Front Royal Grotto NewsFeed

Compiled by Nikki Fox since March 2008

Go here for a list of WNS links for more information.

See the updated WNS Infection Map.




October 11, 2016

Merlin Tuttle, the founder of Bat Conservation International, talked about the need to "focus all possible resources on protecting surviving remnants from unnecessary disturbance" at his keynote address at the 46th annual meeting of North American bat researchers.

"It is also time to acknowledge that closing all caves, even those never used by bats, is counterproductive, needlessly risking partnerships with cavers that we can’t afford to lose."

"Members of the National Speleological Society have been extremely cooperative during this multi-year period in which access to many of their favorite caves has been denied in hope of slowing the spread of WNS. They have played key roles, contributing financially in addition to helping researchers and resource managers find and protect key sites. Nevertheless, broad cave closures clearly have failed. Though reasonable precautions to avoid disturbance in caves suitable for bat occupancy should continue, there are no further reasons to restrict cavers from using caves which are not suitable for bats." Read more here.



October 4, 2016

A four-year $2.5 million study was launched on Sept. 27, 2016, by the Wildlife Conservation Society and partnering institutions to help scientists understand White Nose Syndrome. Read more here.



August 3, 2016

Article— WNS found in Washington state likely originated in eastern U.S.



April 12, 2016

New WNS decon guidelines.



March 31, 2016

WNS jumps to the west coast — WNS confirmed in Washington state — not in a cave.



Jan 13, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the Northern Long-eared bat as threatened. See the range of the bat in North America here.



Nov 12, 2015

Nebraska has WNS.



Nov 2, 2015

WNS found to be widespread in northeast China. Article here.



May 29, 2015

A new WNS decontamination protocal had been issued. The temperature of water used for the hot water treatment should be increased from 50C (122F) to 60C (140F).



May 21, 2015

Bats treated for WNS released near Hannibal, Mo.



May 20, 2015

WNS confirmed in Oklahoma — making this the 26th sate.



May 15, 2015

150 bats cured of WNS using grown bacterium, Rhodococcus rhodochrous.



April 4, 2015

WNS confirmed in Iowa.



June 27, 2014

Article — Virginia Big-Eared bat has natural immunity to WNS



June 11, 2014

Mississippi tested for WNS - found in soil, not bats.



June 3, 2014

USFS Souther Region 8 — includes Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. — issues 5 year blanket cave closure.



May 6, 2014

Oklahoma removed from list of suspected WNS infection.



Feb 24, 2014

National Park Service announcment — WNS found in tour routes of Mammoth Cave.



Nov 1, 2013

Bad news for bats: the fungus that causes White-Nose Syndrome persists in caves even in the absence of bats as hosts.



Aug 9, 2013

WNS confirmed in Minnesota, in two state parks.

July 29, 2013

WNS found in two Arkansas caves — in Devil’s Den State Park in Washington County and a private cave located in southern Baxter County.


July 25, 2013

New scientific research in WNS fungus supporting a shift in the genus to which the fungus belongs; from Geomyces destructans to Pseudogymnoascus destructans.
"This research increases our confidence that this disease-causing fungus is, in fact, an invasive species," Bayless said, "Its presence among bats in Europe, where it does not cause mass mortality, could suggest hope for bats suffering from this devastating wildlife disease. Time will tell." View the full article.



July 5, 2013

New WNS infection map of North America issued today.



June 27, 2013

Monongahela National Forest (West Virginia) Cave Closure Order has been extended indefinitely. Order No. 09-21-13-13



June 27, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced grant awards totaling $950,694 to 28 states for WNS projects. See the state-by-state amount of money awarded.



April 8, 2013

It has been reported today that signs of WNS has been detected in SCCi caves in four states. The SCCi-owned caves affected this winter include: Wolf River Cave in Fentress County, Tenn., Frenchman Knob Cave in Hart County, Ky., Fricks Cave in Walker County, Ga., and Fern Cave in Jackson County, Ala. Read more here.



March 25, 2013

Hellhole Cave bi-annual bat count, the Pendleton County, W.Va., cave's numbers: not good for Indianas and little browns.



March 12, 2013

WNS has been confirmed in Georgia at Ellisons Cave on Pigeon Mountain in Walker County.



March 11, 2013

WNS now in South Carolina. The first positive bat was collected a couple weeks ago on NPS property just south of the Tennessee state line.



Feb 28, 2013

WNS in Illinois. It has been detected in LaSalle County in north-central Illinois, Monroe County in southwestern Illinois, and Hardin and Pope Counties in extreme southern Illinois.



Feb 28, 2013

WNS found in Prince Edward Island, Canada.



Feb 23, 2013

WNS has been found in or immediately adjacent to 10 national parks:

- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Md.
- Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Tenn.
- Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Ky.
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pa. and N.J.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn.
- Mammoth Cave National Park, Ky.
- New River Gorge National River, W.Va.
- Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Mo.
- Russell Cave National Monument, Ala.



Feb 15, 2013

WNS has found in Kentucky at Carter Caves and Kingdom Come State Parks.



Feb 12, 2013

WNS has confirmed at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.



Jan 29, 2013

North Carolina releases WNS surveillance and response plan.



Jan 25, 2013

Missouri State Parks has WNS confirmation that a bat found in the entrance of Onondaga Cave at Onondaga Cave State Park in Crawford County.


Jan 16, 2013

WNS has been confirmed at Mammoth Cave National Park. News release here.



Jan 10, 2013

"I have mud in my blood," says Highland County resident Rick Lambert in an NPR interview. He talks about his decades of caving, changes along the way and about the joys of mucking about in the mud.



Dec 16, 2012

An interactive WNS infection map shows the spread of the disease and which species are affected and where.



Dec 14, 2012

Researchers have found that the fungus that causes deadly White Nose Syndrome persists in caves long after it has killed the bats in those caves. A study just published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that it can survive in soil for months, even years, after the bats have left.



Oct 10, 2012

WNS first appeared in southern Indiana caves in February 2011. Based on the latest information, it does not appear to have killed substantial numbers of bats.



Sept 22, 2012

Newly-published study about the social and economic values associated with public caves and their closure. Report focuses on the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.



Aug 3, 2012

The U.S. Forest Service Region 2 has issued a new, modified cave closure order for the Rocky Mountain Region for one year. Members of the NSS and CRF are granted exemptions. Advance permission is still required, as well as following decon procedures.



July 11, 2012

The USFWS announces grants to states for WNS work, including "surveillance and monitoring of caves and mines where bats hibernate, preparing state response plans and other related projects." Included in the press release is a list of states and the amount of the grants.



