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Bats and Bat Protection

Bats play crucial environmental roles in pest control, plant pollination and seed dispersal. Recently, many bat populations across the country have declined because of white-nose syndrome, a disease caused by an invasive fungus. White-nose syndrome can affect hibernating bats and result in dehydration, starvation and, often, death. As a result of rapidly declining populations, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has listed several bat species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as endangered. Several more species are being considered for listing.

To protect listed bats, Duke Energy conducts vegetation management in ways that avoid and minimize impacts. However, operations, maintenance activities and construction of new facilities to support Duke Energy’s transition to clean energy now have the potential to affect bat species that are or may become endangered. Duke Energy recognizes the potential risk of its future activities to endangered bats. To address this, in 2023 we began a collaboration with USFWS to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) across the company’s service territory to address federal ESA requirements for protected bat species.

Duke Energy’s HCP will include multiple bat species and reinforce practices that avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts on bats. The HCP will support long-term bat conservation through improved land management, conservation actions and research to support bat recovery. Duke Energy is working with USFWS, state wildlife agencies and national bat experts to develop a robust conservation plan that incorporates the best available scientific data. More information on this innovative new program will be available in the coming year on In addition, USFWS will be conducting its own environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act, which includes a public involvement process.