NATIONAL BOBWHITE CONSERVATION INITIATIVE   Leave a comment

It is no secret that the population of Bobwhite Quail in the US is declining for the past 50 years.  Less commonly known is that songbird populations are being decimated by equal numbers since they depend upon the same habitat.  Habitat is the key to returning these birds back to their former population levels. 

To that end a national alliance of 25 state wildlife agencies issued a situation assessment and call for decisive action.  A first step in the program is calling the situation to the attention of the outdoor press.  To that end, they attended the recent meeting of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA) in Branson, MO. 

I met with Don McKenzie and Dr. Tom Dailey and am very impressed with their political savvy and biological knowledge in this field.  They are accomplishing a lot on a very limited budget and are dedicated to re-establishing quail habitat through out the range of the Bobwhite. 

These are some of the first steps they recommend during the next 12 months. 

            1.  The most important step is for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quit making the planting of aggressive exotic plant species the first choice when they subsidize, with public money, plantings on private land.  In their place, native plant species should be encouraged as they provide better habitat for bird life.  This is probably the most important thing we can do to rebuild the habitat and increase wild bird populations. 

            2.  Each of the 25-member states should adopt and adapt the new national bobwhite Conservation Planning Tool in their respective areas.  The tool is a unified strategy for restoring wild quail that needs to be publicized for the public to understand and support the state wildlife agency’s efforts. 

            3.  Each state can highlight the National Bobwhite Conservation initiative in their state wildlife magazine and explain the challenges that are presented to their implementation. 

            4.  The public needs to join and support a native grassland habitat-related conservation organization whether it emphasizes quail, turkey or songbirds. 

            5.  Enthusiasts should volunteer their money and services to the state agency’s efforts.  It is advisable that they attend meetings of state commissions and boards and use their efforts to lobby for financial support. 

            6.  On a national level enthusiasts need to communicate to their Congressional delegations the need to support Farm Bill conservation programs. 

For more information on the habitat management for quail propagation and ways in which you can help go to the website of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative at:  http://www.bringbackbobwhites.org.

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