surveys conducted in 2010-2012, funded by the Service, to fill past 
gaps and better define the northern and southern extent of the species' 
range (Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 1-22 and appendices); and (6) 
recordings taken from proposed wind energy facilities in Glades and 
Palm Beach Counties (C. Coberly, Merlin Environmental, pers. comm. 
2012; C. Newman, Normaneau Associates, Inc, pers. comm. 2012). These 
survey efforts and results are described in more detail below.
(1) Range-Wide Survey
    Results of range-wide acoustical surveys in 2006-2007 documented 
presence in Charlotte, Lee, Collier, and Miami-Dade Counties (see Table 
1; Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 11). As part of this study, all previous 
known locations for the Florida bonneted bat and other previously 
unsurveyed areas were surveyed to determine presence (Marks and Marks 
2008a, p. 3). In total, 50 survey nights were conducted at select 
locations in south Florida with 48 areas surveyed (Marks and Marks 
2008a, pp. 9-10; 2012, p. 5). Echolocation calls were recorded by 
researchers at six of the areas surveyed (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 
10). Although Broward County was previously considered part of the 
species' range (Barbour and Davis 1969, p. 231; Belwood 1992, pp. 218-
219; Hipes et al. 2001, page not numbered), Marks and Marks (2008a, p. 
13) did not record any Florida bonneted bat calls in the Fort 
Lauderdale or surrounding areas. The species was not recorded on the 
east coast of Florida north of Coral Gables as part of the 2006-2007 
survey (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 10).
    Following this study, Marks and Marks (2008a, p. 10) concluded that 
``based on the surveys conducted to date, the full extent of the 
Florida bonneted bat population exists within a very limited range 
extending from the Babcock Webb WMA through southwest Florida to south 
Miami and Homestead.'' More detailed information regarding locations is 
provided above (see Habitat and Table 1 above and Population/Status 
below). Although there was no detection of presence in the Everglades 
region during the 2006-2007 range-wide survey, additional work within 
ENP was recommended because this area links the east and west portions 
of the range (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 15).
(2) Surveys along the Kissimmee River
    Surveys conducted for the FWC in the Lake Wales Ridge and Kissimmee 
River areas in 2008 indicated presence within Polk and Okeechobee 
Counties, at two locations along the Kissimmee River (see Table 1; 
Marks and Marks 2008b, p. 2; 2008c, pp. 1-28). As part of these 
studies, select areas in the Kissimmee River area (9 nights at 25 
locations) and along the Lake Wales Ridge (6 nights at 13 locations) 
were surveyed for possible presence (Marks and Marks 2008c, pp. 1-28; 
2008d, pp. 1-21). Detection of presence along the Kissimmee River was 
significant as this was the first time the species had been found north 
of Lake Okeechobee except in fossil records and effectively extended 
the known range 80 km (50 miles) north (Marks and Marks 2008b, pp. 2, 
5; 2008c, pp. 1-28). Calls were recorded at Kicco and Platt's Bluff 
along the Kissimmee River in Polk and Okeechobee Counties in May 2008 
(see Table 1) (Marks and Marks 2008b, p. 2; 2008c, pp. 11, 17). The 
Platt's Bluff finding is 85 km (53 miles) northeast of the nearest 
previously recorded location, which was in Telegraph Swamp within the 
Babcock Ranch (Marks and Marks 2008b, p. 3). Additional surveys to 
better assess the population in the Kissimmee River area were 
recommended as a future action (Marks and Marks 2008b, p. 5).
    Other stationary and roving acoustical surveys of select public 
lands in the southwest region of Florida contracted by FWC in 2007-2008 
did not produce any additional occurrences (Morse 2008, pp. 1-14). The 
bat was only found at Babcock-Webb WMA and at two WMAs along the 
Kissimmee River; however, it was not found at Chassahowitzka, Hilochee, 
or Hickory Hammock WMAs or during surveys along the Lake Wales Ridge 
(Morse 2008, pp. 1-14; Marks and Marks 2008b, p. 3). It was not found 
elsewhere in Highlands, Okeechobee, or Polk Counties (Marks and Marks 
2008c, pp. 1-28; 2008d, pp. 1-21).
(3) Surveys in Big Cypress
    Acoustical surveys conducted in 2003 and 2007 documented presence 
within BCNP at numerous locations (see Table 1; S. Snow, pers. comm. 
2012). In 2003, positive calls were found at nine locations over 24 
nights. In 2007, positive calls were found at 15 locations over 22 
nights.
(4) Surveys in the Everglades Region
    Acoustical surveys conducted on 41 nights in the Everglades region 
from October 2011 to May 2012 by Skip Snow (pers. comm. 2012) 
documented presence at several locations within

[[Page 60759]]

ENP and surrounding locations (see Table 1). These findings are 
significant since the importance of the Everglades region to the 
Florida bonneted bat had been previously in question. In addition, some 
findings (e.g., FTBG, L-31N canal) represented new occurrences within 
the species' known range.
(5) Surveys To Examine Extent of Range
    Surveys conducted in 2010-2012 designed to specifically examine 
past gaps and better define the northern and southern extent of the 
species' range improved understanding of the species' geographic extent 
(Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 1-22 and appendices). As part of this study, 
48 locations were surveyed, including 15 nights in the area surrounding 
Lake Kissimmee or along the Kissimmee River (Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 
5, 9). Results of this study and additional work by researchers did not 
suggest presence north of Punta Gorda or east of Babcock Ranch in 
Charlotte County (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 10). In addition, Florida 
bonneted bat calls were not recorded between Lake Okeechobee and the 
east coast of Florida, which supports previous work indicating no 
evidence of the species on the east coast north of Miami (Marks and 
Marks 2012, p. 10). Although new findings in the southern portion of 
the established range were confirmed (e.g., FTBG, L-31N canal, Long 
Pine Key in ENP, Zoo Miami, and Darwin's place), presence was not 
detected in other areas (e.g., Key Largo or Card Sound Road) (Marks and 
Marks 2012, pp. 8-10). Consequently, researchers concluded that the 
proposed range map from 2008 should remain unchanged, as the previous 
recordings in the Kissimmee River area were unexplained outliers (Marks 
and Marks 2008a, p. 11; 2012, pp. 10-11). In their view, the species' 
range encompasses Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Monroe, and Miami-Dade 
Counties, with only fractions of Glades, Hendry, and Broward Counties 
included (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 11).
(6) Recordings at Proposed Wind Energy Sites
    In 2011, possible Florida bonneted bat calls were reported in 
Glades County near a proposed wind farm project, located in mixed 
habitat types, west of Lake Okeechobee (D. Torcolacci, HurricaneWind, 
Ridgeline Energy, pers. comm. 2012; C. Coberly, pers. comm. 2012). At 
this time, recordings (from 7 nights) are considered unconfirmed due to 
current disagreement between experts and are best classified as 
``possible'' Florida bonneted bat calls (C. Coberly, pers. comm. 2012). 
If present, this would be a significant finding, as the species was not 
previously documented in Glades County. Recordings from another 
proposed wind energy facility in Palm Beach County did not confirm 
presence (C. Newman, pers. comm. 2012). Of 175,802 bat calls analyzed 
over 12 months at 4 locations at the project site in Palm Beach County, 
no Florida bonneted bat calls have been identified (C. Newman, pers. 
comm. 2012).
    In summary, the Florida bonneted bat appears to be restricted to 
south and southwest Florida. The core range may primarily consist of 
habitat within Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Monroe, and Miami-Dade 
Counties. Recent data also suggest use of portions of Okeechobee and 
Polk counties and possible use of areas within Glades County. However, 
given available data, it is not clear to what extent areas outside of 
the core range may be used. It is possible that areas outside of the 
south and southwest Florida are used only seasonally or sporadically. 
Alternatively, these areas may be used consistently, but the species 
was not regularly detected due to the limitations of available data, 
survey methods, and search efforts.

Population Estimates and Status

    Little information exists on historical population levels. The 
Florida bonneted bat was considered common in the Miami-Coral Gables 
area because of regular collection of specimens from 1951 to 1965 
(Robson 1989, p. 2; Belwood 1992, p. 216). Jennings (1958, p. 102) 
indicated that the species was not abundant, noting that a total of 20 
individuals had been taken from 1936 to 1958. Prior to 1967, G.T. 
Hubbell regularly heard loud, distinctive calls at night as the bats 
foraged above buildings in the Miami area, and he routinely obtained 
several individuals per year that were collected from people's houses 
(Belwood 1992, pp. 216-217). Barbour and Davis (1969, p. 234) indicated 
that, on average, about two individuals per year are brought to the 
Crandon Park Zoo in Miami, due to injuries, but no time period was 
specified.
    Unpublished data from a survey of 100 pest control companies in 
1982 on the southeastern coast of Florida showed that requests to 
remove ``nuisance'' bats from this area all but ceased beginning in the 
1960s (Belwood 1992, p. 217), indicating a sharp decline in bats in 
general. Timm and Genoways (2004, p. 861) found only three records of 
Florida bonneted bats in the greater Miami area after 1965. The colony 
found near Punta Gorda in 1979 appeared to be the only recorded 
occurrence since 1967 (Belwood 1981, p. 412). A 6-week field trip in 
1980 to locate other occurrences was unsuccessful and led to the belief 
that this species was ``probably extinct in Florida'' (Belwood 1992, p. 
217). No new evidence of this species was found from 1979 until 1988 
when Robson et al. (1989, p. 81) found a pregnant female in Coral 
Gables (Robson 1989, p. 2).
    Timm and Genoways (2004, p. 861) surmised that the Florida bonneted 
bat may have been uncommon for several decades, based upon the work of 
previous researchers (Barbour 1945 as cited in Timm and Genoways 2004, 
p. 861; Jennings 1958, p. 102; Layne 1974, pp. 389-390), who noted the 
scarcity of bats in southern Florida. Owre (1978, p. 43) observed fewer 
than a dozen individuals in roughly 25 years and noted that few 
mammalogists had success in finding the species. Robson (1989, p. 5) 
indicated that the decline of specimens and sightings in the mid-1960s 
is reflected in the museum record and noted that the 1950s and 1960s 
was a period of rapid growth in the Miami area. Robson (1989, pp. 5-9) 
suggested that the resulting disturbance and destruction of native 
habitat may have flushed a large number of specimens out of established 
roosts, resulting in a high collection rate. A status survey conducted 
in 1989, encompassing 25 sites within natural areas within a nine-
county area, found no new evidence of this species (Robson 1989, pp. 1, 
3-5, 8).

Population Size Estimates

    Based upon available data and information, the Florida bonneted bat 
occurs within a restricted range and in low abundance (Marks and Marks 
2008a, p. 15; 2012, pp. 9-15; Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1; FWC 
2011a, pp. 3-4; FWC 2011b, pp. 3, 6; R. Timm, pers. comm. 2012). Actual 
population size is not known, and no population viability analyses are 
available (FWC 2011a, p. 4). However, population size is thought to be 
less than that needed for optimum viability (Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 
2008, p. 1). As part of their evaluation of listing criteria for the 
species, Gore et al. (2010, p. 2) found that the extent of occurrence 
appears to have declined on the east coast, but trends on the west 
coast could not be inferred due to limited information.
    In his independent review of the FWC's biological status report, 
Ted Fleming, Emeritus Professor of biology at University of Miami, 
noted that anecdotal evidence from the 1950s and 1960s suggests that 
this species was more common along Florida's southeast coast compared 
with the present (FWC 2011b, p. 3). Fleming stated that, ``There

[[Page 60760]]

can be no doubt that E. floridanus is an uncommon bat throughout its 
very small range. Its audible echolocation calls are distinctive and 
easily recognized, making it relatively easy to survey in the field'' 
(FWC 2011b, p. 3). He also stated that he does not doubt that the total 
State population numbers ``in the hundreds or low thousands'' (FWC 
2011b, p. 3).
    Similarly, in response to a request for information as part of the 
Service's annual Candidate Notice of Review, Robert Timm (pers. comm. 
2012), Curator of Mammals at Department of Ecology and Evolutionary 
Biology and Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas, 
indicated that numbers are low, in his view, as documented by survey 
attempts. ``Eumops are very obvious bats where they occur because of 
their large size and distinctive calls. Given the efforts to locate 
them throughout southern Florida, if they were there in any significant 
numbers, they would have been located'' (R. Timm, pers. comm. 2012).
    Results of the 2006-2007 range-wide survey (see Range-wide survey 
above) suggested that the Florida bonneted bat is a rare species with 
limited range and low abundance (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 15). Based 
upon results of both the range-wide study and survey of select public 
lands, the species was found at 12 locations (Marks and Marks 2008b, p. 
4), but the number and status of the bat at each location are unknown. 
Based upon the small number of locations where calls were recorded, the 
low numbers of calls recorded at each location, and the fact that the 
species forms small colonies, Marks and Marks (2008a, p. 15) stated 
that it is possible that the entire population of Florida bonneted bats 
may number less than a few hundred individuals.
    Results of the 2010-2012 surveys (see Surveys to examine extent of 
range) and additional surveys by other researchers identified new 
occurrences within the established range (i.e., within Miami area, 
areas of ENP and BCNP) (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2011, 2012; R. Arwood, 
pers. comm. 2012; Marks and Marks 2012, p. 8), however, not in 
sufficient numbers to alter previous population estimates. In their 
2012 report on the status of the species, Marks and Marks (2012, p. 12) 
provided an updated estimation of population size, based upon 120 
nights of surveys at 96 locations within peninsular Florida, results of 
other known surveys, and personal communications with others involved 
in Florida bonneted bat work. Based upon an average colony size of 11 
and an estimated 26 colonies within the species' range, researchers 
estimated the total Florida bonneted bat population at 286 bats (Marks 
and Marks 2012, pp. 12-15).
    Similarly, the 2011 International Union for Conservation of Nature 
Red List of Threatened Species lists the species as ``critically 
endangered'' because ``its population size is estimated to number fewer 
than 250 mature individuals, with no subpopulation greater than 50 
individuals, and it is experiencing a continuing decline'' (Timm and 
Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1). The FNAI (2012, pp. 24, 28) also considers 
the global element rank of the Florida bonneted bat to be G1, meaning 
it is critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or 
fewer occurrences or less than 1000 individuals) or because of extreme 
vulnerability to extinction due to some natural or manmade factor.

