OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, BCI has built a national program to assist land-management agencies in developing bat assessment techniques and habitat management plans for caves and abandoned mines. An important part of this program is forming conservation partnerships with federal agencies. The latest is with the National Park Service (NPS). This January, Bat Conservation International signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the park service, which will greatly enhance the effectiveness of both organizations to protect bats and their habitats.
Under the agreement, BCI and the NPS will have the opportunity to develop conservation and research projects together, such as bat surveys, habitat assessments, educational publications, and programs for the visiting public. Increased opportunities for research will be especially valuable. As is true on other federal lands, few parks have an accurate assessment of the overall health of their bat populations or, in some cases, of the species present. NPS personnel will also be able to participate in BCI's bat conservation and habitat-management workshops, which will teach them the necessary skills to manage habitat for bats more effectively.
This marks the fourth MOU that BCI has entered into with federal agencies. The Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service), have all signed agreements with BCI [BATS, Summer 1994, Summer 1993]. These active partnerships are changing the way our public lands are managed with regard to bats.