July 4, 2012

New study — Social Bats Pay a Price With New Fungal Disease: Study Determines Which Bats Are Headed for Extinction.



June 28, 2012

West Virginia — Monongahela National Forest Blanket Closure Extended One Year.



June 26, 2012

New USFS Decon Procedures!
Note that hot water is the easiest and safest method available! Check the temperature on your hot water heater and the resultant temperature of your hot wash cycle to ensure that it maintains the 122-degree water temperature for the full 20 minutes.



June 12, 2012

Tennessee extends cave closures for the fourth year in a row.



May 25, 2013

US Forest Service extends cave closure in Southern Region.



May 19, 2012

WNS now in Oklahoma.



May 10, 2012

WNS observed in bats at C&O Canal National Historic Park in Maryland during March 2012 bat surveys.



May 4, 2012

SCCi caves are reopening!
It's now May, and that means that many of our caves that have been closed for several years are reopening. We're in the process of updating our webpage with info about how to visit the caves, including Surprise Pit.
Ron Miller, SCCi Secretary



May 3, 2012

The family of the late Gene Turner sent a letter to WVACS announcing the immediate closure of Buckeye Creek Cave in Greenbrier County, W.Va., with limited access afforded to WVACS for its projects therein. The owners expressly forbade all other caving and expressly said not to ask permission at the house across from the cave. The owners said the tenants do not have permission to speak for the family and cannot give permission.



May 2, 2012

WNS in Hamilton County, Tenn.



April 20, 2012

New York bat populations rebound, according to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. Notable increases in the number of little brown bats where WNS was first found six years ago. The largest cave saw an increase from 1,496 little browns last year to 2,402 this winter.



April 11, 2012

Updated WNS Map for North America.



April 9, 2012

New WNS decon protocols — Submersion in hot water — effective at sustained temperature of 122 F for 15 minutes.



April 2, 2012

WNS in Missouri.



March 30, 2012

Official update on bat decimation in Virginia presumably due to WNS.

Another winter has come and gone and the negative impact of white-nose syndrome (WNS) on Virginia bat populations continues. While few surveys of hibernating bats were conducted this past year in order to minimize disturbance to already declining bat populations, new evidence of the spread of WNS was documented. Scott County was added to our list of WNS confirmed counties and additional WNS positive caves were added to counties already known to house the deadly disease. It now appears that Lee County is the only county in the mountain region of the state where WNS has not been documented. . .



March 28, 2012

WNS in Delaware.



March 21, 2012

WNS in Maine's Acadia National Park.



March 20, 2012

WNS in Great Smoky Mountains. Biologists confirmed that both a tri-colored and a little brown bat found in a park cave tested positive.



March 14, 2012

WNS in Alabama. Confirmed in Russell Cave, Jackson County.




March 11, 2012

The USFWS has launched a new WNS website.



March 7, 2012

Following is a report from Wil Orndorff, with Virginia's DCR . . .

"We received confirmation last week that bats in Caines Cave and Cathole have WNS.
Also, bats in Sparks Cave - Scott County, Va. - also are affected with WNS. Sparks is another cave that doesn't receive significant (if any) recreational use. The WNS was discovered on a survey trip. WNS has yet to be documented in Lee County, Va. However, WNS affected caves are literally in sight of the county line, so it does not look good."



March 2, 2012

An article on Georgia wildlife officials testing bats in Sitton's Cave for WNS.



Feb 25, 2012

West Virginia's DNR biologist Craig Stihler gives interview on WNS. Announces that Virginia big-eared bats seem to be immune to WNS.



Feb 7, 2012

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has detected WNS in three Breckinridge County caves.



Feb 2, 2012

Canada changes the status of Tri-colored Bat , Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis to be endangered.



Jan 25, 2012

The NSS has sent a 6-page letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Daniel Ashe requesting that USFWS publicly release its data and methodology for arriving at it's recent estimate of "at least 5.7 - 6.7 million" bat deaths from WNS.



Jan 17, 2012

The official numbers of dead bats from WNS — at least 5.7 to 6.7 million.



Jan 1, 2012

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will require an Access Permit for visitors to department-owned Wildlife Management Areas. This includes access for caves, which are currently closed.



Jan 18, 2012

Starting today, all activities on Georgia Wildlife Management Areas (Pigeon Mountain) will require a paying a small fee for access. This includes caving. The cost is $19 per person, per year.



Dec 16, 2011

SCCi will reopen caves previously closed for WNS, beginning May 2012.



Oct 31, 2011

SCCi has purchased another TAG classic — Tumbling Rock Cave.



Oct 26, 2011

Scientists have proven that the fungus Geomyces destructans causes WNS.
Research published in the journal Nature provides the first direct evidence that this fungus is responsible for a disease that is decimating bats in North America.



Sept 10, 2011

An article chronicling the spread of WNS, including its impacts and research efforts, in Science News.



Aug 22, 2011

Reminder — new USFWS decon protocols as of Jan. 25, 2011.



Aug 1, 2011

The 420 wind turbines across Pennsylvania killed more than 10,000 bats last year — mostly in the late summer months, according to the state Game Commission.



June 29, 2011

The final report for the NSS Headquarters Commission has been posted with its recommendation for the new NSS office. The NSS Board will likely vote on a motion to accept the recommendation at its meeting on Friday of Convention (July 22.)

The Commission will discuss the site and selection process at a special session on Tuesday afternoon at Convention, and answer questions from NSS members.
Find previous reports and other info, including copies of NSS News articles over the years about the NSS office, on the Commission's home page.



June 28, 2011

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the eastern small-footed and northern long-eared bats may warrant federal protection as threatened or endangered species, following an initial review of a petition seeking to protect the species under the Endangered Species Act. Read the formal findings here.



June 19, 2011

WNS Summer Update — it has continued spreading over the winter and spring. Indiana, North Carolina, Maine, Ohio, and Kentucky were added to the list of states with confirmed WNS, as well as Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.



June 16, 2011

Little Brown Myotis Persist Despite Exposure to White-Nose Syndrome — a report by Al Hicks and others on study of a little brown colony in N.Y.



June 14, 2011

It has recently been shown that some WNS infected bats can survive and reproduce, which provides hope that a resistant population will slowly build up. 



June 8, 2011

Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest continues emergency cave closure until April 2016.



June 6, 2011

A good summary of WNS in Microbe Magazine.



June 2, 2011

Two Caves in Forbes State Forest to reopen for exploring in Penn. Coon Cave in Westmoreland County and Barton Cave in Fayette County, will soon be reopened to the public for recreational caving by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced today. A third cave, Lemon Hole in Westmoreland County, will remain closed.