Acoustical Survey Efforts as Indicators of Rarity

    Results of the original 2006-2007 acoustical range-wide survey (see 
Range-wide survey above) indicated that of 4,938 calls recorded and 
analyzed, only 37 (0.75 percent) were from Florida bonneted bats (Marks 
and Marks 2008a, acoustical data). Of these, 13 were from the FSPSP, 11 
from Babcock Ranch, 6 near the bat houses in Lee County, 3 from 
Babcock-Webb WMA, 3 from Coral Gables, and 1 from the Homestead area 
(Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 11, acoustical data). Although this survey 
had targeted areas that likely support the Florida bonneted bat (i.e., 
all previous known locations and other previously unsurveyed areas), 
the species' echolocation calls were only recorded at 6 of the 48 areas 
surveyed over 50 survey nights (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 3, 9-10).
    Additional work in the Coral Gables, South Miami, and Homestead 
area in September 2008 helped to better determine presence in these 
areas and resulted in 42 additional Florida bonneted bat calls (39 in 
Coral Gables, 2 in Homestead, and 1 at Snapper Creek Park). However, no 
additional calls were recorded in five other areas searched (Marks and 
Marks 2008b, p. 5).
    In the 2008 study of WMAs along the Kissimmee River (see Surveys 
along the Kissimmee River above), of 673 call sequences recorded and 
analyzed, only 10 (1.4 percent) were the Florida bonneted bat (Marks 
and Marks 2008c, pp. 7-17). This study involved 9 nights at 25 
locations in May 2008 (Marks and Marks 2008c, pp. 1-28). Additionally, 
none of the 533 call sequences along the Lake Wales Ridge area were of 
the Florida bonneted bat (Marks and Marks 2008d, pp. 7-13). That study 
involved 6 nights at 13 locations along the Lake Wales Ridge in May 
2008.
    Recordings taken continuously (24 hours a day) from a fifth floor 
balcony of a condominium in Naples generated only 5 Florida bonneted 
bat calls in 398 nights of recording (R. Arwood, pers. comm. 2008a; 
Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 11). The number of Florida bonneted bat calls 
was exceedingly low, considering that on an average night more than 
1,000 total calls (i.e., all bat species) were recorded (R. Arwood, 
pers. comm. 2008a). Recordings taken in Everglades City generated 33 
Florida bonneted bat calls in 328 nights of sampling (R. Arwood, pers. 
comm. 2008a; Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 11).
    Results from 42 acoustical surveys (36 mobile and 6 stationary) 
conducted on 41 nights (from October 2011 to May 2012) in the ENP and 
surrounding areas (see Surveys in the Everglades region above) also 
produced relatively few call sequences indicating presence of the 
Florida bonneted bat (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012). One call sequence was 
recorded at the junction of Main Park Road and the road to Long Pine 
Key campground in an acoustic mobile survey route that was run 24 times 
(covering a total of 1,108.5 km (688.8 miles)). On the evening of March 
29, 2012, a total of 11 call sequences were confirmed for the Florida 
bonneted bat along the L-31N canal FPL corridor along a 13.7-km (8.5-
mile) stretch. On December 22, 2011, and January 9, 2012, a total of 
five call sequences were confirmed for the Florida bonneted bat at 
FTBG. Additional suspect calls were recorded along SR 9336 in a rural 
and agricultural area and along the suburban streets of the village of 
Palmetto Bay.
    Results of the 2010-2012 study to examine the northern and southern 
parts of the species' range (see Surveys to examine extent of range 
above) located the species in only 8 of 48 locations, 3 of which were 
previously known (Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 1-22 and appendices). Given 
that researchers were specifically targeting areas to maximize the 
chances of recording the species (G. Marks, pers. comm. 2012), the 
number of presences recorded was extremely low. Of 5,289 calls recorded 
and analyzed, only 33 (0.71 percent) were from Florida bonneted bats 
(Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 16-18 and acoustical data).
    Overall, considering existing literature and data by multiple 
parties and expert opinion (see above), it appears that the species has 
a very small population. Given so few Florida bonneted bat calls 
recorded with considerable survey efforts, it is not likely that 
abundance is appreciably

[[Page 60761]]

larger than the current available population estimates given above.

Estimating Colony Sizes and Locations

    Actual colony sizes or locations of roosts other than bat houses 
are not known. However, some limited information from natural and 
artificial roosting sites exists (see Life History above). Based upon 
roosting information from Belwood (1981, pp. 411-413) and current bat 
houses (at Babcock-Webb WMA and North Fort Myers), Marks and Marks 
(2012, p. 12) estimated an average colony size of 11 for the species. 
Based upon the surveys conducted to date and experience with the 
species, researchers estimated 26 colonies at the following 11 
locations (Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 13-14).
    Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area--The colonies at Babcock-Webb 
WMA are the only known roosts on public lands and effectively tripled 
the number of known active colonies (N. Douglass, pers. comm. 2009). 
The 33 individuals recorded in 2009 appeared to be the largest single 
discovery of the species recorded in recent years (N. Douglass, pers. 
comm. 2009). In 2010, monitoring by FWC indicated approximately 25 
individuals at 2 additional bat houses, bringing the potential total at 
Babcock-Webb WMA to 58 individuals, occupying 4 roosts (J. Birchfield, 
pers. comm. 2010). In 2012, researchers found 42 individuals using 4 
roosts (J. Myers, pers. comm. 2012a). In addition, FWC biologists 
report also hearing Florida bonneted bat calls in the vicinity of red-
cockaded woodpecker cavity trees on site (J. Myers, pers. comm. 2012a). 
Researchers counted the occupied bat houses as four colonies, but 
believe that there may be an additional two natural roost sites within 
the area for a possible total of 6 colonies (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 
13, 15). In their estimation, the low numbers of calls recorded during 
numerous roving surveys did not support estimating more colonies in 
this area (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 13).
    Babcock Ranch--Calls recorded at Telegraph Swamp at Babcock Ranch 
in 2007 are believed to represent separate colonies from those at 
Babcock-Webb WMA (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. A9; 2012, p. 13). Due to 
the property's size, more than one colony may be present; researchers 
estimated two colonies (based upon area), until additional survey work 
can be completed (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 13).
    North Fort Myers--In Lee County, the Florida bonneted bat has 
continually used bat houses on one private property since December 2002 
(S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2006a; 2012; Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 7). This 
was the first record of this species using a bat house as a roost and 
the only known location of an active colony roost located on private 
land (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2006a; Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 7-15). 
The colony had included approximately 20 to 24 individuals in 2 houses 
(S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2008a, 2008b), but only 10 remained by April 
2010 after the prolonged cold temperatures in January and February 2010 
(S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2010a, 2010b, 2010c) (see also Summary of 
Factors Affecting the Species, Factor E below). In May 2011, 
researchers found 20 Florida bonneted bats using this site (S. Trokey, 
pers. comm. 2011), and as of February 2012, they found 18 individuals 
using 2 houses (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2012). Surveys in the area did 
not detect additional Florida bonneted bat calls (Marks and Marks 
2008a, p. 11). Researchers counted the bat houses as two colonies 
(Marks and Marks 2012, p. 13).
    Naples--Available data from a single fixed site suggest that the 
species is present in the area (R. Arwood, pers. comm. 2008a; Marks and 
Marks 2008a, p. 11). The few positive calls are not indicative of a 
large number of Florida bonneted bats in the area; however, researchers 
estimate that at least one colony occurs in the area (Marks and Marks 
2012, p. 13).
    Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and Picayune Strand State 
Forest--A large number of Florida bonneted bat calls have been reported 
in recent years in the FSPSP and vicinity (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 
6, 11). A juvenile male was captured in a mist net above a canal in 
PSSF in 2009, but no other Florida bonneted bats were captured during 
additional trapping efforts (14 trap nights) (K. Smith, pers. comm. 
2010; Smith 2010, p. 1). Researchers suspect that there are at least 
two and possibly three colonies using this area; they estimated three 
colonies, based upon the large number of calls recorded consistently at 
these adjacent sites (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 13).
    Big Cypress National Preserve--Calls have been recorded at various 
locations (e.g., Deep Lake, Cal Stone's camp, Loop Road) by multiple 
parties (R. Arwood, pers. comm. 2008b, 2012; S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012; 
Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 11, A12-A14; 2012, pp. 13-14). Survey 
efforts from 2003 and 2007 by one contractor (Fly-By-Night) recorded 
presence at several locations (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012). However, 
results of the rangewide survey in 2006-2008 recorded only one call at 
Deep Lake in 12 nights of surveys (R. Arwood, pers. comm. 2008b; Marks 
and Marks 2008a, pp. 11, A12-A14). In 2012, five calls were recorded at 
Cal Stone's camp during 2 nights of survey (R. Arwood, pers. comm. 
2012; Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 13-14). Based upon their experience of 
calls recorded on only two occasions with considerable effort, 
researchers estimate there are three colonies using this area (Marks 
and Marks 2012, pp. 13-14). However, since the area is large and 
protected, additional colonies may also exist in this area.
    Everglades City--Available data suggest that the species is present 
in the area (R. Arwood, pers. comm. 2008a), but due to the paucity of 
positive calls, researchers estimate that one colony occurs in the area 
(Marks and Marks 2012, p. 14).
    Everglades National Park (mainland)--Despite significant effort 
(see above) in 2011 and 2012, only one call sequence was recorded at 
the junction of main park road and Long Pine Key campground road in an 
acoustic mobile survey route run 24 times (S. Snow, pers. comm. 2012). 
Results of the 2006-2008 survey did not detect Florida bonneted bat 
calls in the Long Pine Key area, which was thought to be the most 
likely location for the species (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 10; 2012, p. 
14). Researchers estimate one colony at Long Pine Key, given the few 
calls detected and considerable survey effort (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 
14). Other areas of marshland are not likely to support colonies, due 
to lack of suitable roosting sites (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 14).
    Ten Thousand Islands area--The Florida bonneted bat was found at 
Dismal Key in Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge in 2000 
(Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 861; B. Nottingham, pers. comm. 2006; T. 
Doyle, pers. comm. 2006; C. Marks, pers. comm. 2006c; Marks and Marks 
2008a, p. 6). Calls were not recorded during the 2006-2007 survey in 
areas searched by boat from Dismal Key to Port of the Islands (Marks 
and Marks 2008a, pp. 11, 14, A9). In 2012, only one call was recorded 
at Darwin's Place in ENP in 18 survey nights in areas searched from 
Flamingo to Everglades City (Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 8, 14, A50). 
Darwin's Place is approximately 4.8 km (3 miles) from Watson's Place, 
where another researcher (Laura Finn, Fly-By-Night) had recorded 10 
Florida bonneted bat calls in 2007 (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 14; S. 
Snow, pers. comm. 2012). Researchers estimate that there is one colony 
near Dismal Key and one colony in the Watson/Darwin area of ENP (Marks 
and Marks 2012, p. 14).

[[Page 60762]]

    Homestead area--Calls recorded in the Homestead area in 2006 and in 
2008 suggest that one colony exists, possibly located east of U.S. 1 
(Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 11, A6-A7; 2008b, p. 5; 2012, p. 14).
    Coral Gables and Miami area--Florida bonneted bat calls have been 
consistently recorded in acoustical surveys at the Granada Golf Course 
in Coral Gables, but not elsewhere in the vicinity (Marks and Marks 
2008a, p. 6, A4; 2008b, pp. 1-6; 2012, p. 14). Since calls are recorded 
so shortly after sunset, the species may be roosting on or adjacent to 
the golf course (Marks and Marks 2012, p. 14). Calls recorded at 
Snapper Creek Park in south Miami in 2008, Zoo Miami in 2011, FTBG in 
2011 and 2012, and the L31-N canal in 2012 suggest that colonies are at 
or near these locations (Marks and Marks 2008b, pp. 1-2; 2012, pp. 1-22 
and appendices; Ridgley 2012, p. 1; S. Snow, pers. comm. 2011, 2012). 
Overall, researchers estimate four colonies in southwestern Miami and 
Coral Gables (Marks and Marks 2012, pp. 14-15).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR part 424, set forth the procedures for adding 
species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a species based 
on any of the following five factors: (A) The present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; and (E) other natural or manmade 
factors affecting its continued existence. Listing actions may be 
warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in 
combination. Each of these factors is discussed below.

