Fort McCoy News Aug. 14, 2015

Threatened species delays firewood cutting

The presence of a federally listed endangered species on post has changed the start date of the Fort McCoy firewood-cutting season from Sept. 1 to Oct. 15.

Firewood cutting in Fort McCoy training areas will not be allowed until Oct. 15, when the northern long-eared bat typically hibernates. Firewood cutting still is allowed in the cantonment area or at the stump-disposal site, but only already-fallen trees are available by firewood permit and supply is limited.

Fort McCoy is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to get an incidental-take permit that will allow tree cutting before Oct. 15, but it is unknown when the permit will be issued.

If the permit is issued before Oct. 15, firewood cutting will resume at that time. The public will continue to be informed through The Real McCoy and through the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-2102.

The northern long-eared bat was added to the list of federally threatened species in May due to a population decline caused by white-nose syndrome, a fatal fungal disease. From April to October each year, the northern long-eared bat uses trees on Fort McCoy for roosting and raising young. Unless Fort McCoy receives an incidental-take permit, it is illegal to cut down any standing trees prior to Oct. 15 because doing so may injure or kill the northern long-eared bat.