May 26, 2011

CBD Files Intent to Sue in 30 Days if Caves Not Closed. They filed a formal letter with the Obama Administration yesterday, if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Department of Defense did not immediately close caves and mines on federal land.
For a good read: One Environmentalist's View of the CBDD



May 24, 2011

WNS can now be killed with HOT water.
Hazel Barton reported research from Kevin Keel that shows that 50 degree Celsius water (122F) for 15 minutes kills Geomyces destructans. This is hotter than typical wash water, but significantly less than boiling. This data potentially opens the door for a future non-chemical alternative for decon.



May 24, 2011

WNS in Maine.



May 22, 2011

WNS is NOT in Oklahoma.



May 17, 2011

The Fish and Wildlife Service announces a National Plan to combat WNS. Here is the press release and a Q&A page.



May 12, 2011

USFS closes all caves in Northern Region.



May 11, 2011

U.S Forest Service is considering restrictions for Northern Region caves. The area includes North Dakota, Montana, north Idaho, and northwest South Dakota.



May 10, 2011

A new WNS Infection Map of North America.



April 28, 2011

WNS scientific paper — Pan-European Distribution of White-Nose Syndrome Fungus (Geomyces destructans) Not Associated with Mass Mortalityses.



April 25, 2011

WNS Video — Scientific Community Unites to Save Bats. And follow up on the outcomes of the experiment.



April 19, 2011

WNS now in the New River Gorge and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.



April 18, 2011

WNS in Nova Scotia, Canada.



April 15, 2011

WVDNR biologist Craig Stihler reports three more W.Va., counties have been added to the WNS positive list:

  * Randolph - a dead bat found outside the main entrance to Bowden Cave was confirmed by lab testing
  * Grant - Klines Gap Cave
  * Fayette - abandoned coal mine (Brooklyn Mine) in the New River Gorge was confirmed by the National Park Service labs



April 13, 2011

WNS in Kentucky.



March 31, 2011

Wil Orndorff, with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, has made the following WNS announcements in Virginia:
Over the last month we've had reports of WNS in the following counties/caves:

  * Augusta (Grand Caverns)
  * Roanoke (Dixie Caverns)
  * Frederick (Ogdens Cave)
  * Russell (Concrete Tank Cave)

"IMHO, this probably represents the spread of WNS from local bat population centers to smaller "satellite" caves in respect to bat use. None of the aforementioned caves are very significant in terms of bat numbers."



March 29, 2011

WNS in Maryland. Found in an abandoned mine complex in western Washington County. The mine complex serves as an important bat hibernacula.



March 5, 2011

John Guilday Caves Nature Preserve now opening Hamilton and New Trout Caves on March 12th, year-round. Trout Cave, which is now used by two endangered species, will remain closed.



Feb 16, 2011

Wil Orndorff, with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, has made the following WNS announcements in Virginia:

— Feb 15 - Kelly Cave, everything appeared normal at Kelly: bat numbers good.

— Feb 16 - Rocky Hollow Cave, Rocky Hollow was a different story.  About 5% or so of the Little browns exhibited fungus. Several bats were active, and there appeared to be some (limited) queuing behavior. Fungus was not observed on other species present: Indiana bats, Big brown bats, Eastern small-footed bats, and Tricolored bats (pips). Several freshly dead bats were observed.

A voucher specimen was collected for confirmation and will be sent to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisc.

Until today, the Powell Valley was the last stand of Virginia's bats versus WNS. It is but a short journey along a continuous outcrop belt of Greenbrier (Newman) limestone to Cumberland Gap. Expect remainder of Powell Valley caves to become infected later this year or next winter.

No one had been in Rocky Hollow since early 2009, when I last visited it. At that time, we were using fully deconned clothes and equipment and had not (to our knowledge) yet been in a WNS positive cave. The cave is gated and we are certain there has been no other visitation.



Feb 13, 2011

Wil Orndorff, with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, has made the following WNS announcements in Virginia:

— Feb 1 - Witheros Cave, Bath County - Rampant WNS - numerous dead,  percent decline estimate not yet determined, count numbers clearly down.

— Feb 4 - Newberry-Banes - 3rd year WNS+ Cave - Little brown bats numbers down to about 10% of the pre-WNS 4000+, and half of the survivors are cued abnormally close to the entrance so it does not look good for them. North Subway passage, which normally has 2000-3000 Little browns, was down to about 30. Indiana bats, on the other hand, looked relatively better, with well over 50% still alive and appearing well (no sign of fungus on the Indiana bats in Newberry-Bane).

— Feb 5 - Higgenbotham Cave, Tazewell County - No one has been in this cave for 11 years. Evidence of  WNS discovered by me last year at the entrance. Cave is now essentially devoid of Myotis. No Indiana bats were observed. A couple of  dozen Little browns were present and a couple of Eastern small-footed bats. No pipistrelles. On the positive side, the Virginia big-eared bat colony appears alive and well.

— Feb 9 - Gap Cave (Big Salt to Cudjo's through trip), Lee County (Cumberland Gap National  Historic Park) - Bob Alderson aptly guided the bat crew through this uberimpressive cave, including a sneaky little trip into Kentucky! AS OF THIS DATE, THERE IS NO SIGN OF WNS IN GAP CAVE. ALL BATS APPEAR WELL AND THE NUMBERS ARE CONSISTENT WITH PRE-WNS COUNTS.

— Feb 10 - Grassy Springs, Lee County (Cumberland Gap National  Historic Park) - AS OF THIS DATE, THERE IS NO SIGN OF WNS IN GRASSY SPRINGS CAVE. ALL BATS APPEAR WELL AND THE NUMBERS ARE CONSISTENT WITH PRE-WNS COUNTS.

Still no evidence of WNS in far far southwestern Virginia in the Powell River Basin.



Feb 9, 2011

WNS in North Carolina.


Feb 1, 2011

WNS in Indiana.



Jan 31, 2011

Wil Orndorff, with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, has made the following WNS announcements in Virginia:

— Jan 24 - Rufe Caldwell Cave, Craig County - WNS Positive - still over 1,000 bats, but lots of mortality and dozens of carcasses on ledge just outside entrance, along with what appeared to be bird guano.
— Jan 25 - Coon Cave, Bland County - numbers of pips and little brown bats down to ~ 10% of their pre-WNS levels.
— Jan 25 - Hamilton Cave, Bland County - WNS+ for first time; appeared clean in 2009; greeted by dead Myotis liebii on ledge outside and above cave entrance.
— Jan 26 - Stonley's Cave - Number of little browns down by 80% from pre-WNS levels; numerous carcasses.

Reports from cavers:
— Jan  29 - Mill Creek Cave - bats outside and queued near entrance.  No obvious fungus, but appears to be WNS affected based on behavior.