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    Habitat loss and alteration in forested and urban areas are major 
threats to the Florida bonneted bat (Belwood 1992, p. 220; Timm and 
Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1). In natural areas, this species may be 
impacted when forests are converted to other uses or when old trees 
with cavities are removed (Belwood 1992, p. 220; Timm and Arroyo-
Cabrales 2008, p. 1). In urban settings, this species may be impacted 
when buildings with suitable roosts are demolished (Robson 1989, p. 15; 
Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1) or when structures are modified to 
exclude bats. Although the species' habitat preferences and extent of 
range are not well understood, significant land use changes have 
occurred in south Florida and additional habitat losses are expected in 
the future, placing the species at risk. Uncertainty regarding the 
species' specific habitat needs and requirements arguably contributes 
to the degree of this threat. Without information on key roosting sites 
and foraging areas, inadvertent impacts to and losses of habitat may be 
more likely to occur through various sources and stressors (see below), 
and habitat losses will likely be more difficult to avoid.
Land Use Changes and Human Population Growth
    Significant land use changes have occurred through time in south 
Florida, including major portions of the species' historical and 
current range. In his examination of Florida's land use history, 
Solecki (2001, p. 350) stated that tremendous land use changes took 
place from the early 1950s to the early and mid-1970s. During this 
time, ``an almost continuous strip of urban development became present 
along the Atlantic coast'' and urban land uses became well established 
in the extreme southeastern portion of the region, particularly around 
the cities of Miami and Fort Lauderdale and along the entire coastline 
northward to West Palm Beach (Solecki 2001, p. 350). Similarly, Solecki 
(2001, p. 345) found tremendous urban expansion within the Gulf coast 
region, particularly near Ft. Myers since the 1970s, with the rate of 
urban land conversion superseding the rate of agricultural conversion 
in recent decades.
    In another examination, the extent of land use conversions for 
southwest Florida (Collier, Lee, Hendry, Charlotte, and Glades 
Counties) between 1986 and 1996 was estimated using a change detection 
analysis performed by Beth Stys (FWC, unpublished data) (Service 2008, 
p. 37). The area of disturbed lands increased 31 percent in these five 
counties between 1986 and 1996, with the greatest increases in 
disturbed lands occurring in Hendry and Glades Counties. Most (66 
percent) of the land use change over the 10-year period was due to 
conversion to agricultural uses. Forest cover types accounted for 42 
percent of land use conversions, dry prairies accounted for 37 percent, 
freshwater marsh accounted for 9 percent, and shrub and brush lands 
accounted for 8 percent.
    In another analysis, Stys calculated the extent of seminatural and 
natural lands that were converted to agricultural and urban or 
developed areas in Florida between 1985-1989 and 2003 (B. Stys, pers. 
comm. 2005; Service 2008, p. 38). Based upon this analysis, 
approximately 1,476 km\2\ (570 mi\2\) of natural and seminatural lands 
in Glades, Hendry, Lee, Collier, Broward, Monroe, and Miami-Dade 
Counties were converted during this time period (FWC, unpublished 
data). Of these, approximately 880 km\2\ (340 mi\2\) were conversions 
to agricultural uses and 596 km\2\ (230 mi\2\) to urban uses. In 
Charlotte County, 26,940 acres (10,902 hectares) (9.6 percent of the 
county) were converted to agriculture, and 21,712 acres (8,787 
hectares) (7.8 percent) were converted to urban uses in the time period 
examined. In Lee County, 16,705 acres (6,760 hectares) (6.3 percent) 
were converted to agriculture, and 44,734 acres (18,103 hectares) (16.8 
percent) were developed. In Collier County, 34,842 acres (14,100 
hectares) (3.1 percent) were converted to agriculture, and 38,331 acres 
(15,512 hectares) (3.4 percent) were developed.
    Habitat loss and human population growth in south Florida are 
continuing. The human population in south Florida has increased from 
fewer than 20,000 people in 1920 to more than 4.6 million by 1990 
(Solecki 2001, p. 345). The population of Miami-Dade County, one area 
where the Florida bonneted bat was historically common, increased from 
fewer than 500,000 people in 1950 to nearly 2.5 million in 2010 (http://quickfacts.census.gov). In one projection, all counties with current 
Florida bonneted bat occurrences were forecasted to increase in human 
population density, with most counties expected to grow by more than 
750 people per square mile by 2060 (Wear and Greis 2011, pp. 26-27).
    In another model, three counties with current known occurrences of 
the Florida bonneted bat--Charlotte, Lee, and Collier--are expected to 
reach buildout (fully develop) before 2060 (Zwick and Carr 2006, pp. 
12-13, 16). For the period between 2040 and 2060, the population of Lee 
and Collier Counties is projected to exceed the available vacant land 
area, so the population was modeled to allow spillover into adjacent 
counties (Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 13). According to human population 
distribution models, south Florida is expected to become mostly 
urbanized, with the exception of some of the agricultural lands north 
and south of Lake Okeechobee (Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 2). Even the 
central Florida region, at what would be the northern limit of this 
species' distribution, will be almost entirely urbanized (Zwick and 
Carr 2006, p. 2). In an independent

[[Page 60763]]

review of the FWC's biological status report for the species, Fleming 
stated, ``Continued urbanization of south Florida will undoubtedly have 
a negative impact on this bat'' (FWC 2011b, p. 3).
Loss of Forested Habitat
    Loss of native forested habitat and roost sites are major threats 
to the Florida bonneted bat. A highway construction project in Punta 
Gorda in 1979 destroyed a roost tree (Belwood 1981, p. 412; 1992, p. 
220). One museum specimen was originally discovered under a rock that 
was turned over by a bulldozer clearing land (Robson 1989, p. 9). 
Robson (1989, pp. 1-18) attributed the loss of native forested habitat, 
reduced insect abundance (see Factor E), and the ``active persecution 
of bats by humans'' (see Factor E) as the likely major impacts on the 
Florida bonneted bat in Miami-Dade County. Similarly, Belwood (1992, 
pp. 217, 220) indicated that bats in south Florida, including this 
species, appear to have declined drastically in numbers in recent years 
due to loss of roosting sites and effects of pesticides (see Factor E). 
More recently, Timm and Genoways (2004, p. 861) stated that habitat 
loss from development, in combination with other threats (i.e., 
pesticides and hurricanes, see Factor E), may have had a significant 
impact upon the already low numbers of Florida bonneted bats.
    Belwood (1992, p. 220) stated that forested areas are becoming rare 
as a result of human encroachment and that this will severely affect 
the forest occurrences of this species. Similarly, Robson (1989, p. 15) 
indicated that pine rockland, live oak, and tropical hardwood hammocks 
constituted most of the remaining, natural forest in the Miami area and 
that these communities are essential to this species' survival. Belwood 
(1992, p. 220) argued that tree cavities are rare in southern Florida 
and competition for available cavities (e.g., southern flying squirrel 
[Glaucomys volans], red-headed woodpecker [Melanerpes erythrocephalus], 
corn snake [Elaphe guttata guttata]) is intense. She suggested that 
nonurban natural areas such as ENP, Big Cypress/Fakahatchee areas, and 
State WMAs may be the only areas where this species may be found in the 
future, provided old trees with hollows and cavities are retained 
(Belwood 1992, p. 220) (see Land Management Practices).
    Approximately 90 percent of the forested habitats in Florida have 
been altered or eliminated, and losses are expected to continue (Wear 
and Greis 2002, p. 56). In the Southern Forest Resource Assessment, 
Florida was identified as one of the areas expected to experience 
substantial losses of forest in response to human population and 
changes in income (Wear and Greis 2002, p. 164). In the Southern Forest 
Futures Project, peninsular Florida is forecasted to lose the most 
forest land (34 percent) of any of the 21 sections analyzed in the 
south (Wear and Greis 2011, p. 35).
Land Management Practices
    Although species occurrences on conservation lands are inherently 
more protected than those on private lands, habitat alteration during 
management practices may impact natural roosting sites because the 
locations of such sites are unknown. Removal of old or live trees with 
cavities during activities associated with forest management (e.g., 
thinning, pruning), prescribed fire, exotic species treatment, or trail 
maintenance may inadvertently remove roost sites, if such sites are not 
known. Loss of an active roost or removal during critical life-history 
stages (e.g., when females are pregnant or rearing young) can have 
severe ramifications, considering the species' small population size 
and low fecundity (see Factor E).
    Overall, occupied and potential habitat for the Florida bonneted 
bat on forested or wooded lands, both private and public, continues to 
be at risk due to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation from a 
variety of sources. Additional searches for potential roosting sites in 
forested and other natural areas are especially needed.
Loss of Artificial Structures
    Since the Florida bonneted bat will use human dwellings and other 
artificial structures, it is also vulnerable to habitat loss and 
alteration in urban environments (Belwood 1992, p. 220; Timm and 
Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 1). Owre (1978, p. 43) stated that all recent 
specimens had been collected within the suburbs of greater Miami from 
structures built in the 1920s and 1930s. Owre (1978, p. 43) indicated 
that three specimens were taken on the ground, one in a rocky field 
that was being bulldozed, one next to sewer conduits piled near freshly 
dug excavations, and one on a lawn near a university building in which 
the bats roosted. Removal of buildings with spaces suitable for 
roosting is a threat to this species (Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 2008, p. 
1). Robson (1989, p. 15) stated that seemingly innocuous activities 
like destroying abandoned buildings and sealing barrel-tile roof 
shingles may have a severe impact on remaining populations in urban 
areas. Cyndi and George Marks (pers. comm. 2008) stated that Florida 
bonneted bats can move into new buildings as well and ``the fact that 
they adapt well to manmade structures has most likely been a large 
factor in their decline'' (see Factor E). The use of buildings or other 
structures inhabited by or near humans places bats at risk of 
inadvertent or purposeful removal and displacement (see Factor E).
Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
    Our analyses under the Act include consideration of ongoing and 
projected changes in climate. The terms ``climate'' and ``climate 
change'' are defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
(IPCC). ``Climate'' refers to the mean (average) and variability of 
different types of weather conditions over time, with 30 years being a 
typical period for such measurements, although shorter or longer 
periods also may be used (IPCC 2007, p. 78). The term ``climate 
change'' thus refers to a change in the mean or variability of one or 
more measures of climate (e.g., temperature or precipitation) that 
persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer, whether 
the change is due to natural variability, human activity, or both (IPCC 
2007, p. 78). Various types of changes in climate can have direct or 
indirect effects on species. These effects may be positive, neutral, or 
negative, and they may change over time, depending on the species and 
other relevant considerations, such as the effects of interactions of 
climate with other variables (e.g., habitat fragmentation) (IPCC 2007, 
pp. 8-14, 18-19). In our analyses, we use our expert judgment to weigh 
relevant information, including uncertainty, in our consideration of 
various aspects of climate change.
    Climatic changes, including sea level rise, are major threats to 
south Florida, including the Florida bonneted bat and its habitat. In 
general, the IPCC reported that the warming of the world's climate 
system is unequivocal based on documented increases in global average 
air and ocean temperatures, unprecedented melting of snow and ice, and 
rising average sea level (IPCC 2007, p. 2; 2008, p. 15). On a global 
scale, sea level rise results from the thermal expansion of warming 
ocean water, water input to oceans from the melting of ice sheets, 
glaciers, and ice caps, and the addition of water from terrestrial 
systems (United Nations (UN) 2009, p. 26). Sea level rise is the 
largest climate-driven challenge to low-lying coastal areas and refuges 
in the subtropical ecoregion of southern Florida (U.S. Climate Change 
Science Program [CCSP]

[[Page 60764]]

2008, pp. 5-31, 5-32). Loss of land due to sea level rise in south 
Florida is expected to increase development pressure inland and to the 
north, which may accelerate urbanization and exacerbate fragmentation 
from development (CCSP 2008, p. 5-32).
    In a technical paper following its 2007 report, the IPCC (2008, p. 
28) emphasized it is very likely that the average rate of sea level 
rise during the 21st century will exceed that from 1961 to 2003, 
although it was projected to have substantial geographical variability. 
Partial loss of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could result in 
many feet (several meters) of sea level rise, major changes in 
coastlines, and inundation of low-lying areas (IPCC 2008, pp. 28-29). 
Low-lying islands and river deltas will incur the largest impacts (IPCC 
2008, pp. 28-29). According to CCSP (2008, p. 5-31), much of low-lying, 
coastal south Florida ``will be underwater or inundated with saltwater 
in the coming century.'' This means that some occupied, suitable, and 
potential roosting and foraging habitat for the Florida bonneted bat in 
low-lying areas (e.g., Everglades and other coastal areas) will likely 
be either submerged or affected by increased flooding.
    The IPCC (2008, pp. 87, 103) concluded that climate change is 
likely to increase the occurrence of saltwater intrusion as sea level 
rises. Since the 1930s, increased salinity of coastal waters 
contributed to the decline of cabbage palm forests on the west coast of 
Florida (Williams et al. 1999, pp. 2056-2059), expansion of mangroves 
into adjacent marshes in the Everglades (Ross et al. 2000, pp. 108, 
110-111), and loss of pine rockland in the Keys (Ross et al. 1994, pp. 
144, 151-155). Such changes will likely impact the species, since the 
Florida bonneted bat uses forested areas and coastal habitats.
    Hydrology has a strong influence on plant distribution in these and 
other coastal areas (IPCC 2008, p. 57). Such communities typically 
grade from salt to brackish to freshwater species. Human developments 
will also likely be significant factors influencing whether natural 
communities can move and persist (IPCC 2008, p. 57; CCSP 2008, p. 7-6). 
Climate change, human population growth, forest management, and land 
use changes are also expected to increase water stress (water demand 
exceeding availability) within areas of the south, and south Florida is 
considered a hot spot for future water stress (Wear and Greis 2011, pp. 
46-50). For the Florida bonneted bat, this means that some habitat in 
coastal areas will likely change as vegetation changes and additional 
human developments encroach. Any deleterious changes to important 
roosting sites or foraging areas could further diminish the likelihood 
of the species' survival and recovery.
    Scientific evidence that has emerged since the publication of the 
IPCC Report (2007) indicates an acceleration in global climate change. 
Important aspects of climate change seem to have been underestimated 
previously, and the resulting impacts are being felt sooner. For 
example, early signs of change suggest that the 1 [deg]C of global 
warming the world has experienced to date may have already triggered 
the first tipping point of the Earth's climate system--the 
disappearance of summer Arctic sea ice. This process could lead to 
rapid and abrupt climate change, rather than the gradual changes that 
were forecasted. Other processes to be affected by projected warming 
include temperatures, rainfall (amount, seasonal timing, and 
distribution), and storms (frequency and intensity) (see Factor E).
    In the southeast, drier conditions and increased variability in 
precipitation associated with climate change are expected to hamper 
successful regeneration of forests and cause shifts in vegetation types 
through time (Wear and Greis 2011, p. 58). In their study on the impact 
and implications of climate change on bats, Sherwin et al. (2012, p. 8) 
suggested that bats specialized in individual roost sites (i.e., cave 
and tree roosts) at distinct life-history stages are at great risk from 
changing vegetation and climatic conditions. Rebelo et al. (2010, pp. 
561-576) found that tree-roosting bats in Europe may face a reduction 
in suitable roosts if the rate of climate change is too rapid to allow 
the development of equivalent areas of mature broadleaf forests in new 
`climatically suitable areas' as their range extends northward. 
Decreases in forest regeneration may further limit available roosting 
sites for the Florida bonneted bat or increase competition for them.
    Drier conditions and increased variability in precipitation are 
also expected to increase the severity of wildfire events. Climate 
changes are forecasted to extend fire seasons and the frequency of 
large fire events throughout the Coastal Plain (Wear and Greis 2011, p. 
65). Increases in the scale, frequency, or severity of wildfires could 
also have severe ramifications on the Florida bonneted bat, considering 
its forest-dwelling nature and general vulnerability due to its small 
population size, restricted range, few colonies, low fecundity, and 
relative isolation (see Factor E).
    The ranges of recent projections of global sea level rise (Pfeffer 
et al. 2008, p. 1340; Vermeer and Rahmstorf 2009, p. 21530; Grinsted et 
al. 2010, pp. 469-470; Jevrejeva et al. 2010, Global Climate Change 
Impacts in the United States 2009, pp. 25-26) all indicate 
substantially higher levels than the projection by the IPCC in 2007, 
suggesting that the impact of sea level rise on south Florida could be 
even greater than indicated above. These recent studies also show a 
much larger difference (approximately 0.9 to 1.2 meters (3 to 4 feet)) 
from the low to the high ends of the ranges, which indicates the 
magnitude of global mean sea level rise at the end of this century is 
still quite uncertain.
Alternative Future Landscape Models
    Various model scenarios developed at the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology have projected possible trajectories of future 
transformation of the south Florida landscape by 2060 based upon four 
main drivers: climate change, shifts in planning approaches and 
regulations, human population change, and variations in financial 
resources for conservation (Vargas-Moreno and Flaxman 2010, pp. 1-6). 
The Service used various MIT scenarios in combination with available 
acoustical data to predict what may occur with Florida bonneted bat 
colonies in the future, assuming that all colonies are known, that 
acoustical data represented approximate location of a colony's roosting 
site in the future, and that projected impacts to a colony are solely 
tied to assumed roosting location. Potential impacts to foraging 
habitat could not be analyzed, since foraging distance is not known.
    In the best-case scenario, which assumes low sea level rise, high 
financial resources, proactive planning, and only trending population 
growth, analyses suggest that three colonies may be lost. Based upon 
the above assumptions, colonies in North Fort Myers, the Ten Thousand 
Islands area, and the Miami area appear to be most susceptible to 
future losses, with losses attributed to increases in sea level and 
human population. In the worst-case scenario, which assumes high sea 
level rise, low financial resources, a `business as usual' approach to 
planning, and a doubling of human population, six colonies may be 
lost--the colonies noted in the areas above and also some in Homestead 
and BCNP. Actual impacts may be greater or less than anticipated based 
upon high variability of factors involved (e.g., sea level rise, human 
population growth) and assumptions made.

