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The Bobwhite Quail in Virginia


NRCS Releases Study on Conservation Practices for Bobwhite Quail Habitat

Report Includes Findings from USDA-NRCS Bobwhite Restoration Projects

Contact: Brad Fisher (202) 720-4024

AUSTIN, TEXAS, September 15, 2009 - U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Agricultural Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) today announced the release of a new study on conservation practices that improve Bobwhite Quail habitat. Titled "Managing Working Lands for Northern Bobwhite: the USDA NRCS Bobwhite Restoration Project," the 224-page publication reports findings of 11 research projects that were conducted in nine states.

"Agricultural conservationists will find this new report excellent resource of information based on extensive research and study," said Dave White, Chief, NRCS. "I highly recommend it to anyone interested in attracting Bobwhite Quail and enhancing Bobwhite Quail habitat."

The Northern Bobwhite is an early successional bird that has been in decline on farmlands, forestlands and rangelands for more than 40 years. Federal Farm Bill Conservation programs provide incentives to encourage private landowners to adopt conservation practices on working lands. The publication released today explains how habitat restoration is possible by working with farmers, cattlemen, forest owners and other private landowners interested in quail, other wildlife, and conservation in general.

The book also provides details on the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), an ambitious, habitat-based plan for restoring bobwhite populations through delivery of effective conservation practices on rangelands, croplands, and forests of the rural American landscape.

"Because private lands make up approximately 70% of the U. S., NRCS is critical to providing technical assistance to landowners and AWCC is committed to providing the best wildlife habitat technology and information available," says Pete Heard, Director, AWCC.

The book was written to evaluate and help refine current NRCS conservation practices and to develop new innovative techniques for restoration and management of early successional habitat on working agricultural lands. The publication was a collaborative effort between NRCS-AWCC, Mississippi State University, and 11 other universities, state resource management agencies, and private research stations.

This publication provides NRCS and others with the most up-to-date scientifically-based technical resources to assist in planning and implementation of NRCS conservation practices designed to enhance and restore bobwhite and grassland bird habitat.

Collectively, these studies demonstrate that the suite of conservation practices available through Farm Bill programs, when appropriately applied under a site-specific prescription, can be used to achieve the habitat and population goals of the NBCI. Achieving these goals requires targeted delivery by resource management agencies and broad-scale adoption by producers.

The book can be ordered from LANDCARE, 1-888-LANDCARE (888-526-3227), landcare@usda.gov or viewed online at: http://www.whmi.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/TheQuailReport.htm