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A unique new partnership between the National Park Service (NPS), the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AG&FC) and the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) is providing a new dimension to national efforts to restore declining wild bobwhite quail populations on a landscape scale.

Working cooperatively, the three organizations will establish the nation’s first NBCI Bobwhite Focal Area ever located on National Park Service land, the 4,300-acre Pea Ridge National Military Park (Pea Ridge) in northwestern Arkansas, near the Missouri border.

NBCI is a national effort by 25 state wildlife agencies, including Arkansas, to restore bobwhite quail whose populations—and those of

 
   

other grasslands wildlife species—have plummeted over the past decades because of habitat decline. NBCI is working to establish large-scale “focal areas” where habitat—and the birds—can be restored to demonstrate that recovery of bobwhites and other grassland songbirds and wildlife is possible given proper habitat management at the proper scale. The plan is to establish a large healthy resident population of bobwhites that can be a source population that will expand to neighboring properties if the habitat is there. The three partners will also work cooperatively on the development of interpretive and educational materials. Pea Ridge will serve as a location for public education and outreach.  

“This partnership is an excellent opportunity for Pea Ridge to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of both of these outstanding organizations. It will promote large landscape conservation, and will support, protect, and provide for the restoration and preservation of our cultural landscape.  As we approach our National Park Service Centennial, this is an excellent time to work with our partners on restoring the bobwhite habitat.” said Superintendent Kevin Eads.

“The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is delighted to share in this opportunity to restore and enhance habitat that is beneficial to bobwhite quail, as well as other grassland species,” said Steven Fowler, assistant chief of the AGFC’s wildlife management division.  “Pea Ridge presents a very visible, high-profile location whereby visitors can learn about history and also observe quail and other wildlife thriving as a result of proper and focused wildlife management practices.”

“Rural agricultural settings in this era were bobwhite habitat,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “The park has already recorded some bobwhite response from its vegetation management work and has chosen the bobwhite as an ‘indicator’ species to help measure their success. That the NPS is willing to work with us to achieve mutual goals is a huge step for the restoration of wild bobwhite populations along with other grassland songbirds and wildlife species in Arkansas … and possibly other states in the future,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “It’s also an unparalleled opportunity to reach the public with the story about what has happened to not only bobwhites but also other grasslands wildlife species in this country … and why. We hope this is just a first step in working with the National Park Service wherever we have mutual objectives,” McKenzie said.

About Pea Ridge National Military Park
Pea Ridge National Military Park is a 4,300-acre Civil War Battlefield that preserves the site of the March 1862 battle that saved Missouri for the Union. On March 7 and 8, nearly 26,000 soldiers fought to determine whether Missouri would remain under Union control, and whether or not Federal armies could continue their offensive south through the Mississippi River Valley. Major General Earl Van Dorn led 16,000 Confederates against 10,250 Union soldiers, under the command of Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis. Van Dorn's command consisted of regular Confederate troops commanded by Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch, and Missouri State Guard Forces commanded by Major General Sterling Price. The Confederate force also included some 800 Cherokees fighting for the Confederacy. The Union army consisted of soldiers from Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. Half of the Federals were German immigrants. The park also includes a two and one-half mile segment of the Trail of Tears. The Elkhorn Tavern, site of bitter fighting on both days, is a National Park Service reconstruction on the site of the original. The park is one of the most well preserved battlefields in the United States. More information can be found on the web at http://www.nps.gov/peri or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pea-Ridge-National-Military-Park/221857251198706.

About Arkansas Game & Fish Commission
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission manages wildlife and natural habitat, and sets hunting, fishing and trapping regulations. It works with local, state and federal groups to enhance conservation efforts, and educates the public about the importance of healthy wildlife populations and their habitats. For more information visit www.agfc.com.

About NBCI
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture/Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of state wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and private conservation organizations. Financial support for NBCI is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, state wildlife agencies, the University of Tennessee and Park Cities Quail. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bringbackbobwhites, on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/BringBackBobwhites and on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/bringbackbobwhites.  

 

Contacts:
Don McKenzie, NBCI Director, (501) 941-7994 
Kevin Eads, Acting Superintendent, Pea Ridge, (479) 451-8122                                                                                                
Clifton Jackson, Quail/Small Game Coordinator, Arkansas Game & Fish, (501) 223-6471

                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                    

 

The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) is moving to hire a new forestry coordinator for the 25-state effort after their first coordinator was recently hired to direct the new Shortleaf Pine Initiative. The job announcement and description can be accessed on the NBCI’s homepage at www.bringbackbobwhites.org, along with similar information for the new grasslands coordinator and data analyst positions.

“This is a critical position for us because we believe about half of the opportunity to restore bobwhites to recreationally viable populations across the species’ range are in forested landscapes,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “There is a new shortleaf pine initiative to promote savannah habitats in that ecosystem primarily because of NBCI’s leadership and active involvement in its development, and we expect that to bear big fruit for bobwhites in the long term. So we intend to continue our aggressive leadership in the forestry arena on behalf of bobwhites.”

McKenzie says NBCI is looking for a forester with a wildlife background or a wildlife biologist with a strong forestry background. Preference will be give to those with a basic understanding of the ecological and economic aspects of integrating bobwhite management into forested habitats and who are very familiar with the NBCI and the NBTC, and with state wildlife and forestry agency structures and functions. The forestry coordinator will work primarily at regional and national levels as a liaison with and technical resource for a variety of entities, so is expected to travel extensively.