[[Page 60765]]

Summary of Factor A
    We have identified a number of threats to the habitat of the 
Florida bonneted bat which have operated in the past, are impacting the 
species now, and will continue to impact the species in the future. 
Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, and associated pressures 
from increased human population are major threats; these threats are 
expected to continue, placing the species at greater risk. In natural 
or undeveloped areas, the Florida bonneted bat may be impacted when 
forests are converted to other uses or when old trees with cavities are 
removed. Routine land management activities (e.g., thinning, prescribed 
fire) may also cause impacts to roost sites. In urban areas, suitable 
roost sites may also be lost when buildings are demolished or when 
structures are modified to exclude bats. Uncertainty regarding the 
species' specific habitat needs and requirements (i.e., location of 
roost sites) arguably contributes to these threats, by increasing the 
likelihood of inadvertent impacts to and losses of habitat. The effects 
resulting from climatic change, including sea level rise, are expected 
to become severe in the future and result in additional habitat losses, 
including the loss of roost sites and foraging habitat. Although 
efforts are being made to conserve natural areas, the long-term effects 
of large-scale and wide-ranging habitat modification, destruction, and 
curtailment will last into the future. Therefore, based on our analysis 
of the best available information, present and future loss and 
modification of the species' habitat is a threat to the Florida 
bonneted bat throughout all of its range.

Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    There is a general lack of information about the species. Few 
individuals appear to have studied the species, and the majority of 
recent data comes from nonintrusive acoustical recordings. To our 
knowledge, those individuals who have studied or are actively studying 
the Florida bonneted bat are sensitive to its rarity and endemism 
(restricted range). Consequently, collection for scientific and 
educational purposes is extremely limited. We are not aware of any 
known commercial or recreational uses for the species. For these 
reasons, we find that overutilization for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes does not pose a threat to the 
species or is likely to become so in the future.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    The effects of disease or predation are not well known. Because the 
Florida bonneted bat is known from only a few locations and population 
size appears small, both disease and predation could pose threats to 
its survival.
Disease
    White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emerging infectious disease 
affecting insectivorous, cave-dwelling bats. It was first documented in 
2006 in caves west of Albany, New York. Since its discovery, WNS has 
spread rapidly throughout the eastern and central United States and 
southeastern Canada, killing millions of bats. It is expected to 
continue spreading westward and southward. By May 2012, WNS had been 
confirmed in well over 200 caves and mines within 20 states and 4 
Canadian provinces (J. Coleman, pers. comm. 2012). It has not yet been 
documented in Florida.
    WNS is caused by the cold-loving fungus Geomyces destructans, a 
newly described fungus, and is named after the white fungal growth that 
often occurs on the muzzle of affected bats (Gargas et al. 2009, pp. 
147-154; Lorch et al. 2011, pp. 376-379). In North America, G. 
destructans appears to infect bats only during winter hibernation. 
Mortality rates have been observed to vary by species and site, but 
have been as high as 100 percent at some hibernacula (winter bat 
roosts).
    WNS has been recorded in seven North American bat species, all of 
which are known to hibernate in caves and mines. WNS and G. destructans 
have not been detected in bats that typically live outside of caves, 
such as eastern red-bats (Lasiurus borealis), and the fungus is 
believed to need the cave environment to survive. Because the Florida 
bonneted bat spends its entire life cycle outside of caves and mines, 
and in subtropical environments where no torpor or hibernation is 
required, we do not anticipate that it will be adversely affected by 
WNS.
    Prior to the discovery of WNS, infectious diseases had rarely been 
documented as a large-scale cause of mortality in bat populations and 
had not been considered a major issue (Messenger et al. 2003 as cited 
in Jones et al. 2009, p. 108). Jones et al. (2009, pp. 108-109) 
contended that, because increased environmental stress can suppress the 
immune systems of bats and other animals, increased prevalence of 
diseases may be a consequence of altered environments (i.e., bats may 
be more susceptible to disease if they are stressed by other threats). 
These authors contended that bats are excellent potential bioindicators 
because they are reservoirs of a wide range of emerging infectious 
diseases whose epidemiology may reflect environmental stress. Jones et 
al. 2009 (p. 109) suggested that an increased incidence of disease in 
bats may be an important bioindicator of habitat degradation in 
general. Sherwin et al. (2012, p. 14) suggest that warming temperatures 
associated with climate change may increase the spread of disease 
(along with other impacts, see Factor E), which could cause significant 
mortalities to bat populations in general.
    At this time, it is difficult to assess whether disease is 
currently or likely to become a threat to the Florida bonneted bat. 
With anticipated climatic changes and increased environmental stress, 
it is possible that disease will have a greater impact on the Florida 
bonneted bat in the future.
Predation
    In general, animals such as owls, hawks, raccoons, skunks, and 
snakes prey upon bats (Harvey et al. 1999, p. 13). However, few animals 
consume bats as a regular part of their diet (Harvey et al. 1999, p. 
13). There is only one record of natural predation on this species 
(Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 860). A skull of one specimen was found in 
a regurgitated owl pellet at the FSPSP in June 2000 (Timm and Genoways 
2004, pp. 860-861; C. Marks, pers. comm. 2006a; Marks and Marks 2008a, 
p. 6; M. Owen, pers. comm. 2012a, 2012b). Our review of the best 
available information does not suggest that predation is impacting the 
species at this time.
Summary of Factor C
    Disease and predation have the potential to impact the Florida 
bonneted bat's continued survival, given its few colonies, low 
abundance, and restricted range. However, our review of the best 
available information does not indicate that disease (including WNS) 
and predation are threats to the Florida bonneted bat at this time.

Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Despite the fact that regulatory mechanisms provide several 
protections for the Florida bonneted bat, Federal, State, and local 
laws have not been sufficient to prevent past and ongoing impacts to 
the species and its habitat within its current and historical range.
    The taxon was originally listed as endangered in the State of 
Florida as the Florida mastiff bat (Eumops glaucinus floridanus) 
(Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 68). As such, it is

[[Page 60766]]

afforded protective provisions specified in Chapter 68A-27 rules (68A-
27.0011 and 68A-27.003). This designation prohibits any person from 
pursuing, molesting, harming, harassing, capturing, possessing, or 
selling this species, or parts thereof, except as authorized by 
specific permit, with permits being issued only when the permitted 
activity will clearly enhance the survival potential of the species. 
The protection currently afforded the Florida bonneted bat by the State 
of Florida primarily prohibits direct take of individuals (J. Gore, 
pers. comm. 2009). However, there is no substantive protection of 
habitat or protection of potentially suitable habitat at this time.
    As a consequence of the revision of the FWC's listing 
classification system, the Florida bonneted bat's status (and the 
status of other imperiled species) in Florida was changed to 
``threatened'' on November 8, 2010. However, the species' original 
protective measures remained in place (68A-27.003, amended). As part of 
the FWC's revision of its classification system, biological status 
review reports were prepared for numerous imperiled species in Florida, 
including the Florida bonneted bat. Based upon a literature review and 
the biological review group's findings, FWC staff recommended that the 
Florida bonneted bat remain listed as a threatened species (FWC 2011a, 
p. 5). The biological status review recognized the taxon as the Florida 
bonneted bat, and the State's current threatened and endangered list 
uses both names, Florida bonneted (mastiff) bat, Eumops (=glaucinus) 
floridanus.
    As part of the FWC's revision to Florida's imperiled species rule, 
management plans will be developed for all species (68A-27), including 
the Florida bonneted bat. One component of these management plans is to 
include needed regulations and protections that are not provided in the 
current rule (M. Tucker, in litt. 2012). A first draft for the Florida 
bonneted bat management plan is in development (M. Tucker, in litt. 
2012; J. Myers, pers. comm. 2012). When completed, the management plan 
should allow for tailored protections for the species, which may 
improve the ability of FWC to address habitat issues in addition to 
take of individuals (M. Tucker, in litt. 2012).
    Humans often considered bats to be ``nuisance'' species when they 
occur in or around human dwellings or infrastructure (see Factor E). 
The rules for taking of nuisance wildlife are provided under Florida 
Administrative Code Chapter 68A-9.010. Under these rules, property 
owners can take nuisance wildlife or may authorize another person to 
take nuisance wildlife on their behalf. Although these rules do not 
authorize the taking of species listed under Chapter 68A-27 (without an 
incidental take permit from the State), these rules do allow other bat 
species to be taken under certain circumstances. These include when: 
(1) the take is incidental to the use of an exclusion device, a device 
which allows escape from and blocks reentry into a roost site located 
within a structure, or incidental to the use of a registered chemical 
repellant, at any time from August 15 to April 15; or (2) the take is 
incidental to permanent repairs that prohibit the egress of bats from a 
roost site located within a structure, provided an exclusion device is 
used as above for a minimum of 4 consecutive days or nights for which 
the low temperature is forecasted to remain above 10 [deg]C 
(50[emsp14][deg]F) prior to repairs and during the time period 
specified. Chapter 68A-9.010 provides the methods that may not be used 
to take nuisance wildlife, including any method prohibited pursuant to 
Section 828.12 of the Florida Statutes (Florida Cruelty to Animals 
Statutes).
    Use of bat exclusion devices or any other intentional device or 
materials at a roost site that may prevent or inhibit the free ingress 
or egress of bats is prohibited from April 16 through August 14. While 
these restrictions help to limit potential impacts during the maternity 
season for many bat species in Florida, regulations do not require 
definitive identification of the bat species to be excluded prior to 
the use of the device. In addition, it is not clear if this time period 
is broad enough to prevent potential impacts to the Florida bonneted 
bat, which is possibly polyestrous and more tropical in nature, with a 
potentially prolonged sensitive time window where females and young are 
especially vulnerable. Pregnant Florida bonneted bats have been found 
in June through September (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 9), and a second 
birthing season can occur possibly in January-February (Timm and 
Genoways 2004, p. 859; FBC 2005, p. 1). During the early portion of the 
maternal period, females may give birth to young and leave them in the 
roost while making multiple foraging excursions to support lactation 
(Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 8-9). Therefore, despite regulations 
restricting the use of exclusion devices, it is still possible that use 
of such devices can affect the species during sensitive time periods, 
including possible impacts to pregnant females, newborns, or juvenile 
pups.
    The FWC, FBC, Bat Conservation International, and other groups 
maintain a list of qualified exclusion devices, but it is not clear how 
often work is performed by recommended personnel or if it is in 
accordance with State regulations. It is also not clear if those who 
install exclusion devices can readily distinguish between Florida 
bonneted bats and other bat species in Florida (M. Tucker, pers. comm. 
2012). Despite regulations, in some cases, nuisance bats are likely 
being removed by nuisance wildlife trappers through methods that are 
not approved (e.g., removed from roosts with vacuum cleaner-like 
apparatuses) or excluded during time periods that are not permitted 
(e.g., inside the maternity season) (A. Kropp, FWC, pers. comm. 2009).
    In addition, there is conflict between legislation passed by the 
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), which 
classifies bats as rodents, and the current FWC nuisance wildlife 
regulations above (Florida Bat Working Group [FBWG] 2009, p. 3). 
According to FDACS Chapter 482, bats may be considered pests, and pest 
control including methods to prevent, destroy, control, or eradicate 
pests in, on, or under a structure, lawn, or ornamental are allowable 
under certain rules and provisions. Bat advocacy groups are concerned 
over the lack of awareness of the regulations among people paid to 
perform exclusions (FBWG 2009, p. 3). Education is needed about the 
dates during which exclusion is prohibited for nuisance wildlife 
trappers, pest control companies, law enforcement, county health 
departments, and local animal control (FBWG 2010, p. 3). FDACS is 
currently developing a limited license for those individuals or 
companies that conduct wildlife removal services in or near structures 
(M. Tucker, in litt. 2012). To obtain this license, operators will be 
required to complete an educational program and pass a test based on a 
training manual in development by staff with the University of Florida-
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (M. Tucker, in litt. 2012). 
The manual will include information on proper exclusion techniques and 
existing regulations protecting bats during the maternity season (M. 
Tucker, in litt. 2012).
    Additional educational efforts are underway. To better address 
violations of the maternity season and exclusion rule, FWC is training 
Law Enforcement officers (M. Tucker, in litt. 2012). Training on the 
importance of bats and the rules relating to exclusions has been 
provided to some officers in the northern part of the State, and an 
online training module is being developed as

