Bats are important components of ecosystems across the western United States and Canada. Many bat species are experiencing population declines and habitat loss, yet have received little or no attention in land management decisions. In response to this need, the Western Bat Working Group was established. This group consists of a leadership committee and a coalition of state and provincial working groups, each including representatives from public agencies and the private sector. The leadership committee is made up of a chairman, a six-member executive committee, a secretary/treasurer, state/province coordinator(s) from each participating state/province, and a Bat Conservation International representative. The state/provincial bat working groups provide the executive committee with information of regional relevance to bat conservation and ecology. This committee, in turn, disseminates information to state/provincial working groups. Through interactions between the steering committee and state/province working groups, the Western Bat Working Group will provide an arena for identifying and addressing regional issues.
The success of the Western Bat Working Group depends on an active exchange of information between individual bat groups and the executive committee. There will be a need for periodic meetings to accomplish our objectives. A free exchange of ideas and scientific information is essential for individuals, agencies and interest groups to reach consensus or agreement to conserve bats and their habitat. All ideas and scientific information will be given consideration. All parties are free to accept or reject ideas and information. Differing values, ideas, concepts and interpretations will be respected and encouraged.