Friday, January 14, 2011

Intergovernmental Executive Committee Convenes To Lead International White-Nose Syndrome Response

Members of a new intergovernmental executive committee tasked with implementation of the white-nose syndrome (WNS) national plan met in late December to discuss the coordinated national response to this deadly wildlife disease. WNS has killed more than one million bats in the Northeast, and has spread rapidly across the United States and into Canada since its discovery in 2007.

The White-Nose Syndrome Executive Committee will provide oversight across participating state and federal agencies and tribal governments to ensure consistency and coordination in management action, policy interpretation, communication, and collection of scientific information related to WNS.

Co-chaired by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), the committee also includes representatives from five Native American tribes, four states, and six federal agencies in addition to the Service: U.S. Geologic Survey, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Department of Defense. The committee will also include representatives from federal wildlife management agencies in Canada and Mexico.

“The Committee will provide the cooperative leadership necessary for the implementation of the national plan, and an opportunity to build on the science and work that has been ongoing since discovery of WNS,” said Dr. Jon Gassett, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and AFWA co-chair of the WNS Executive Committee.

“The cooperative response to this unprecedented wildlife disease has been tremendous,” said Marvin Moriarty, executive committee co-chair and Northeast Regional Director for the Service. “But as WNS continues to spread, the work of this team to ensure we are working closely to leave no stone unturned will be critical to conserving North American bat species.”

The committee’s work to implement the national plan will include:
  • Guiding cooperative intergovernmental leadership in response to WNS,
  • Providing oversight across participating agencies and organizations to ensure consistency in management, science, policy decisions, and funding,
  • Addressing need for intra-organizational resources, and
  • Ensuring exceptional scientific and technical expert representation in WNS organizational structure.

The national plan, which was open for public comment from October 27, 2010 through December 26, 2010, will be finalized in early 2011. For more information, visit

Source: USFWS;