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part of the FWC law enforcement educational curriculum that all 
officers must complete (M. Tucker, in litt. 2012). The Service and 
other agencies and partners are also planning to increase awareness 
among land managers, environmental professionals, pest control 
operators, and others who may be in a position to have an impact on bat 
habitat or bat roosts. It is not clear to what extent training programs 
will be supported in the future or how effective efforts to raise 
awareness will be in reducing violations.
    The Florida bonneted bat's presence on Federal, State, and county 
lands provides some protection, but does not insulate it from many 
threats (e.g., see Factor A and Factor E). The NPS manages the natural 
resources on their lands in accordance with NPS-specific statutes, 
including the NPS Organic Act, as well as other general environmental 
laws and applicable regulations. Similarly, all property and resources 
owned by FDEP are generally protected from harm in Chapter 62D-
2.013(2), and animals are specifically protected from unauthorized 
collection in Chapter 62D-2.013(5) of the Florida Statutes. Despite 
these protections, risks to the Florida bonneted bat on conservation 
lands remain. For example, routine land management practices can cause 
the loss of roost sites, especially since locations of natural roosts 
are unknown (see Factor A). Use of pesticides may increase the 
likelihood of direct exposure or may impact the prey base (see Factor 
E).
    Collecting permits can be issued ``for scientific or educational 
purposes.'' Permits are required from the FWC for scientific research 
on the Florida bonneted bat. For work on Federal lands (e.g., ENP, 
BCNP), permits are required from the NPS or the Service, if work is on 
National Wildlife Refuges. For work on State lands, permits are 
required from FDEP. Permits are also required for work on county-owned 
lands.
Summary of Factor D
    Despite existing regulatory mechanisms, the Florida bonneted bat 
remains at risk due to the effects of a wide array of threats (see 
Factors A and E). Based on our analysis of the best available 
information, we find that existing regulatory measures, due to a 
variety of constraints, do not provide adequate protection, and, in 
some instances, may be harmful (i.e., taking of bats as ``nuisance'' 
wildlife). Educational efforts and training should help to raise 
awareness and address some violations of existing regulations. When 
finalized, the FWC's Florida bonneted bat management plan may contain 
additional measures that can help protect habitat. However, we do not 
have information to indicate that the aforementioned regulations and 
programs, which currently do not offer adequate protection to the 
Florida bonneted bat, will be revised and sufficiently supported, so 
that they would be adequate to provide protection for the species in 
the future. Therefore, we find that the existing regulatory mechanisms 
are inadequate to address threats to the species throughout all of its 
range.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 
Existence

    In general, bat populations are in decline due to their sensitivity 
to environmental stresses and other factors, such as slow reproductive 
rates (Jones et al. 2009, pp. 93-115). The Florida bonneted bat is 
likely affected by a wide array of natural and anthropogenic threats, 
operating singly or synergistically, and in varying immediacy, 
severity, and scope.
Inadvertent and Purposeful Impacts From Humans
    In general, bats using old or abandoned and new dwellings are at 
significant risk. Bats are often removed when they are no longer 
tolerated by humans or inadvertently killed or displaced when 
structures are demolished. Adverse human impacts on bats involve direct 
killing, persecution, vandalism, and disturbance of hibernating and 
maternity colonies (Harvey et al. 1999, p. 13). Unpublished data from a 
survey of 100 pest control companies on the southeastern coast of 
Florida showed that requests to remove ``nuisance'' bats from this area 
all but ceased in the 1960s (Belwood 1992, p. 217), indicating a sharp 
decline in bats. Homeowners and professionals use a variety of methods 
to remove bats, including lethal means (C. Marks and G. Marks, pers. 
comm. 2008). Even when attempts are made to remove bats humanely, bats 
may be sealed into buildings (C. Marks and G. Marks, pers. comm. 2008). 
Despite regulations (see Factor D above), in some situations, bats are 
still likely removed through inhumane and prohibited methods (e.g., 
removed from roosts with vacuum cleaner-like apparatuses) and excluded 
from artificial roost sites during sensitive time periods (e.g., inside 
the maternity season before young are volant (capable of flying)) (A. 
Kropp, pers. comm. 2009). Such activities can result in direct 
mortality or injury of adults, juveniles, dependent newborn pups, or 
fetuses, if pregnant females are affected. In some cases, excluded 
individuals may not be able to readily locate other suitable roosts 
(due to competition with other species, lack of availability, or other 
factors).
    In his dissertation on the ecological distribution of bats in 
Florida, Jennings (1958, p. 102) stated that Florida bonneted bats are 
encountered more often by humans than other bat species known to 
frequent the Miami area. He attributed this to the species' habits, 
which make it more conducive to discovery by humans. Jennings (1958, p. 
102) noted, ``Some individuals were taken in shrubbery by gardners 
[sic], some flew into houses at dusk and other isolated individuals 
were taken under conditions indicating injury of some kind.'' The 
Florida bonneted bat's ability to adapt well to manmade structures 
contributes to its vulnerability and has likely been a factor in its 
decline (C. Marks and G. Marks, pers. comm. 2008). Since roosting sites 
are largely unknown, the potential to remove and exclude Florida 
bonneted bats from human dwellings and artificial structures, either 
inadvertently or accidentally, is high. Despite regulatory protections 
provided under Florida law (see Factor D above), direct and indirect 
threats from humans continue, especially in urban, suburban, and 
residential areas.
    Similarly, Robson (1989, p. 15) stated that urban development has 
resulted in the persecution of bats wherever they come in contact with 
humans. ``Seemingly innocuous activities like removing dead pine or 
royal palm trees, pruning landscape trees (especially cabbage palms), 
sealing barrel-tile roof shingles with mortar, destroying abandoned 
buildings, and clearing small lots of native vegetation cumulatively 
may have a severe impact on remaining populations in urban areas'' 
(Robson 1989, p. 15). Harvey et al. (1999, p. 13) indicated that 
disturbance to summer maternity colonies of bats is extremely 
detrimental. In general, maternity colonies of bats do not tolerate 
disturbance, especially when flightless newborns are present (Harvey et 
al. 1999, p. 13). Newborns or immature bats may be dropped or abandoned 
by adults if disturbed (Harvey et al. 1999, p. 13). Disturbance to 
maternity colonies of the Florida bonneted bat may be particularly 
damaging because of this species' low fecundity and low abundance. In 
short, wherever this species occurs in or near human dwellings or 
structures, it is at risk of inadvertent or purposeful removal, 
displacement, and disturbance.
    Routine maintenance and repair of bridges and overpasses is a 
potential

[[Page 60768]]

threat. The Florida bonneted bat has not been documented to use these 
structures. However, a large colony of Brazilian free-tailed bats uses 
the I-75 overpass at the entrance of Babcock-Webb WMA and a single 
Florida bonneted bat call was recorded within 1.6 km (1.0 mile) of this 
overpass; given the species' flight capabilities and roosting behavior, 
the Florida bonneted bat could be using this overpass (S. Trokey, pers. 
comm. 2008c; C. Marks and G. Marks, pers. comm. 2008). When bridges and 
overpasses are cleaned (typically by the Florida Department of 
Transportation), bats are subjected to high water pressure from hoses, 
which likely results in death or injury (C. Marks, pers. comm. 2007). 
Bats using the I-75 overpass at the entrance of Babcock-Webb WMA are at 
risk (C. Marks, pers. comm. 2007). During the fall of 2009, the FWC 
constructed a community bat house near the overpass to provide an 
alternate roost site; while it is not known if Florida bonneted bats 
will use community bat houses, space was included to accommodate 
larger-bodied bats in that structure (J. Morse, pers. comm. 2010). To 
date, the species has not been found in the large community bat house 
at this site.
Proposed Wind Energy Facilities
    Wind power is one of the fastest growing sectors of the energy 
industry (Horn et al. 2008, p. 123; Cryan and Barclay 2009, p. 1330), 
and the development of wind energy facilities in Florida may be of 
particular concern for the Florida bonneted bat.
    Migratory, tree-dwelling, and insectivorous bat species are being 
killed at wind turbines in large numbers across North America (Kunz et 
al. 2007, pp. 317-320; Cryan and Barclay 2009, pp. 1330-1340). Although 
it is not clear why such species are particularly susceptible (Boyles 
et al. 2011, p. 41), Kunz et al. (2007, pp. 315-324) proposed 11 
hypotheses for the large numbers of fatalities at wind energy 
facilities. Some of these include: attraction to tall structures as 
potential roost sites, attraction to enhanced foraging opportunities 
(e.g., insects attracted to heat of turbines), echolocation failure, 
electromagnetic field disorientation, and decompression (rapid pressure 
changes causing internal injuries or disorientation of bats while 
foraging). Similarly, Cryan and Barclay (2009, pp. 1330-1340) 
categorized the causes of fatalities into two categories: proximate, 
which explain the direct means by which bats die, and ultimate, which 
explain why bats come close to turbines.
    Based upon data modified from Johnson (2005 as cited in Arnett et 
al. 2008, p. 64), researchers found that the Brazilian free-tailed bat 
comprised 85.6 percent of bat mortalities noted at a wind energy 
facility in Woodward, Oklahoma, and 41.3 percent of bat mortalities at 
a High Wind, California, wind energy facility. Since the Florida 
bonneted bat is also a free-tailed bat, it may demonstrate some similar 
behaviors that place it at risk when encountering wind energy 
facilities.
    Bat mortalities at wind energy facilities may be seasonal in nature 
(Johnson 2005, as cited in Kunz et al. 2007, p. 317). Most documented 
mortalities in North America occurred between late summer and early 
fall (Johnson 2005, as cited in Arnett et al. 2008, p. 66); Kunz et al. 
2007, p. 317; Arnett et al. 2008, pp. 65-66). Taller turbines with 
greater rotor-swept areas may be responsible for more bat mortalities 
than shorter turbines with smaller rotor-swept areas (Arnett et al. 
2008, p. 68). Bat mortalities are absent where turbines are not 
spinning, indicating that bats do not strike stationary blades or 
towers (Kerns et al. 2005, p. 91). Fatalities at wind energy facilities 
tend to occur when wind speeds are <6 meters/second (19.7 feet/second) 
(Kerns et al. 2005, p. 76). Bat mortalities were also negatively 
correlated with rain (Kerns et al. 2005 p. 76). It should be noted, 
however, that mortality monitoring at wind energy facilities is not 
standardized, and there is a paucity of data for analysis. Most studies 
include less than a full field season and may miss significant bat 
mortality events. Differences between sites including scavenging rates, 
carcass detection, and observer bias may all contribute to variations 
in bat mortality records (Arnett et al. 2008, pp. 71-72).
    The cause of bat mortality at wind energy facilities is not a 
simple one of direct contact with blades or towers. Baerwald et al. 
(2008, pp. 695-696) found that barotrauma is the cause of death in a 
high proportion of bats found at wind energy facilities. Barotrauma 
involves tissue damage to air-containing structures (such as lungs) 
caused by rapid or excessive pressure change; wind turbine blades may 
create zones of low pressure as air flows over them. In their 
examination, Baerwald et al. (2008, pp. 695-696) found 90 percent of 
the bat fatalities involved internal hemorrhaging consistent with 
barotrauma, while direct contact with turbine blades only accounted for 
about half of the fatalities. Baerwald et al. (2008, pp. 695-696) 
suggested that the differences in respiratory anatomy between bats and 
birds may explain the higher incidence of bat fatalities from wind 
energy facilities (see also Barclay et al. 2007, pp. 381-387). In 
short, the large pliable lungs of bats expand when exposed to sudden 
drop in pressure, causing tissue damage, whereas birds' compact, rigid 
lungs do not respond in the same manner (Baerwald et al. 2008, pp. 695-
696).
    Wind turbine facilities are being planned for sites east and west 
of Lake Okeechobee, and these may have an impact on the Florida 
bonneted bat (M. Tucker, in litt. 2012). One proposed facility in 
Glades County is roughly 14.5 km (9 miles) south of locations where the 
species was recorded on the Kissimmee River in 2008 (M. Tucker, in 
litt. 2012). In 2011, ``possible'' Florida bonneted bat calls were also 
recorded on the proposed project site (C. Coberly, pers. comm. 2012). 
Potential impacts from this proposed facility cannot be accurately 
assessed at this time because it is not clear that the species uses the 
site (i.e., occurs on site or moves to it during activities such as 
foraging). The other proposed facility in Palm Beach County has not 
recorded Florida bonneted bat calls on site (C. Newman, pers. comm. 
2012), and this county is not part of the species' known historical or 
current range. Both wind energy development companies have indicated 
that areas around Lake Okeechobee are the most suitable sites in 
Florida for wind development, and if successfully developed, additional 
sites could be proposed, increasing the risk of impacts from wind 
energy to the Florida bonneted bat (M. Tucker, in litt. 2012).
    While bat fatalities from wind energy facilities are well 
documented, potential impacts to the Florida bonneted bat are difficult 
to evaluate at this time, partly due to the uncertainty involving many 
factors (e.g., location of facilities, operations, foraging distance). 
Certain aspects of the species' status and life history may increase 
vulnerability to this threat. The species' small population and low 
fecundity make any additional potential sources of mortality cause for 
concern. The species' high and strong flight capabilities and fast-
hawking foraging behavior may increase risk. Conversely, since the 
species is nonmigratory, potential impacts from wind energy facilities 
may not be as great in magnitude as perhaps other bat species that are 
migratory. Implementation of the Service's new land-based wind energy 
guidelines may also help to avoid and minimize some impacts (Service 
2012, pp. 1-71).
Pesticides and Contaminants
    The life history of the Florida bonneted bat may make it 
susceptible to