Jan 25, 2011

Updated WNS closures in New Mexico.



Jan 23, 2011

Wil Orndorff, with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, announced that James Cave, in Pulaski County, Va., has observed a pipistrelle with fungus on muzzle and wings.



Dec 16, 2010

The Center for Biological Diversity, Bat Conservation International, Dr. Thomas Kunz, and others have asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to examine whether or not the Little Brown Bat (Myotis Lucifugus) should be added to the federal Endangered Species List.



Nov 9, 2010

New Mexico & BLM issue bat cave closures.



Oct 27, 2010

The new national draft made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's WNS proposed management plan up for review and comment beginning tomorrow, according to the press release. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to WhiteNoseBats@fws.gov.



Oct 10, 2010

The SCCi has a newly leasde acquisition, the Jacobs Mountain Preserve, which is located in Jackson County, Ala. Features 65 known caves that have been closed for many years. Eighteen of the caves are considered significant, including —Paint Rock River Cave, GuessCave, Norsemans Well, Torode Pit, Williams Saltpeter Cave, Halley's Hole and many more.



Oct 6, 2010

USFWS announces $1.6 million in WNS Research Grants.



Oct 1, 2010

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's page of state closures and other WNS info.



Sept 19, 2010

The USFS to require decon nationwide by October 1, which will include show caves. Information in the following documents: USFS DC Memo, USFS Region 3 Memo and USFS Interim WNS Plan.



Sept 16, 2010

The WNS fungus genome is sequenced.



Sept 13, 2010

The National Wildlife Refuge System closes caves to slow WNS spread.



Aug 19, 2010

The BLM issues a national WNS memorandum, closing all caves and mines.



Aug 6, 2010

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department restrict caves to protect bats from the spread of WNS.



July 27, 2010

The USFS Rocky Mountain Region has issued a cave and mine closure for Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.



July 19, 2010

Georgia WNS plan asks cavers to decon and voluntarily limit caving.



July 13, 2010

Updated WNS Infection Map of North America.



July 12, 2010

New Virginia caving protocols from the VA Cave Board has been issued.
** Note that number four allows for simply washing gear rather than deconning if caving within the known range of WNS. **



June 30, 2010

An VDGIF news release on WNS found on a different bat species in Virginia.



June 29, 2010

Georgia's WNS response plan. "DNR is urging cavers to reduce trips to Georgia caves and follow federal guidelines for disinfecting clothes and gear.


June 25, 2010

Alabama WNS Management Plan.



June 23, 2010

The CBD files intent to sue Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for not acting quickly enough to give endangered species protections against WNS.



June 7, 2010

Virginia's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries reports Geomyces destructans (WNS) found on another species: Southeastern Myotis. The following is excerpted from the USFWS alert:

An individual Myotis austroriparius was collected from Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield County and sent to the National Wildlife Health Center for WNS testing.

5/10/10 This single bat was found alive but very debilitated and heavily parasitized on the ground during daylight hours in Pocahontas State Park (Chesterfield Co., VA) on 5/1/10. The animal died shortly after capture and was noted to have flaking on its arms and be dehydrated. Bat was submitted to NWHC on 5/7 for testing for white-nose syndrome (WNS). Brain from this animal tested POSITIVE for rabies. The VA Public Health Dept. has been notified of this case PCR and histology are pending for WNS testing.

6/3/10 PCR of both wing and muzzle tissues from this specimen have tested POSITIVE for Geomyces destructans, the fungal agent causing skin infections in WNS affected bats. Follow-up sequencing was a 100% genetic match for G. destructans. Histologic examination of the muzzle, ear and wing tissues did not have evidence of fungal infection in the sections observed. Further examination of the tissues is being pursued to look for isolated areas of fungal skin infection. Until these results are available, this bat is considered "suspect positive" for WNS because it did harbor the fungus associated with the disease as confirmed by PCR and sequencing. This represents a new species of bat that has come in contact with G. destructans although the species susceptibility to develop WNS is currently not known.

Peter Youngbaer
NSS 16161
WNS Liaison



June 6, 2010

The SCCi has signed a lease for the Clark Entrance to the Snail Shell Cave Preserve in Rutherford County, Tenn.



May 22, 2010

The West Virginia Cave Conservancy is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Wild Cat entrance to Culverson Creek Cave. This is the easiest and most popular entrance into the 20+ mile long system. Rick Bantel donated close to an acre surrounding the entrance and a walking right-of-way from the gate along Williamsburg Road in downtown Unus.  Rick was honored at the VAR as "2010 Landowner of the Year."



May 20, 2010

George and Mickey Deike have donated a conservation easement on Shalimar Farm in Pocahontas County to the Nature Conservancy and the state's Agricultural Land Protection Authority. Among the protected assets are 200 acres of farmland, a trout stream called Leatherbark Run and 4.4 miles of passages in Cass Cave, which the state considers one of West Virginia's most important privately owned caves.



May 19, 2010

WNS in Oklahoma.



May 19, 2010

Effective May 21, 2010, the USFS Southern Region has extended the 2009 cave and mine closure order. Affected areas are KY, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, TN, AR, LA, TX, OK, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.



May 19, 2010

The USFS has issued a Closure Order for Michigan's Ottawa National Forest and Ohio's Wayne National Forest Caves and Mines.



May 14, 2010

The Ozark NSR closes all caves after WNS found in Shannon County, Mo.



May 10, 2010

The SCCi has just opened to visitation Long Island Cove in Jackson County, Alabama. The 3,000-acre preserve contains two notable pits, one significant horizontal cave and seven other known caves All of these caves have been closed for several years. Deep Well (292 feet) is the deepest open-air pit in TAG. Not-So-Deep Well (253 feet) is also an impressive pit. Long Island Saltpeter Cave, which contains over three miles of known passage, has been gated and essentially closed to visitation for over 15 years.



April 26, 2010

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center today posted the following revised and very detailed classification system for WNS detection.



April 23, 2010

Without giving the public any notice whatsoever, the Forest Service has extended the cave and mine closure on the Monongahela National Forest until June 30, 2012. This new closure order (21-104) was signed on April 15th. Also, the Region 9 closure (R-09-01) expires tomorrow, April 24, 2010.



April 19, 2010

WNS found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and in Missouri state.



April 15, 2010

From Wil Orndorff:
State and federal staff, university scientists, and caver volunteers visited Hupmans Saltpetre Cave on April 14 to assess the status of the bat population.

More than 1,000 bats were present, with ~ 10% exhibiting visible fungus. This cave is visited very infrequently and is gated and locked. The gate had to be excavated in order to enter the cave.