 

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of 25 state wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and private conservation organizations. Support for NBCI is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, state wildlife agencies, the University of Tennessee and Park Cities Quail. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org,

Applauding the news, the director of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) says the formal launch of the new Shortleaf Pine Initiative at the University of Tennessee is a “major victory” for bobwhite restoration … even if NBCI is losing its own forestry coordinator in the process.

The university recently announced establishment of the Shortleaf Pine Initiative and the hiring of NBCI Forestry Coordinator Mike Black as its director. The initiative is aimed at restoring much of the shortleaf pine savannah ecosystem across its range. The effort is supported by the U.S. Forest Service, UT and the Tennessee Division of Forestry.  

“In 2010, NBCI targeted the launch of a major national initiative for shortleaf pine savannah ecosystems, similar to the ongoing longleaf pine initiative, because these ecosystems were historically so important to widespread bobwhite populations,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “And the forested landscape, especially southern pine forests, is where we see the majority of opportunity for bobwhite restoration to exist. Only four years after setting that goal not only has NBCI been successful in leading the launch of that shortleaf pine initiative, but we also have our own passionate quail guy, Mike Black, who served as our forestry coordinator, as its new director. Black, working on behalf of the NBCI, was a key champion in the conception, development and culmination of the initiative.

“And although we certainly hate to lose Mike, he isn’t the first and I suspect he won’t be the last. But each of our departing staff went to their new job as a champion for bobwhites and for NBCI, and in a position to help us advance our cause. We know Mike will do the same. Consequently, NBCI’s influence and impact across the bobwhite range only continues to grow,” said McKenzie.

 

For more information on the Shortleaf Initiative announcement, go to https://ag.tennessee.edu/news/Pages/NR-2014-11-SPIdirector.aspx

 

 

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and private conservation organizations. Support for NBCI is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, state wildlife agencies, the University of Tennessee and Park Cities Quail. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org,

 

Application Deadline Dec. 8

 

The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) is taking the next big step necessary in fulfilling its mission following its recent designation of eligibility for Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration support from the states – hiring a spatial data analyst. An announcement for the position is posted on the University of Tennessee website. Application deadline is December 8.

The analyst, which has been in NBCI’s action plan for 3 years, will be part of the NBCI Coordinated Implementation Program (CIP) -- designed to achieve a consistent approach in developing and monitoring bobwhite focal areas across the range -- and will lead to the development of a centralized national data warehouse, and better services to the states in the design, implementation and analysis of NBCI bobwhite focal areas. 

“Most NBCI data is spatial, based on the software program, ArcGIS,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “As such, we will be able to more fully develop the NBCI 2.0 Conservation Planning Tool for easier use by NBCI member states and other partners.”  These data are currently available via the Conservation Planning Atlas of the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative, http://gcpolcc.databasin.org/.

 “With the adoption of the CIP and the designation of NBCI as a Pittman-Robertson eligible national project, along with the resources that provides, bobwhite conservation has a new look, a stronger foundation of leadership by the states and new momentum. Filling this position is the next big step,” McKenzie said.

The position, IT Spatial Data Analyst III, is with University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) Information Technology Services (ITS) department in conjunction with Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries (FWF) department, Knoxville, TN. The position will be based at the UTIA Knoxville campus. The application is available online at:  https://ut.taleo.net/careersection/jobdetail.ftl?job=140000018S&lang=en&sns_id=mailto

Questions about the position can be directed to Thomas V. Dailey, Ph.D., assistant director/science coordinator, National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (573) 881-1782; or Robert Ridenour, executive director, Information Technology Services, University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (865) 974-8630.

 

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and private conservation organizations. Support for NBCI is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, state wildlife agencies, the University of Tennessee and Park Cities Quail. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org,

 

Chuck Kowaleski, the chairman of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) and the Farm Bill coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), is the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Directors 2014 Wildlife Biologist of the Year.  SEAFWA made the announcement at its annual meeting in Destin, Florida recently.                                                                                                                                                   

SEAFWA President Presents Plaque to Chuck  
   

 

Kowaleski chairs the NBTC, which is the founding body for and provides the technical guidance to the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). Prior to the chairmanship, Kowaleski  also led the group’s Agricultural Policy Subcommittee and served as treasurer, secretary and vice chair.

With Texas Parks and Wildlife for 24 years, Kowaleski has spent the last 12 years as the state’s Farm Bill coordinator and liaison with USDA, working with various partners to implement programs to create special focus areas benefitting various wildlife species, including bobwhites. The areas have provided $35.3 million in federal cost share to 1,208 landowners in habitat improvements for priority species on 1.79 million acres. Over 325,000 of those acres were specifically for bobwhites.

Kowaleski is also very active in numerous advisory capacities with the national Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, including chairing the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Working Group.  He also is a leader in their work with NBCI to establish a national Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) policy favoring the use of native plants in Farm Bill programs and native grasses as federally-subsidized replacements for drought-susceptible, exotic pasture grasses that USDA traditionally promotes. 

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and private conservation organizations. Support for NBCI is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, state wildlife agencies, the University of Tennessee and Park Cities Quail. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org,

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