[[Page 60769]]

both direct and indirect impacts from mosquito control and other 
pesticide application activities. Mosquito control spraying activities 
commonly begin at dusk when mosquitoes are most active (http://www.miamidade.gov/pubworks/spraying_insecticides.asp). Because the 
Florida bonneted bat forages at dusk and after dark, the possibility 
exists for individuals to be directly exposed to airborne mosquito 
control chemicals or to consume invertebrates containing pesticide 
residues from recent applications. Additionally, because the Florida 
bonneted bat has been documented to roost in residential areas (Belwood 
1992, pp. 219-220), it is possible for individuals to be exposed, 
either directly or through diet, to a variety of undocumented, 
localized pesticide applications conducted by homeowners.
    Organochlorine (OC) pesticides have been linked to lethal effects 
in bats (Clark et al. 1978, p. 1358; Clark et al. 1983, pp. 215-216; 
O'Shea and Clark 2002, p. 239). Such pesticides have not been 
registered for use in the United States for several decades, but due to 
the extreme ability of OCs to persist in the environment, residues are 
still detectable in soil and sediment in some locations in south 
Florida. The possibility exists that the Florida bonneted bat may 
consume invertebrates with elevated OC concentrations in areas with 
substantial OC environmental concentrations, though this scenario would 
be limited to specific sites and would not be expected to be a 
widespread threat. No studies have been conducted that attempt to 
assess the historical impact of OC pesticides on the Florida bonneted 
bat.
    Currently, OC pesticides have largely been replaced with 
organophosphate (OP), carbamate, and pyrethroid pesticides. Carbamate 
and OP pesticides act as cholinesterase inhibitors and are generally 
more toxic to mammals than OC pesticides. However, they are not as 
persistent in the environment and do not tend to bioaccumulate in 
organisms. Despite this lack of persistence, Sparks (2006, pp. 3-4, 6-
7) still found OP residues in both bats and guano in Indiana and 
suspected that the residues originated from consuming contaminated 
insects. Pyrethroids, one of which is permethrin, are commonly used 
mosquito control pesticides in south Florida and interfere with sodium 
channel function and display greater persistence than OP and carbamate 
pesticides, but still degrade much more rapidly than OC pesticides and 
are believed to exhibit low toxicity to mammals.
    Grue et al. (1997, pp. 369-388) reviewed the sublethal effects of 
OPs and carbamates on captive small mammals and birds and found 
impaired thermoregulation, reduced food consumption, and reproductive 
alterations. Clark (1986, p. 193) observed a depression in 
cholinesterase activity in little brown bats following both oral and 
dermal application of the OP pesticide methyl parathion. Bats with 
reduced cholinesterase activity may suffer loss of coordination, 
impaired echolocation, and elongated response time. Alteration of 
thermoregulation could have serious ramifications to bats, given their 
high metabolic and energy demands (Sparks 2006, pp. 1-2). Reduced 
reproductive success would be of concern because the Florida bonneted 
bat already displays a low reproductive rate (Sparks 2006, p. 2). In 
order to accurately evaluate the impact of such pesticides on the 
Florida bonneted bat, additional work characterizing both pesticide 
exposure and effects in bats is needed.
    In addition to pesticide exposure, mercury represents another 
potential threat to the Florida bonneted bat that has not been 
investigated. According to the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, 
the mercury deposition rate in south Florida is among the highest in 
the United States (http://nadp.isws.illinois.edu). The movement of 
mercury through the aquatic system and into the terrestrial food web 
through emergent invertebrates has been documented in other areas 
(Konkler and Hammerschmidt 2012, p. 1659; Cristol et al. 2008, p. 335). 
Assuming that a similar mechanism is occurring in south Florida coupled 
with high mercury deposition rates, the consumption of such 
invertebrates may constitute a pathway for the Florida bonneted bat to 
be exposed to mercury. Nam et al. (2012, pp. 1096-1098) documented 
mercury concentrations in brain, liver, and fur in little brown bats 
near a mercury-contaminated site in Virginia that were significantly 
greater than mercury concentrations in the same tissues of little brown 
bats at a reference site, indicating the potential for bats to be 
exposed to and accumulate mercury near mercury-impacted systems. It is 
likely that the Florida bonneted bat experiences some degree of mercury 
exposure when foraging to a large extent above mercury-impacted water 
bodies. While no known studies have attempted to evaluate the impact of 
mercury on bat populations in south Florida, the neurotoxic effects of 
mercury on mammals in general have been well characterized in the 
scientific literature.
    A reduction in the number of flying insects is a potential 
secondary effect to consider when evaluating the impact of pesticides, 
and mosquito control chemicals in particular, on the Florida bonneted 
bat. In his status survey for the Florida bonneted bat, Robson (1989, 
p. 15) suggested that mosquito control programs are contributing to 
reduced food supplies for bats. Robson (1989, p. 14) attributed the 
general reduced activity of bats along the southeastern coastal ridge 
to the reduction of forested habitat and reduced insect abundance. 
Although insect activity was not measured, Robson (1989, p. 14) noted 
that the ``lack of insects on the southeastern coastal ridge was 
striking when contrasted to all other areas.'' While it is reasonable 
to suggest that reduced food supply or increased exposure to pesticides 
may have led to the decline of the population in the Miami area, this 
link is only speculative because no rigorous scientific studies or 
direct evidence exists. Timm and Genoways (2004, p. 861) indicated that 
the extant, although small, population of the bat in the Fakahatchee-
Big Cypress area of southwest Florida is located in one of the few 
areas of south Florida that has not been sprayed with pesticides. Marks 
and Marks (2008a, p. 15) contended that if the species' rarity and 
vulnerability are due to a dependence on a limited food source or 
habitat, then the protection of that food source or habitat is 
critical.
    In summary, the effects of pesticides and contaminants on bat 
populations in general have not been studied thoroughly. In the case of 
the Florida bonneted bat, data concerning the effects of pesticides and 
other contaminants is virtually nonexistent. Despite this lack of data, 
the possibility certainly exists for the Florida bonneted bat to be 
exposed to a variety of compounds through multiple routes of exposure. 
Additionally, areas with intensive pesticide activity may not support 
an adequate food base for the species. Pesticides and contaminants 
might be impacting the Florida bonneted bat, but further studies are 
required to fully assess whether they are impacting the species at the 
population level and are, therefore, posing a threat.
Effects of Small Population Size, Isolation, and Other Factors
    The Florida bonneted bat is vulnerable to extinction due to its 
small population size, restricted range, few colonies, low fecundity, 
and relative isolation. The Florida bonneted bat only occurs in south 
Florida and only in limited numbers (Timm and Genoways 2004, pp. 861-
862; Marks and Marks

[[Page 60770]]

2008a, pp. 11, 15; 2008b, p. 4; 2012, pp. 12-15). Based on the small 
number of locations where calls were recorded, the low numbers of calls 
recorded at each location, and the fact that the species forms small 
colonies, Marks and Marks (2008a, p. 15) stated that it is possible 
that the entire population of Florida bonneted bats may number less 
than a few hundred individuals. Due to its small population size and 
restricted range, the species is considered to be one of the most 
critically endangered mammals in North America (Timm and Genoways 2004, 
p. 861). In general, species with restricted ranges are often 
characterized by small population sizes and high habitat specialization 
and are, therefore, more vulnerable to stochastic, demographic, and 
environmental processes (Lande et al. 2003 as cited in Lee and Jetz 
2010, p. 5).
    In a vulnerability assessment, the FWC's biological status review 
team determined that the species met criteria or listing measures for 
geographic range, population size and trend, and population size and 
restricted area (Gore et al. 2010, pp. 1-2). For geographic range, the 
review team estimated that the species occurs in a combined area of 
roughly 17,632 km\2\ (6,808 mi\2\), well below the criterion of < 
20,000 km\2\ (7,722 mi\2\). The review team also estimated potentially 
three subpopulations in a fragmented range, all of which occur in 
coastal locations susceptible to hurricanes and other losses in habitat 
(see Climate Change and Sea Level Rise and Land Use Changes and Human 
Population Growth above). The review team also inferred continuing 
decline in both extent of occurrence and area, extent, or quality of 
habitat. For population size and trend, the review team estimated <100 
individuals known in roosts, with an assumed total of mature 
individuals, well below the criterion of 10,000. Similarly, for 
population size and restricted area, the review team estimated a total 
population of mature individuals at <1,000, with <100 individuals in 
known roosts, and all three subpopulations were located in at-risk 
coastal zones.
    Slow reproduction and low fecundity are also serious concerns 
because this species produces only one young at a time and roosts 
singly or in small groups (FBC 2005, p. 1; Timm and Arroyo-Cabrales 
2008, p. 1). Assuming a lifespan of 10 to 20 years for bats of this 
size (Wilkinson and South 2002, pp. 124-131), the average generation 
time is estimated to be 5 to 10 years (Gore et al. 2010, p. 7). The 
small numbers within localized areas may also make the Florida bonneted 
bat vulnerable to extinction due to genetic drift (loss of unique genes 
through time), inbreeding depression (reduced fitness or survival due 
to low genetic diversity), extreme weather events (e.g., hurricanes), 
and random or chance changes to the environment (Lande 1988, pp. 1455-
1459; Smith 1990, pp. 310-321) that can significantly impact its 
habitat (see Environmental Stochasticity below). Information on the 
extent of genetic diversity in historical or current populations is 
lacking.
    In general, isolation, whether caused by geographic distance, 
ecological factors, or reproductive strategy, will likely prevent the 
influx of new genetic material and can result in low diversity, which 
may impact viability and fecundity (Chesser 1983, pp. 66-77). Distance 
between subpopulations or colonies, the small sizes of colonies, and 
the general low number of bats may make recolonization unlikely if any 
site is extirpated. Isolation of habitat can prevent recolonization 
from other sites and potentially result in extinction. The probability 
of extinction increases with decreasing habitat availability (Pimm et 
al. 1988, pp. 758-762, 776; Noss and Cooperrider 1994, pp. 162-165; 
Thomas 1994, pp. 373-378; Kale 1996, pp. 7-11). Although changes in the 
environment may cause populations to fluctuate naturally, small and 
low-density populations are more likely to fluctuate below a minimum 
viable population (i.e., the minimum or threshold number of individuals 
needed in a population to persist in a viable state for a given 
interval) (Shaffer 1981, pp. 131-134; Shaffer and Samson 1985, pp. 146-
151; Gilpin and Soul[eacute] 1986, pp. 19-34). If populations become 
fragmented, genetic diversity will be lost as smaller populations 
become more isolated (Rossiter et al. 2000, pp. 1131-1135). 
Fragmentation and aspects of the species' natural history (e.g., 
reliance on availability of suitable roost sites, constant supply of 
insects) can contribute to and exacerbate other threats facing the 
species.
    Overall, the Florida bonneted bat is vulnerable to a wide array of 
factors, including small population size, restricted range, few 
occurrences, low fecundity, and relative isolation. These threats are 
significant and expected to continue or possibly increase.
Environmental Stochasticity
    Natural events such as severe hurricanes may cause the loss of old 
trees with roosting cavities (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 861). In 
August 1992, Hurricane Andrew, a category 5 hurricane, struck southern 
Miami-Dade County with sustained surface windspeeds of more than 145 
mph and gusts exceeding 175 mph (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 861). The 
winds destroyed the majority of older trees within several kilometers 
of the coast that were potentially available as roost trees (Timm and 
Genoways 2004, p. 861). Timm and Genoways (2004, p. 861) indicated that 
habitat loss from development (see Factor A), increased use of 
pesticides, and Hurricane Andrew may have had a significant impact on 
an already small population of the Florida bonneted bat.
    Several less intense hurricanes have impacted both coasts of 
Florida during the past decade. Acoustical surveys conducted in south 
Florida prior to the hurricane season of 2004 (from 1997 through 2003) 
were compared with results after the hurricanes (Marks and Marks 2008a, 
pp. 12, D1-D6, E1-E26). The limited number of locations and low number 
of recorded calls suggested that the species was rare before the 2004 
storm season and that the population remained low afterward (Marks and 
Marks 2008a, pp. 12-15). Prior to the 2004 hurricane season, calls were 
recorded at 4 of 10 locations; after the hurricane season, calls were 
recorded at 9 of 44 locations (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 12-15). 
Actions taken by a private landowner to reinforce bat houses prior to 
Hurricane Charlie in 2004 and Hurricane Wilma in 2005 likely prevented 
the only known extant roost site (at that time) from being destroyed; 
these storms caused significant damage to both trees and other property 
on the site (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 2008c).
    Major impacts of intense storms may include mortality during the 
storm, exposure to predation immediately following the storm, loss of 
roost sites, and impacts on foraging areas and insect abundance (Marks 
and Marks 2008a, pp. 7-9). In general, bats could be blown into 
stationary objects or impacted by flying debris, resulting in injury or 
mortality (Marks and Marks 2008a, p. 7). Trees with cavities can be 
snapped at their weakest point, which for the Florida bonneted bat may 
have the most severe impact since the species uses cavities (Marks and 
Marks 2008a, p. 8), competition for available cavities in south Florida 
is intense (Belwood 1992, p. 220), and suitable roosting sites in 
general are often limiting factors (Humphrey 1975, pp. 341-343). 
Displaced bats may be found on the ground or other unsuitable locations 
and exposed to natural predators, domestic pets, and humans (Marks and 
Marks 2008a, p. 8). As pregnant females have been found in June through 
September, hurricanes in Florida can