It appears to be the first year of obvious infection at this location, similar to how Breathing Cave appeared last year. The appearance of WNS at Hupmans is no surprise given its proximity to positive sites in the Alleghany highlands of Virginia and West Virginia.



March 25, 2010

Updated WNS Infection Map of North America.



March 24, 2010

WNS has been confirmed in a second Tennessee cave.



March 22, 2010

The WVCC (West Virginia Cave Conservancy) has decided to reopen five caves that have non significant bat populations, effective May 15, 2010.

— Donaldson Cave (Berkeley, County, W.Va.)
— Island Ford Cave (Alleghany County, Va.)
— Lightner Entrance to McClung Cave (Greenbrier County, W.Va.)
— Maxwelton Sink Cave (Greenbrier County, WV)
— Persinger Entrance to Benedict Cave (Greenbrier County, W.Va.)



March 10, 2010

WNS in Maryland by the Cumberland newspaper, the Times-News.



March 5, 2010

The Virginia cave entrance monitoring for signs of WNS has been going on for several weeks. Here's the results so far from Wil Orndorff:

- Perkins and Cribb in Washington County, no anomalous activity.
- Starnes and Pighole in Giles County, both appear positive.
- Newcastle Murderhole and Shires Saltpetre in Craig County, both appear positive.
- Rufe Caldwell Cave in Craig County, no anomalous activity.



Feb 27, 2010

The Board of Directors of the SCCi, today approved a Revised Cave Visitation Policy, effective immediately. The Board adopted this policy in order to help reduce the potential inadvertent introduction of WNS.



Feb 24, 2010

Wil Orndorff reported:
"Chris Hobson, Bill Balfour, and I visited Stonley Cave in Tazewell County to perform an entrance survey last Wednesday night (2/17/10). We did not visit the hibernaculum area, which is home to several hundred Little browns, some pips and a few Virginia big-eared bats.
 
Some 15-20 tricolored bats (pips) were observed roosting in the twilight zone, the majority but not all in a ceiling fissure. In addition, two groups of Little brown bats (5-6 and 3) were observed. Upon closer investigation, the group of three were discovered to be dead. The were bagged and will be sent off for autopsy. They'd been hanging for a while, so I'm not sure they may not yield a false negative even if they were infected with WNS. We'll be visiting the entrance again over the next few weeks and will report back.
 
In addition, at least one bat was observed flying in the entrance area, and appeared to be a Little brown.
 
No fungus was observed, but the presence of bats in the entrance area combined with the dead cluster and active bats make me very suspicious that WNS has arrived to Tazewell County and East River Mountain.
 
There are several more significant hibernacula caves nearby in both the Virginias."



Feb 23, 2010

WNS confirmed in Hellhole. Biologists expect that WNS will devastate the bat population in this cave. A trip report by the cavers was written.



Feb 16, 2010

WNS in Tennessee.



Feb 10, 2010

An updated WNS infection map for North America.



Feb 9, 2010

DGIF received reports today of significant bat activity and the discovery of dead bats on the landscape in Skydusky Hollow, Bland County, Va. Specimens are being collected and set to appropriate labs for verification of pathology. This is the area where Newberry-Bane Cave is located, which was discovered to be positive for WNS last April. It should be noted that a year ago at this time bats in Newberry-Bane showed no signs of WNS, which did not become evident until late April.
 
Last year in Virginia, the entrance queuing behavior was only observed at Clover Hollow Cave, not in the other WNS positive Virginia Caves. Clover Hollow was also the only place where bats had been reported on the landscape in Virginia last year. So far we have seen no evidence of further southern expansion of the WNS range this winter.



Feb 5, 2010

The NCRC Eastern Region has just announced an NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue course on March 26-28, 2010, in Harrisonburg and Grottoes Va. This is the first Eastern Region training course in some time — due to WNS — and these courses fill up quickly. Registration fee is $40, which includes a lunch and camping at Grand Caverns. Please note class starts at 7 p.m. Friday evening.



Jan 27, 2010

The Mid-Atlantic Karst Conservancy (MAKC) regrets to announce that the hibernating bats at its Hall Cave Preserve in Huntingdon County, Pa., have become the latest population to be infected by WNS. White Nose Syndrome is a fungus first noted in 2006 in upstate New York, and has been associated with the deaths of over 1,000,000 bats in the northeastern United States.

Three members of the Board of Directors of the MAKC, which owns the 9.45 acre Hall Cave Preserve, entered the cave on January 23, 2010 to conduct an annual bat survey. The three geologists counted 1,820 bats in the cave, (1,800 little brown bats, 18 pipistrelles and two big brown bats). Previous bat counts have documented 486 bats on March 13, 2009, 62 on January 12, 2008, 75 on January 22, 2003, 143 on February 21, 2000, and 35 on March 20, 1985.



Jan 16, 2010

An updated WNS Infection Map for North America.



Jan 11, 2010

Pay your FRG dues with this online form. Simply fill out, print and mail.



Jan 10, 2010

WNS found in another Virginia cave.

State Scientist Wil Orndorff was in Tawneys Cave, which is Giles County, on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. He observed 6, out of 650-700 total, bats with clear signs of WNS — fungus on wings, arms, muzzle and tail. Of these bats 4 pipistrelles and 2 little browns has signs of WNS. Tawneys has been added to the list of closed caves until the policy is revisited, which will probably be late spring after the hibernation season is over. Specimens were not taken since this is not a range extension for WNS. Clover Hollow Cave, which is only a couple miles away, was confirmed with WNS last winter.



Jan 9, 2010

Georgia WNS Response Plan — The Georgia DNR, in cooperation with several state and local agencies, will be hosting a meeting about their response to WNS. This response includes closing of all caves on state and federal land within 250 miles of the last known WNS infected site. This will include western Ohio, western Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, western Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama.

This proposal also includes working with private landowners to convince them to close their caves as well.

The meeting will be Thursday, January 21st, 2010, 7:00 p.m. at the Georgia Wildlife Federation Alcovy Conservation Center in Covington, Ga.



Dec 30, 2009

WNS found in France.



Dec 3, 2009

The SCCi has adopted a Cave Visitation Policy to address WNS concerns. This new policy includes applying for access permits and following certain decon procedures.



Nov 24, 2009

Arkansas's Buffalo National River has temporary closed some, but not all, caves on its lands due to WNS.



Nov 11, 2009

The Tennessee Valley Authority asks the public to avoid caves on TVA-managed land until further notice.



Sept 28, 2009

WNS Decontamination and Stress Test Results on Sterling Ropes and Webbing were just released by Dr. Hazel Barton.



Sept 27, 2009

The USFS releases a draft of a national plan for WNS for Assisting States, Federal Agencies and Tribes.



