South Dakota bat populations are declining locally, and continentally, due to habitat loss and fragmentation, roost disturbances, public lack of awareness, and poor regulatory South Dakota measures. The South Dakota Bat Working Group and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks recognize the ecological and economic benefits of South Dakota bats and are initiating efforts to protect habitats and conserve bats in South Dakota. This South Dakota Bat Working Group seeks to protect bats and South Dakota bat habitat through action, education, and cooperation with federal, state, and private landowners. South Dakota objectives include raising awareness concerning the role bats play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and working with public land managers and private South Dakota landowners to reduce possible disruptions to bats and their habitat. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, specifically the Wildlife Diversity Program, seeks to inventory, protect, and manage South Dakota species and habitats in a manner that meets the needs and desires of the people of the state while protecting South Dakota’s biological diversity. South Dakota bat efforts towards conserving bats and their habitats in South Dakota include the development and implementation of a state bat management plan.
The South Dakota Bat Management Plan includes general background information, management plan outline, and numerous South Dakota appendices. General background information includes details concerning South Dakota bats and their habitat, health issues, management justification, and bats’ legal status. The South Dakota management plan outlines objectives, strategies, and makes management recommendations by tax on or habitat of South Dakota bat species in the management, research, and education sections. Numerous appendices include species accounts, written articles regarding South Dakota bats, and current federal laws associated with bats and their habitat.
The main goal of the South Dakota Bat Management Plan is to provide guidance promoting long-term conservation of South Dakota bat species through research, management, and South Dakota education. Through the implementation of this plan, bat conservation efforts will be strengthened and cooperation among South Dakota agencies, organizations, and landowners, as well as regulatory measures, will be enhanced. The goal being a reversal of downward trends of particular South Dakota bat populations noted in bat survey work conducted through the years.