[[Page 60771]]

occur at critical life-history stages--when females are pregnant or 
rearing young--possibly resulting in losses of pregnant females, 
newborns, or juvenile pups (Marks and Marks 2008a, pp. 7-9). Because 
the entire population may be less than a few hundred individuals (Marks 
and Marks 2008a, p. 15; 2012, pp. 12-15), the Florida bonneted bat may 
not be able to withstand losses from intense storms or storms at a 
critical life-history stage. Alternatively, less intense hurricanes or 
mild, isolated storms may create roosting opportunities, if tree snags 
(dead trees) are left in place.
    According to the Florida Climate Center, Florida is by far the most 
vulnerable State in the United States to hurricanes and tropical storms 
(http://coaps.fsu.edu/climate_center/tropicalweather.shtml). Based on 
data gathered from 1856 to 2008, Klotzbach and Gray (2009, p. 28) 
calculated the climatological and current-year probabilities for each 
State being impacted by a hurricane and major hurricane. Of the coastal 
States analyzed, Florida had the highest climatological probabilities 
for hurricanes and major hurricanes, with a 51 percent probability of a 
hurricane and a 21 percent probability of a major hurricane over a 152-
year timespan. Of the States analyzed, Florida also had the highest 
current-year probabilities, with a 45 percent probability of a 
hurricane and an 18 percent probability of a major hurricane (Klotzbach 
and Gray 2009, p. 28). Based upon data from the period 1886-1998, 
Neumann et al. (1999, pp. 29-30) also found that the number of tropical 
cyclones within south Florida is high; analyses suggested that areas 
within the species' range (e.g., Fort Myers, Miami) are expected to 
experience more than 50 occurrences (tropical cyclones) per 100 years. 
In addition, the analyses suggested that the incidence of hurricanes in 
south Florida was roughly 30 per 100 years, higher than any other area 
except for North Carolina (Neumann et al. 1999, pp. 29-30). The number 
of major hurricanes (roughly 14 per 100 years) was higher than any 
other area examined (Neumann et al. 1999, p. 30).
    If hurricanes and tropical storms increase in severity, frequency, 
or distribution, vulnerable, tropical tree-roosting bat species may be 
heavily impacted (Gannon and Willig 2009, pp. 281-301). Given the 
Florida bonneted bat's tree-roosting habits, small population size, few 
isolated colonies, and use of coastal areas, the species is at risk 
from hurricanes, storms, or other extreme weather. Depending on the 
location and intensity of a hurricane or other severe weather event, it 
is possible that multiple colonies could become extirpated, even from 
one storm event. Due to the bat's overall vulnerability, intense 
hurricanes are a significant threat, which is expected to continue or 
increase in the future.
    Other processes to be affected by climate change include 
temperatures, rainfall (amount, seasonal timing, and distribution), and 
storms (frequency and intensity). Temperatures are projected to rise 
approximately 2 [deg]C to 5 [deg]C (3.6[emsp14][deg]F to 
9[emsp14][deg]F) for North America by the end of this century (IPCC 
2007, pp. 7-9, 13). Based upon modeling, Atlantic hurricane and 
tropical storm frequencies are expected to decrease (Knutson et al. 
2008, pp. 1-21). By 2100, there should be a 10-30 percent decrease in 
hurricane frequency due to more wind shear impeding initial hurricane 
development. However, the intensity of hurricanes is expected to 
increase, with a 5-10 percent increase in wind. This is due to more 
hurricane energy available for intense hurricanes. In addition to 
climate change, weather variables are extremely influenced by other 
natural cycles, such as El Ni[ntilde]o Southern Oscillation with a 
frequency of every 4-7 years, solar cycle (every 11 years), and the 
Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation. All of these cycles influence 
changes in Floridian weather. The exact severity, direction, and 
distribution of all of these changes at the regional level are 
difficult to project.
    This species is also vulnerable to prolonged extreme cold weather 
events. Air temperatures dropped to below freezing and reached a low of 
-2.0 [deg]C (28[emsp14][deg]F) in ENP on January 11, 2010; air 
temperatures at Royal Palm for the first 2 weeks of January marked the 
coldest period recorded over the previous 10 years (Hallac et al. 2010, 
p. 1). The effects of this severe and prolonged cold event on the 
Florida bonneted bats or other bats in Florida are not known, but some 
mortality was observed. At least 8 Florida bonneted bats were lost from 
the North Fort Myers colony during the event, before 12 remaining bats 
were brought into captivity, warmed, and fed (S. Trokey, pers. comm. 
2010). Those rescued were emaciated and in poor condition. Initially, 
only 9 individuals appeared to survive after this event, although 10 
individuals were still alive at this site in April 2010 (S. Trokey, 
pers. comm. 2010a, 2010b, 2010c). Approximately 30 Brazilian free-
tailed bats were found dead below a bat house in Everglades City during 
this event (R. Arwood, pers. comm. 2010). Overall, approximately 100 
Brazilian free-tailed bats using bat houses were found dead following 
this severe cold event (C. Marks, pers. comm. 2011). South Florida 
again experienced cold temperatures in December 2010. Temperatures in 
December 2010 were among the coldest on record within ENP (J. Sadle, 
NPS, pers. comm. 2011). In the short term, the severe and prolonged 
cold events in south Florida resulted in mortality of at least several 
adult Florida bonneted bats at one observed site. However, it is not 
known if the species persisted at all sites previously documented 
following the prolonged and repeated cold temperatures in 2010. 
Overall, the long-term effects of prolonged and repeated cold events on 
the species are not known.
    Molossids, the family of bats which includes the Florida bonneted 
bat, appear to be an intermediate between tropical and temperate zone 
bat families (Arlettaz et al. 2000, pp. 1004-1014). Members of this 
family that inhabit the warmer temperate and subtropical zones incur 
much higher energetic costs for thermoregulation during cold weather 
events than those inhabiting northern regions (Arlettaz et al. 2000, 
pp. 1004-1014). At such temperatures, bats are likely unable to find 
food, and cannot re-warm themselves. Such a stochastic, but potentially 
severe, event poses a significant threat to the entire population. 
Impacts of the cold weather event are evident, but the effect on all 
colonies is not known. Additional extreme weather events are 
anticipated in the future, and such extremes can turn into ``disasters 
for small populations of mammals'' (R. Timm, pers. comm. 2012).
Aspects of the Species' Life History and Climate Change Implications
    For bats in general, climate changes can affect food availability, 
timing of hibernation, frequency of torpor, rate of energy expenditure, 
reproduction, and development rate (Sherwin et al. 2012, pp. 1-18). 
Although increased temperatures may lead to benefits (e.g., increased 
food supply, faster development, range expansion), other negative 
outcomes may also occur (e.g., extreme weather, reduced water 
availability, spread of disease) (Sherwin et al. 2012, p. 14). Food 
abundance is a fundamental factor influencing bat activity (Wang et al. 
2010, pp. 315-323). Insectivorous bats are dependent upon ectothermic 
(cold-blooded) prey, whose activity is affected by climate conditions 
(Burles et al. 2009, pp. 132-138). Aerial-hawking species such as the 
Florida bonneted bat are likely highly sensitive to climatic changes 
due to their dependence on a food supply that is highly variable in 
both time and space (Sherwin et al. 2012, p. 3). In assessing

[[Page 60772]]

implications of climate change, Sherwin et al. (2012, p. 4) identified 
two risk factors directly related to foraging: bats inhabiting water-
stressed regions and aerial-hawking species, reliant on spatially 
variable food sources. Bats generally have higher rates of evaporative 
water loss than other similarly sized terrestrial mammals and birds 
(Herreid and Schmidt-Nielsen 1966, Studier 1970 as cited in Chruszcz 
and Barclay 2002, p. 24 and Webb et al. 1995, p. 270). Due to their 
high surface area to volume ratios and large, naked flight membranes 
(wings), the potential for loss of evaporative water is generally high 
(Webb et al. 1995, pp. 269-278). Travelling farther to access water and 
food entails more energy expenditure and may affect reproductive 
success (Sherwin et al. 2012, p. 4). Considering foraging risk alone, 
the Florida bonneted bat may be especially susceptible to climate 
changes since it is an insectivorous, aerial-hawking species restricted 
to south Florida, a region expected to become water-stressed in the 
future (see Factor A above).
Summary of Factor E
    Based on our analysis of the best available information, we have 
identified a wide array of natural and manmade factors affecting the 
continued existence of the Florida bonneted bat. Inadvertent or 
purposeful impacts by humans caused by intolerance or lack of awareness 
(e.g., removal, landscaping activities, bridge maintenance) can lead to 
mortality or disturbances to maternity colonies. The Florida bonneted 
bat's ability to adapt well to manmade structures has likely been a 
factor in its decline because the bat tends to inhabit structures that 
place it at risk from inadvertent or purposeful harm by humans. 
Proposed wind energy facilities in the species' habitat can cause 
mortalities. The species may be exposed to a variety of chemical 
compounds through multiple routes of exposure, and intensive pesticide 
use may alter insect prey availability. Small population size, 
restricted range, low fecundity, and few and isolated colonies are 
serious ongoing threats. Catastrophic and stochastic events are of 
significant concern. All colonies are at risk due to hurricanes, which 
can cause mortality, loss of roost sites, and other impacts. Extreme 
cold weather events can also have severe impacts on the population and 
increase risks from other threats by extirpating colonies or further 
reducing colony sizes. Collectively, these threats have operated in the 
past, are impacting the species now, and will continue to impact the 
Florida bonneted bat in the future.

Proposed Determination

    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the Florida bonneted bat. The species occurs in limited numbers in a 
restricted range in south Florida. Habitat loss, degradation, and 
modification from human population growth and associated development 
and agriculture have impacted the Florida bonneted bat and are expected 
to further curtail its limited range (see Factor A). Environmental 
effects from climatic change, especially sea level rise, are expected 
to become severe in the future, resulting in additional habitat losses 
that are expected to place the species at greater risk (see Factor A).
    The Florida bonneted bat is also currently threatened by a wide 
array of natural and manmade factors (see Factor E). Effects of small 
population size, restricted range, few colonies, slow reproduction, low 
fecundity, and relative isolation contribute to the species' 
vulnerability. Other aspects of the species' natural history (e.g., 
aerial-hawking foraging, tree-roosting habits) and environmental 
stochasticity may also contribute to its imperilment. Multiple 
anthropogenic factors (e.g., impacts or intolerance by humans, wind 
energy projects) are also threats of varying severity. As an 
insectivore, the species is also likely exposed to a variety of 
pesticides and contaminants through multiple routes of exposure; 
pesticides may also affect its prey base. Given its vulnerability, 
disease and predation (see Factor C) have the potential to impact the 
species. Finally, existing regulatory mechanisms (see Factor D), due to 
a variety of constraints, do not provide adequate protection for the 
species. Overall, impacts from increasing threats, operating singly or 
in combination, place the species at risk of extinction.
    Section 3 of the Act defines an endangered species as ``any species 
which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range'' and a threatened species as ``any species which 
is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future 
throughout all or a significant portion of its range.'' By all 
indications, the species occurs only in limited numbers within a 
restricted range and faces considerable and immediate threats, which 
place it at risk of extinction. Aspects of the species' natural history 
may also contribute to and exacerbate threats and increase its 
vulnerability to extinction. Since immediate and ongoing significant 
threats to the Florida bonneted bat extend throughout its entire range, 
we have determined that the species is currently in danger of 
extinction throughout all of its range. Because threats extend 
throughout the entire range, it is unnecessary to determine if the 
Florida bonneted bat is in danger of extinction throughout a 
significant portion of its range. Therefore, on the basis of the best 
available scientific and commercial information, we have determined 
that the Florida bonneted bat meets the definition of an endangered 
species under the Act. In other words, we find that a threatened 
species status is not appropriate for the Florida bonneted bat because 
of the severity and immediacy of the threats, the restricted range of 
the species, and its small population size. Consequently, we propose to 
list the Florida bonneted bat as an endangered species throughout its 
entire range.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened species under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness and 
conservation by Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies, private 
organizations, and individuals. The Act encourages cooperation with the 
States and requires that recovery actions be carried out for all listed 
species. The protection required by Federal agencies and the 
prohibitions against certain activities are discussed, in part, below.
    The primary purpose of the Act is the conservation of endangered 
and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The 
ultimate goal of such conservation efforts is the recovery of these 
listed species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of 
the Act. Subsection 4(f) of the Act requires the Service to develop and 
implement recovery plans for the conservation of endangered and 
threatened species. The recovery planning process involves the 
identification of actions that are necessary to halt or reverse the 
species' decline by addressing the threats to its survival and 
recovery. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a 
point where they are secure, self-sustaining, and functioning 
components of their ecosystems.
    Recovery planning includes the development of a recovery outline 
shortly after a species is listed, preparation of a draft and final 
recovery plan, and revisions to the plan as