Sept 25, 2009

The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NCC) announced it will close three of its caves —Knox Cave, Crossbones Cave and Ella Armstrong Cave, all in New York state — to protect hibernating bats in response to the continuing WNS crisis.



Sept 18, 2009

Crossroads Cave is now open. The owner, the Virginia Speleological Survey, closed the cave awaiting the results of soil samples for WNS. It is required that all persons entering this cave must abide by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's procedures, including decontamination.



Sept 15, 2009

Virginia askes for voluntary moratorium. The document is titled: Recommended measures to reduce the spread of White Nose Syndrome in Virginia and is a revision of the March 6, 2009 and April 15, 2009 statements.



July 13, 2009

New website lists all the cave closures from WNS by date and state.



July 12, 2009

A Web page for the July 8th Senate joint subcommittee hearing has been created.



July 10, 2009

WNS now confirmed in Smyth County's Hancock Cave — from Virginia DCR's Karst Protection Coordinator Wil Orndorff.



July 6, 2009

Caves located on state lands in Tennessee and the The Tennessee Nature Conservancy have been closed for a year in an effort to prevent the spread of WNS among the state’s bat population. Read the press release here.



June 20, 2009

The USFS issued updated WNS decontamination procedures.



June 15, 2009

The WNS fungus has been officially named: Geomyces destructans.



June 9, 2009

On May 22 the SCCi Board voted to reopen non-bat caves that were previously closed in April. Please refer to the management plan for access to each cave.

— Gourdneck Cave
— Sinking Cove Cave(s)
— South Pittsburg
— Snail Shell Cave
— Swirl Canyon Cave.

The following Kentucky caves are now reOPENed:
— Logsdon Cave

The following caves in Tennessee and Kentucky will remain CLOSED: Hardins/Junkyard Cave
— Holly Creek Cave
— Rattling Pit
— Wolf River Cave,
— Frenchman Knob Cave



June 4, 2009

The NSS has created a webpage on the Joint House Subcommittee Hearing on WNS.



June 4, 2009

Look at the WNS decontamination procedures released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Please note the following: The USFWS description on page 3 of their publication is WRONG! Both Craig Stihler of West Virginia and Greg Turner of Pennsylvania that Formula 409 with a 0.3 concentration works. That is the concentration on the over-the-counter supermarket product. Moreover, it is what the USFWS recommendations list on page 5 of these very same procedures.

The "> 3%" description is incorrect, and should be changed to "0.3%."



June 3, 2009

On June 4 there will be a Joint House Subcommittee Hearing on WNS. Speaking will be BCI's Merlin Tuttle, NSS WNS Liaison Peter Youngbaer, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Scientist Scott Darling and WNS researcher at Boston University Tom Kunz will present testimony at a joint House subcommittee hearing on WNS. Also scheduled are Department of the Interior Secretary Salazar and Department of Agriculture's Secretary Vilsack.  

Read the weekly newsletter from the Committee on Natural Resources here.
Watch a live podcast of the hearing on the committee's Website.
Read the witness testimony following the conclusion of the hearing here.



May 28, 2009

A short video on White Nose Syndrome, "The Battle For Bats."



May 22, 2009

A 12-month cave closure order on public lands was signed on May 21, 2009. All caves and abandoned mines on national forests and units in 13 Southeastern states from Oklahoma to Virginia and Florida will be closed unless posted as open. All uses would be prohibited except organized rescue efforts and other actions specifically authorized by the agency.

The states in Region 8 include: 
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.



May 22, 2009

Here are four brief reports on WNS in Virginia sent to VARList by Wil Orndorff.  The most interesting thing to me is that some of the affected bats DO NOT show Geomyces infestation. This supports the hypothesis that the underlying cause of WNS is something else, and the fungal infection is secondary. 
 
1) WNS Confirmed in Newberry-Banes
Results were received last week about the Newberry-Bane Cave bats. Three male Little browns were necropsied. Geomyces sp. fungus was cultured from one of the three, while "mixed fungal growth not consistent with Geomyces" was cultured from the other two. All three bats were in good body condition.

Note that over 10% of the bats in areas the collecting team visited exhibited fungus on their wings and muzzles consistent in appearance with WNS.

National Wildlife Health Center advises to proceed assuming the cave is infected with WNS.

2) WNS is NOT in Endless Caverns
From National Wildlife Health Center communique:

"Three bats were examined and all appeared in fair to good body conditions.  No significant internal lesions were observed. All had mixed fungal growth on either their muzzle, wings or both but none appeared Geomyces-like. PCR results and histopathology are also pending on these three bats."

So WNS, as defined by the presence of Geomyces sp. fungus, is NOT confirmed at Endless Caverns. PCR and histopathology will tell us more.

3) WNS not in Cumberland County
The one bat submitted to date from the Virginia Piedmont for possible WNS did not turn up positive for Geomyces sp. It was in poor body condition, however, and did have a mixed fungal growth.

4) Possible WNS in Smyth County
DGIF and DCR staff visited Hancock Cave on Thursday (May 21, 2009) in response to caver reports of WNS-like fungal growth on bats in the cave. A few pipistrelles with significant fungal growth on wings and muzzles were collected fairly close to the entrance and shipped to the National Wildlife Health Center for necropsy and other analyses.

If this site turns out to indeed be WNS, and all indications are that it is, the disease is now in the Upper Tennessee River Basin, no more than 6 miles from the nearest Gray Bat summer colony in Marion, Va.



May 15, 2009

Some Northern caves have been reopened. All cave visitors are asked to follow the cleaning and decontamination procedures of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In the USFWS advisory, they urged “agencies and partners who manage cave resources to strongly consider limiting access to caves and mines to slow the spread of WNS,” and encouraged “national and local caving organizations to continue their outreach and education efforts to spread the word about WNS and about responsible resource stewardship.”

The NCC cave openings are — Clarksville, Ladder, Onesquethaw, Knox, Crossbones, Ella Armstrong, Selleck’s, Levy’s and 545.



May 1, 2009

TheIndiana DNR has closed its caves, sinkholes, tunnels and abandoned mines on DNR-owned land from May 1, 2009 through April 30, 2010.
The exception is Twin Caves at Spring Mill State Park. Read the official notice here.



May 1, 2009

The WVCC is abiding by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's voluntary caving moratorium and has closed its caves.

— Island Ford Cave in Alleghany County, VA
— Donaldson Cave in Berkeley County, WV
— Maxwelton Sink Cave in Greenbrier County, WV
— Lightner Entrance to McClung Cave in Greenbrier County, WV
— Persinger Entrance to Benedict Cave in Greenbrier County, WV
— Haynes Cave in Monroe County, WV
— Lobelia Saltpeter Cave in Pocahontas County, WV
— Rapps Cave in Greenbrier County, WV



May 1, 2009

A long-awaited WNS brochure is now available.



