The Western Bat Species Regional Priority Matrix is a product of the Western Bat Working Group Workshop held in Reno, Nevada, February 9-13, 1998. The matrix is intended to provide states, provinces, federal land management agencies, interested organizations and individuals a better understanding of the overall status of a given bat species throughout its western North American range. Subsequently, the importance of a single region or multiple regions to the viability and conservation of each species becomes more apparent. The matrix should also provide a means to prioritize and focus population monitoring, research, conservation actions, and the efficient use of limited funding and resources currently devoted to bats.
Research and management needs, recommended as high priority by the majority of regional analysis groups, comprise five general areas;
- the need for standardized sampling recognizing that population status and trend data are lacking and seriously needed for most species;
- monitoring the effectiveness of management actions implemented for bat conservation;
- assessing the effects of contaminants on migratory bat species;
- information on roosting requirements, foraging ecology, and seasonal movement patterns and
- the need to gain a regional perspective and more complete distributional information, especially in relation to longitude, latitude, elevation, and habitat types for most species.
As a means to accomplishing the latter, two groups suggested establishing a summer censusing program analogous to the Christmas bird count. As a result, a ‘National Bat Survey Week’ will be initiated by the Western Bat Working Group with the intention of promoting the need to obtain bat data from mist netting efforts by appropriately trained researchers, managers, and biologists across the United States. The second full week of August each year will be considered ‘National Bat Survey Week.’ It will be a targeted time period for emphasis on conducting bat surveys. State bat working groups are encouraged to help promote, coordinate, and facilitate state efforts and identify locations for surveys.