[[Page 60773]]

significant new information becomes available. The recovery outline 
guides the immediate implementation of urgent recovery actions and 
describes the process to be used to develop a recovery plan. The 
recovery plan identifies site-specific management actions that will 
achieve recovery of the species, measurable criteria that determine 
when a species may be downlisted or delisted, and methods for 
monitoring recovery progress. Recovery plans also establish a framework 
for agencies to coordinate their recovery efforts and provide estimates 
of the cost of implementing recovery tasks. Recovery teams (comprising 
species experts, Federal and State agencies, nongovernmental 
organizations, and stakeholders) are often established to develop 
recovery plans. When completed, the recovery outline, draft recovery 
plan, and the final recovery plan will be available on our Web site 
(http://www.fws.gov/endangered), or from our South Florida Ecological 
Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Implementation of recovery actions generally requires the 
participation of a broad range of partners, including other Federal 
agencies, States, Tribal, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, 
and private landowners. Examples of recovery actions include habitat 
restoration (e.g., restoration of native vegetation), research, captive 
propagation and reintroduction, and outreach and education. The 
recovery of many listed species cannot be accomplished solely on 
Federal lands because their range may occur primarily or solely on non-
Federal lands. To achieve recovery of these species requires 
cooperative conservation efforts on private, State, and Tribal lands.
    If this species is listed, funding for recovery actions will be 
available from a variety of sources, including Federal budgets, State 
programs, and cost share grants for non-Federal landowners, the 
academic community, and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, 
pursuant to section 6 of the Act, the State of Florida would be 
eligible for Federal funds to implement management actions that promote 
the protection and recovery of the Florida bonneted bat. Information on 
our grant programs that are available to aid species recovery can be 
found at: http://www.fws.gov/grants.
    Although the Florida bonneted bat is only proposed for listing 
under the Act at this time, please let us know if you are interested in 
participating in recovery efforts for this species. Additionally, we 
invite you to submit any new information on this species whenever it 
becomes available and any information you may have for recovery 
planning purposes (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their 
actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as an 
endangered or threatened species and with respect to its critical 
habitat, if any is designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
confer with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of a species proposed for listing or result in 
destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a 
species is listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires 
Federal agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or 
carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the 
species or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a 
Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into consultation with the 
Service.
    Federal agency actions within the species' habitat that may require 
conference or consultation or both as described in the preceding 
paragraph include, but are not limited to: management and any other 
landscape-altering activities on Federal lands administered by the 
Department of Defense, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park 
Service, and U.S. Forest Service; issuance of section 404 Clean Water 
Act permits by the Army Corps of Engineers; permitting of construction 
and management of gas pipeline, power line rights-of-way, and wind 
energy facilities by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and 
construction and maintenance of roads, highways, or bridges by the 
Federal Highway Administration.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered 
wildlife. The prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act, codified at 
50 CFR 17.21 for endangered wildlife, in part, make it illegal for any 
person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take 
(includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect; or to attempt any of these), import, export, ship 
in interstate commerce in the course of commercial activity, or sell or 
offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any listed species. 
Under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42-43; 16 U.S.C. 3371-3378), it is also 
illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such 
wildlife that has been taken illegally. Certain exceptions apply to 
agents of the Service and State conservation agencies. The Florida 
bonneted bat is listed by the State of Florida; therefore, certain 
State laws also apply. Listing would also require Federal agencies to 
avoid actions that might jeopardize the species (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)), 
and would provide opportunities for funding of conservation measures 
and land acquisition that would not otherwise be available to them (16 
U.S.C. 1534, 1535(d)).
    We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered and threatened wildlife species under certain 
circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 
17.22 for endangered species, and at 17.32 for threatened species. With 
regard to endangered wildlife, a permit must be issued for the 
following purposes: for scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation 
or survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with 
otherwise lawful activities.
    It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on July 1, 
1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify to the maximum extent practicable at 
the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a proposed 
listing on proposed and ongoing activities within the range of the 
species proposed for listing.
    We estimate that the following activities would be likely to result 
in a violation of section 9 of the Act; however, possible violations 
are not limited to these actions alone:
    (1) Unauthorized possession, collecting, trapping, capturing, 
killing, harassing, sale, delivery, or movement, including interstate 
and foreign commerce, or harming or attempting any of these actions, of 
Florida bonneted bats (research activities where Florida bonneted bats 
are handled, captured (e.g., netted, trapped), tagged, or collected 
will require authorization pursuant to the Act).
    (2) Incidental take of the Florida bonneted bat without 
authorization pursuant to section 7 or section 10 (a)(1)(B) of the Act.
    (3) Sale or purchase of specimens of this taxon, except for 
properly documented antique specimens of this taxon at least 100 years 
old, as defined by section 10(h)(1) of the Act.
    (4) Unauthorized destruction or alteration of Florida bonneted bat 
habitat (including unauthorized grading, leveling, plowing, mowing, 
burning,

[[Page 60774]]

herbicide spraying, or other destruction or modification of occupied or 
potentially occupied habitat or pesticide application in known occupied 
habitat) in ways that kills or injures individuals by significantly 
impairing the species' essential breeding, foraging, sheltering, or 
other essential life functions.
    (5) Unauthorized release of biological control agents that attack 
any life stage of this taxon.
    (6) Unauthorized removal or destruction of cavity trees and other 
natural structures being utilized as roosts by the Florida bonneted bat 
that results in take of the species.
    (7) Unauthorized removal or exclusion from buildings or artificial 
structures being used as roost sites by the species, resulting in take 
of the species.
    (8) Unauthorized maintenance or repair of bridges or overpasses 
that are being used as roost sites by the Florida bonneted bat that 
result in take of the species.
    (9) Unauthorized building and operation of wind energy facilities 
within areas used by the Florida bonneted bat, which results in take of 
the species.
    We will review other activities not identified above on a case-by-
case basis to determine whether they may be likely to result in a 
violation of section 9 of the Act. We do not consider these lists to be 
exhaustive, and we provide them as information to the public.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a 
violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the Field 
Supervisor of the Service's South Florida Ecological Services Office 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Requests for copies of the 
regulations concerning listed animals and general inquiries regarding 
prohibitions and permits may be addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Endangered Species Permits, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, 
GA 30345 (Phone 404-679-7313; Fax 404-679- 7081).

Critical Habitat

Background

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the 
species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which 
are found those physical or biological features
    (a) Essential to the conservation of the species and
    (b) Which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and
    (2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas 
are essential for the conservation of the species.
    Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use 
and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring 
an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided pursuant to the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where 
population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise 
relieved, may include regulated taking.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation 
with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect 
land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or 
other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government 
or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require 
implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by 
non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency 
funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species 
or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or 
adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action 
agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but 
to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific data available. Further, our Policy on 
Information Standards Under the Endangered Species Act (published in 
the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271)), the Information 
Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658)), 
and our associated Information Quality Guidelines provide criteria, 
establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure that our decisions 
are based on the best scientific data available. They require our 
biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of 
the best scientific data available, to use primary and original sources 
of information as the basis for recommendations to designate critical 
habitat.
    When we are determining which areas should be designated as 
critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the 
information developed during the listing process for the species. 
Additional information sources may include the recovery plan for the 
species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans 
developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and 
studies, biological assessments, other unpublished materials, or 
experts' opinions or personal knowledge.

Critical Habitat Prudency

    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12), require that, to the maximum extent 
prudent and determinable, the Secretary designate critical habitat at 
the time the species is determined to be endangered or threatened. Our 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that the designation of 
critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of the following 
situations exist: (1) The species is threatened by taking or other 
human activity, and identification of critical habitat can be expected 
to increase the degree of threat to the species; or (2) such 
designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species.
    We have carefully considered all known threats to the species to 
determine the prudency of critical habitat for the species. Because 
humans may be intolerant of bats in general, some individual Florida 
bonneted bats may be threatened by taking or other human activity in 
instances where they reside in conflict with humans (e.g., roosting in 
an occupied human dwelling). However, we are not aware of any current 
situations where this is the case, and we do not have any evidence that 
this was a major threat previously. Based upon available information, 
taking by humans does not appear to be a primary threat to the species. 
Furthermore, as discussed in Summary of Factors Affecting the Species, 
Factors A and E, Florida bonneted bats could be inadvertently killed or 
displaced if their roost sites are not known, and the species could 
possibly benefit from having additional roosting and foraging locations 
identified. Therefore, we do

[[Page 60775]]

not anticipate that identification of critical habitat would be 
expected to increase the degree of threat to the species, and 
designation of essential habitat, particularly roosting sites, could 
actually reduce the degree of threat to the species.
    Designation of critical habitat would offer other benefits to the 
species. The principal benefit of including an area in a critical 
habitat designation is the requirement for Federal agencies to ensure 
actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are not likely to result in 
the destruction or adverse modification of any designated critical 
habitat, the regulatory standard of section 7(a)(2) of the Act under 
which consultation is completed. Federal agencies must also consult 
with us on actions that may affect a listed species and refrain from 
undertaking actions that are likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of such species. The analysis of effects of a proposed 
project on critical habitat is separate and different from that of the 
effects of a proposed project on the species itself. The jeopardy 
analysis evaluates the action's impact to survival and recovery of the 
species, while the destruction or adverse modification analysis 
evaluates the action's effects to the designated habitat's contribution 
to conservation. Therefore, the difference in outcomes of these two 
analyses represents the regulatory benefit of critical habitat. This 
will, in some instances, lead to different results and different 
regulatory requirements. Thus, critical habitat designations may 
provide greater benefits to the recovery of a species than those 
provided solely by listing.
    Designation of critical habitat for the Florida bonneted bat may 
also benefit the species by focusing conservation efforts on the 
restoration and maintenance of ecosystem functions that are essential 
for attaining short- and long-term viability and recovery. The 
designation of critical habitat can also serve to inform management and 
conservation decisions by identifying any additional physical and 
biological features of the ecosystem that may be essential for the 
conservation of the species. Critical habitat designation can also help 
raise awareness and educate landowners about the potential conservation 
value of the area.
    We, therefore, find that designation of critical habitat for the 
Florida bonneted bat is prudent, because once determined, critical 
habitat would be beneficial, and there is no evidence that the 
designation of critical habitat would result in an increased threat 
from taking or other human activity for this species.

Critical Habitat Determinability

    Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(2)) further state that critical 
habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following 
situations exist: (1) Information sufficient to perform the required 
analysis of the impacts of the designation is lacking, or (2) the 
biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to 
permit identification of an area as critical habitat. When we find that 
critical habitat is not determinable, the Act provides for an 
additional year to publish a critical habitat designation (16 U.S.C. 
1533(b)(6)(C)(ii)).
    In accordance with sections 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act 
and regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas to propose 
as critical habitat, we must consider those physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species. These include, 
but are not limited to:
    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, and rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historical, geographical, and ecological 
distribution of a species.
    We have done a preliminary evaluation to find if the designation of 
critical habitat for the Florida bonneted bat is prudent and 
determinable at this time. Based on that evaluation, we are currently 
unable to identify the physical and biological features essential for 
the conservation of the Florida bonneted bat because information on 
those features for this species is not known at this time. The apparent 
poor viability of the species recorded in recent years indicates that 
current conditions are not sufficient to meet the basic biological 
requirements of the species in most areas of its current range. Because 
the Florida bonneted bat has not been found for decades in many of its 
historical locations, and much of the habitat in which it still 
persists has been drastically altered, the optimal conditions that 
would provide the biological or ecological requisites of this species 
are not known. Although we can surmise that habitat loss and 
degradation from a variety of factors has contributed to the decline of 
the species, we do not know specifically what essential physical or 
biological features of that habitat are currently lacking.
    Key features of the basic life history, ecology, reproductive 
biology, and habitat requirements of many bats, including the Florida 
bonneted bat, are unknown. Species-specific ecological requirements 
have not been determined (e.g., natural roost sites, seasonal changes 
in roosting habitat, dietary needs, seasonal changes in diet, prime 
foraging habitat). Population dynamics, such as species interactions 
and community structure, population trends, and population size and age 
class structure necessary to maintain long-term viability, have not 
been determined. As we are unable to identify many physical and 
biological features essential to the conservation of the Florida 
bonneted bat, we are unable to identify areas that contain features 
necessary for long-term viability. Therefore, we find that critical 
habitat is not determinable at this time.
    We are, therefore, seeking information from the public regarding 
which physical or biological features or specific areas may be 
essential to the conservation of the Florida bonneted bat. Please see 
Information Requested above for specific information we are seeking to 
assist us in trying to identify the biological requirements for the 
Florida bonneted bat. We are particularly in need of information on 
location of natural roosts, roosting and foraging habitat preferences, 
dietary requirements, and foraging distance. Information gleaned from 
the public comment period, as well as from ongoing research efforts we 
are employing with the help of our partners (new survey technologies, 
computer modeling, etc.), will hopefully yield sufficient new 
information on those physical and biological features essential to the 
species to allow us to propose critical habitat.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure 
that our proposed listing determination is based on scientifically 
sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We have invited these peer 
reviewers to comment during this public comment period on our proposal 
to list the Florida bonneted bat as an endangered species.
    We will consider all comments and information received during this 
comment period on this proposed rule during preparation of a final 
determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this 
proposal.

[[Page 60776]]

Public Hearings

    Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings 
on this proposal, if requested. Requests must be received within 45 
days after the date of publication of this proposed rule in the Federal 
Register. Such requests must be sent to the address shown in FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. We will schedule public hearings on this 
proposal, if any are requested, and announce the dates, times, and 
places of those hearings, as well as how to obtain reasonable 
accommodations, in the Federal Register and local newspapers at least 
15 days before the hearing.

Required Determinations

Clarity of the Rule

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations 
that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to make 
this rule easier to understand including answers to questions such as 
the following: (1) Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? (2) 
Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that interferes with 
its clarity? (3) Does the format of the rule (grouping and order of 
sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its 
clarity? (4) Would the rule be easier to understand if it were divided 
into more (but shorter) sections? (5) Is the description of the rule in 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the preamble helpful in 
understanding the emergency rule? What else could we do to make the 
rule easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any comments that concern how we could make this 
rule easier to understand to Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department 
of the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240. 
You also may email the comments to this address: Exsec@ios.goi.gov.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of 
information that require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This rule will not impose 
recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local governments, 
individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or 
sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of 
information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental 
impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), need not be 
prepared in connection with listing a species as an endangered or 
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We published a 
notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal 
Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available 
on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the 
Field Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this package are the staff members of the 
South Florida Ecological Services Office.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 17--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. In Sec.  17.11(h) add an entry for ``Bat, Florida bonneted'' to 
the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in alphabetical order 
under Mammals, to read as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Species                                                   Vertebrate
------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                    Critical     Special
                                                          Historic range       endangered or          Status       When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name              Scientific name                              threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Mammals
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Bat, Florida bonneted...........  Eumops floridanus..  U.S.A. (FL)........  U.S.A. (FL)........  E                 ...........           NA           NA
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

    Dated: September 20, 2012.
Daniel M. Ashe,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-24300 Filed 10-3-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P