updated March 14, 2024 to include subsequent USFWS communication on the anticipated effective date 

On Friday, March 8, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that they were extending the Interim Consultation Framework and related guidance for the Northern Long-eared Bat (NLEB), originally due to expire on April 1, 2024. Draft guidance is expected to be released for review on or about April 1, 2024, but will not go into effect until “later this summer in 2024.”1

Key to this announcement was this statement:

For ongoing projects previously reviewed using the interim NLEB tools, no action is needed, except for federal action agencies issued a biological opinion under the Interim Consultation Framework (ICF). 

Thus, for projects that were not being held to time of year restrictions on tree clearing (i.e., had received a “no effect” or “may affect, not likely to adversely affect” determination), any authorized tree clearing work that has not been completed can continue past April 1 until final guidance is implemented.

While we don’t yet know what the final tools and guidance will look like, it is encouraging that USFWS will be releasing them for review, questions, and feedback prior to implementation this summer.  The announcement also stated that the tools would be applicable to both the NLEB and the Tricolored Bat, the final listing of which is expected to be published soon.

WSSI Can Help

Contact your WSSI Project Manager or the staff listed below to discuss how NLEB relates to your projects and any potential implications of this guidance.


1 A subsequent USFWS email dated March 12, 2024 indicated that this may be July 1, 2024.


  • Ben Rosner, PWS, PWD, CE, VSWD

    Director - Environmental Science

    Gainesville, VA

  • Christie Blevins, PWS, CESSWI, LEED AP

    Director - Regulatory

    Gainesville, VA

  • Michael Klebasko, PWS, QFP

    Manager - Maryland Environmental Science

    Millersville, MD

  • Bob Kerr, VCPWD, VSWD, SPWS

    Director – Hampton Roads Division

    Virginia Beach, VA