April 30, 2009

Watch a CBS video on WNS filmed in Vermont, run time is 2:33. Download full video of "Aeolus in February 2009," since it was considered too gruesome to play on prime time television.



April 29, 2009

The US Forest Service Eastern Region (No. 9) has posted an official closure notice for all caves and mines located within their national forest lands.

View the signed closure order, additional information and frequently asked questions.

This area includes the states of:
Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin



April 27, 2009

In response to the uncontrolled spread of WNS affecting bat species, all caves and mines on the National Forests in the Eastern Region of the Monongehela Forest have been closed by Forest Service managers for one year, from April 24th, 2009 to April 24th, 2010. The closures will allow scientist time to study the syndrome and learn more about how it is spread.

At this time, all caves and mines on the Monongahela National Forest are closed; however, we recognize that our caves are an important resource for cavers, and, we would like to consider the possibility of opening a few caves for recreational use in the near future.

We will consider the nomination of caves that do not contain bats, have little habitat for bats, or that would not contribute to the spread of White-Nose Syndrome near important bat caves. To nominate a cave, please submit information about why the cave should be opened, as well as any known bat activity in the cave to cmsandeno@fs.fed.us by June 30, 2009.

All nominations will be reviewed by a Forest Service team. The decision as to which caves will be open, if any, will be made by mid-July.

Cynthia Sandeno, Ecologist
Monongahela National Forest
200 Sycamore Street
Elkins, WV 26241



April 24, 2009

There is new research developemets in the lab about ways to kill WNS on our cave gear from Hazel Barton. Hot water and drying does not decontaminate.

"While the active fungal growth disappears quickly at elevated temperatures, and only thrives at 40-52 degrees Fahrenheit, the spores are a different story. Heat alone at dryer temperatures not only doesn't kill the spores, but actually causes increased germination.



April 24, 2009

WNS Suspected in Bats in Three More Counties in Virginia. Rick Reynolds (VA-DGIF) has released the following information on WNS in Virginia: 

I'm sad to report that we have 3 new counties where WNS is suspect.

1. Cumberland County — photographs of a bat on the side of a building were sent to the DGIF web site with a request to ID the species. The photos were sent to me for ID and to my surprise the wings of the bat appeared to have the fungus. I sent these photos to several of you and everyone returned basically the same comment "doesn't look good." I was able to collect the specimen and send it to Madison. Results are pending. This is a county that does not have karst and I am still trying to determine the origin of the bat. There are a couple mineral mines that we need to look into.
 
2. Bland County — this county is adjacent to the Giles County site and thus should not be of to great a surprise. This cave is Newberry-Bane and is one of our larger little brown sites and contains both Indiana (about 250 individuals) and VA big-eared bats (small numbers, 6-10 individuals). We surveyed this site back in January and we were happy to NOT see signs of WNS. Over this past weekend the site was visited to see if bats had left the cave or not. Upon reviewing photos of little browns we spotted the classic white muzzle on an individual in the middle of a cluster. Specimens will be collected this Friday and sent to Madison.
 
3. Rockingham County — this site is on the west side of the Blue Ridge and is a commercial cave (Endless Caverns). Members of the VA Cave Board held a meeting at the conference center and were given a tour of the cave after the meeting. There are a couple of small clusters of little browns (60-80 individuals) along one of the passages and Wil Orndorff noted the fungus on the wings of some of the bats. I went to the site yesterday and collected several specimens and sent them to Madison. We are working with the owners to incorporate a WNS education component and decontamination procedures.



April 21, 2009

Newberry-Banes Cave is suspected to have WNS in Bland County, Va.



April 21, 2009

The combined NSS Convention and the 15th International Congress of Speleology in Kerrville, Texas, has cancelled all eastern cave trips.



April 20, 2009

Federal Money for WNS research. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today the award of more than $9 million to 12 state wildlife agencies to help conserve and recover imperiled fish and wildlife species through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Competitive Program. The federal funding will be matched by more than $7 million in non-Federal funds provided by states and their partners for projects helping imperiled fish, wildlife and plant species.



April 15, 2009

All Virginia caves are now OPEN.
A statement concerning Virginia's voluntary moratorium has been released. Certain bat caves are now closed, see the "Recommended measures to reduce the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) in Virginia."



April 15, 2009

The NSS Board of Governors issued a statement on WNS following its spring meeting last weekend in Colorado Springs, Colorado.



April 10, 2009

The SCCi has recently taken precautionary action to help protect bats from WNS by temporarily closing several SCCi caves. They will reopen caves as soon as the Board determines that it is safe to do so. As of April 10, 2009, the following caves have been closed:

— Anderson Cave and Fern Cave (Fern Sink Entrance and Surprise Pit) in Alabama
— Fricks Cave in Georgia
— Frenchman Knob Cave and Logsdon Cave in Kentucky
— Gourdneck Cave, Hardins Cave, Holly Creek Cave, Rattling Cave, Sinking Cove Cave Preserve caves, Snail Shell Cave, South Pittsburg Pit, Swirl Canyon Cave and Wolf River Cave, in Tennessee.



April 9, 2009

PMI does NOT recommend bleaching ropes repeatedly for WNS decon procedures. Although PMI’s testing suggests that a single disinfection using the recommended method will not cause appreciable harm to nylon or polyester ropes, if this process is repeated multiple times the damage will inevitably become appreciable, and this damage is not necessarily detectable through visual inspection.


April 6, 2009

WNS has been CONFIRMED in Breathing and Clover Hollow caves..



March 26, 2009

The Northeast Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has issued a statement that recommends suspending caving to protect bats from WNS:

"This is a VOLUNTARY moratorium, effective immediately, on all caving activities in states known to have hibernacula affected by WNS, and all adjoining states, unless conducted as part of an agency-sanctioned research or monitoring project."

From this statement, it would seem to include the states of:
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Quebec (Canada), Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Also, frequently asked questions are answered by the Northeast Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.



March 23, 2009

The ER-NCRC Weeklong Training this year in Virginia has been cancelled due to the threat of WNS that has affected several VA and WV caves.



March 23, 2009

At the Northeastern Cave Conservancy Board Meeting, which is Sunday March 29, Peter Youngbaer (the NSS WNS Liaison) will move for the following motion on the agenda: 

"That the NCC immediately CLOSE all its caves to any visitation, and that they remain closed until the threat of the spread of White Nose Syndrome has passed. Implicit in this motion is that the NCC immediately notify all known groups and organizations that typically visit its caves about the closure, and issue a press release informing the media and public, taking the opportunity to educate about why this measure is being taken, and that we encourage all cavers, recreational or otherwise, to adhere to a moratorium on all caving activity within the northeast during this period. 

Also implicit in this motion is that the NCC caves may be visited for the purpose of White Nose Syndrome research under  conditions to be determined by the Executive Committee, which may include consultation with the NCC Science Chair, the NCC Conservation Chair, and the appropriate NCC Cave Managers. "



March 23, 2009

WNS updates on the NSS page.


March 22, 2009

Peter Youngbaer, the NSS WNS liaison, has produced a detailed report describing several completed and ongoing WNS research efforts.



March 15, 2009

Read the NSS White Nose Syndrome Liaison Report.



March 14, 2009

The upcoming 2009 Spring VAR has not been cancelled. Only the host has changed.



March 13, 2009

Want to know more about WNS and how to kill it?
Geomyces is a “cold loving fungus that is killed after 20 days at 37 C. It is therefore unable to grow on humans, birds, other mammals or even bats when they are not in hibernation. Moreover, if one does some simple cleaning and drying of one’s gear, it is probably impossible for it to survive the transfer from cave to cave. However. . . read more here.



March 11, 2009

NPR broadcast about WNS on "All Things Considered.".Run time is 3:50.



March 11, 2009

Updated WNS information posted on the Virginia DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) website.



March 9, 2009

An official Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) press release concerning WNS in Breathing and Clover Hollow Caves. Specimens were collected and sent to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for analysis. It will take from two to three weeks for results to be available.



March 6, 2009

All Virginia caves are CLOSED until April 15, 20. See the updated Virginia Closed Caves List.

The moratorium is supported by the Virginia Cave Board, the Virginia Speleological Survey (VSS), the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias (CCV), the Board of the Virginia Region of the National Speleological Society (VAR) and the Butler Cave Conservation Society (BCCS).



March 4, 2009

On March 3 VADNH personnel visited Clover Hollow Cave in Giles County, Va., and found numerous dead bats. ~Approximately 200 bats staged near the entrance of the cave, and evidence of fungus on individual bats, following reports of a bat flying daytime outside in the snow.

Look under Everything Bats > White Nose Syndrome (WNS) > Fungus serious threat to NE bats > page 32 > second posting from the bottom.

Peter Youngbaer
NSS 16161
WNS Liaison

The Commonwealth of VA has a conference call with the VSS, DCR, Cave Board, etc. scheduled for tomorrow — a proposed moratorium on all caving in Virginia until April 15 will be discussed.



March 4, 2009

The owner of Clarke's Cave in Bath County, Va., has closed the cave after talking to Virginia's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.



March 2, 2009

WNS report by Linda Moulton Howe. "Unprecedented Northeast Bat Die-off Spreading Rapidly," on EarthFiles.



Feb 26, 2009

Landowners have closed Breathing Cave, due to the possibility of WNs there. Please report your visits to the cave.



Feb 23, 2009

WNS has been CONFIRMED in Hamilton and Trout caves, West Virginia.


Feb 21, 2009

Keep up to date the latest news on the NSS Liaison on White Nose Syndrome page.



Feb 19, 2009

Scholarships for NCRC National Seminar. The NCRC will be offering two $200 scholarships for the 2009 National Seminar. The seminar will be in Bedford, Indiana, June 13-20, 2009.



Feb 13, 2009

Dead bats found in Pendleton County, W.Va., by DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists. Even before reaching the caves, dead bats were found on the trail leading to the caves. Bats suspected of having WNS were seen in Hamilton and Trout caves, and specimens were collected for analysis. On February 5th, DNR biologists discovered signs of WNS in Cave Mountain Cave near Upper Tract. About the same time, cavers reported possible WNS-affected bats in Kee Cave near Franklin.



Feb 11, 2009

WNS in Pennsylvania. Several hundred little brown bats are dead in Lackawanna County.



Feb 7, 2009

The SCCi has taken precautionary action to protect tens of thousands of endangered bats from WNS by closing several SCCi-owned or managed caves in the southeastern US. All of the caves being closed are home to significant populations of endangered bats.

The selected caves are: Frenchman Knob Cave in Kentucky; Wolf River Cave, Holly Creek Cave and Rattling Cave in Tennessee; Fricks Cave in Georgia; and Anderson Cave in Alabama



Feb 1, 2009

WNS has now been CONFIRMED in rural central Pennsylvania's Shindle Iron Mine.



Jan 24, 2009

The John Guilday Caves Nature Preserve is now CLOSED. Hamilton, New Trout and Trout caves are closed until further notice.



Jan 22, 2009

The Pennsylvania Game Commission says WNS is likely present in a mine in Mifflin County, Pa.



Jan 20, 2009

The 28th Annual Carter Caves State Resort Park's Crawlathon in Kentucky has been CANCELLED due to WNS.



Dec 29, 2008

Trout Cave in West Virginia is now GATED and CLOSED from Labor Day weekend through May 15. View a photo of the entrance here.



Dec 9, 2008

The pre-registration form for the Spring 2009 VAR is now available on the Tri-State Grotto website.



June 29, 2008

Front Royal Caverns Update, by Janet Tinkam:
"Another successful project completed this weekend! Over 20 people were able to participate and yet er done. Front Royal Caverns has a new entrance gate with a very natural looking railing and stone steps going in. It's very exciting that the county would like our guidance in establishing an outdoor classroom that will help to reinforce what the students will be learning through their environmental science classes. Thank you to those who endured the heat and humidity and more details will follow in a trip report for the newsletter. GREAT JOB!! "



June 18, 2008

An updated VAR Closed Caves List.



June 17, 2008

The WVDNR and USFWS have issued an updated “Notice to Cavers” with the latest White Nose Syndrome information. For a pdf file on the current West Virginia Closed Caves List.



May 14, 2008

The John Guilday Cave Preserve is now OPEN from WNS closures in West Virginia.



May 9, 2008

The newly created National Speleological Society's Liaison on White Nose Syndrome webpage.



April 30, 2008

Northeastern Cave Conservancy caves closed until May 15, 2008. The nine New York caves owned and managed by the NCC will open for summer visitation include the Clarksville Cave, Knox Cave, Onesquethaw Cave, Crossbones Cave, Ella Armstrong Cave, Ladder Cave, Selleck’s Cave, Cave 575 and Levy’s Cave. Caves are open according to the normal conditions, which may be found on the NCC website



April 15, 2008

Keep up to date with White-Nose Syndrome Facts.



March 11, 2008

Know which local Caves Are Now Closed on the VAR Limited Access List due to WNS.



March 3, 2008

A plea for Information and Openness about WNS.