The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) have joined forces in the nation’s capital to address national issues critical to wild bobwhite restoration.
“Many of the barriers to and opportunities for broad-scale restoration of bobwhites and grassland birds are rooted in decisions made – or not made – by the federal government, too often in the absence of credible information about bobwhite and grasslands wildlife conservation needs,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “It is vital to the 25 NBCI states that key barriers and opportunities be effectively addressed.”
TRCP Senior Director of Science and Policy Tom Franklin will be the 25-state bobwhite initiative’s “face” in the nation’s
capital. A certified wildlife biologist, Franklin has extensive experience in conservation policy and is widely known in Washington, including as field director and policy director of The Wildlife Society for 22 years, and in his role on the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council advising the secretaries of the US Departments of Agriculture and Interior.
“TRCP is a coalition of many of the top conservation groups in the country and is a well-known and well-respected entity in Washington and around the country,” said McKenzie. “This new partnership enables NBCI to enlist the support and assistance not only of TRCP but also of numerous other conservation groups, while adding NBCI’s strengths to address common priorities of the alliance. And Tom Franklin has a lifetime of unparalleled conservation policy experience. Wild bobwhite restoration on a landscape scale -- which is what we’re about -- needs that level of experience and visibility to inform and educate decision makers.”
"The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is excited to partner with NBCI and help advance national policies that restore bobwhite habitat," said Whit Fosburgh, TRCP President and CEO.
Added Franklin, "Restoring abundant bobwhite populations to their historic strongholds is a challenge crucial to all who have shared the thrill of flushing a covey of bobs behind a pointing dog. I am pleased to join the NBCI team that is working tirelessly to ensure that we will again hear the bobwhite whistle throughout rural America."
The new national partnership is also facilitated and strengthened by a grant of private funds from the Park Cities Quail chapter of the Quail Coalition in Texas, said McKenzie. “Park Cities Quail’s mission focuses primarily on conserving Texas quail, but we greatly appreciate the organization stepping up with strong support of the NBCI and bobwhite conservation at this national level. This endeavor illustrates the comprehensive network of partnerships and collaboration nationally and among the 25 states necessary to meet a challenge as daunting as bobwhite restoration.”
“Through its fund raising and allocation of grants, Park Cities Quail, a chapter of Quail Coalition, is dedicated in its efforts to reverse the decline of the bobwhite quail,” said Jay Stine, coalition executive director. “We understand the importance of having a voice in Washington, D.C., and feel that Tom Franklin will work with our same determination for our beloved bobwhite. We are honored to be a part of this alliance by assisting with funding for an advocate for bobwhite quail in the nation’s capital.”
Franklin will fill the position of Agriculture Liaison for the NBCI, working as support staff and implementation leader for the Agriculture Policy Subcommittee of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee, the technical brain trust behind the NBCI.
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’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, various 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.
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing. For more information, please visit http://www.trcp.org/.
About Park Cities Quail
Park Cities Quail (PCQ) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization run by Dallas, TX-area volunteers who are passionate about our sporting tradition and are determined to make it available to future generations. By being completely volunteer, we are able to donate virtually 100% of every dollar raised towards quail research and youth education. In the past eight years this group of individuals has raised and donated over $4,500,000 directly to our cause! PCQ also spawned Quail Coalition, a statewide organization which now boasts 13 chapters and over 4,000 members. For more information, please visit http://www.parkcitiesquail.org/.
A policy long sought by the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) -- and just this week approved by the Farm
Service Agency (FSA) – makes over 3.6 million additional acres in 24 of the 25 NBCI states eligible for the federal Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds practice (CP-33), commonly known as “Bobwhite Buffers.”
Essentially, CP-33 (which was originally established in 2004 at the urging of NBCI) allows agricultural landowners to contract with FSA to use marginal borders of working cropland for grassland wildlife habitat in exchange for annual rental payments. Specifically, the policy change now allows inclusion of the un-irrigated corners of crop fields irrigated with center pivot irrigation systems without those corners being connected by field borders also enrolled in the program. Previously those corners had to be connected by 30-foot field border strips, an impractical requirement. FSA, which administers the program, said “studies suggest that the shapes of these patches and their proximity to each other create an attractive environment for the birds, even without the connecting strips.”
“After many years of effort we got the pivot-corner practice we have been asking FSA to authorize in the Continuous CRP!” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “This new practice is a direct result of persistent efforts by the NBCI and our founding group, the National Bobwhite Technical Committee, who led the national campaign for this practice. Although ultimate success of this practice depends on the level of landowner enrollment in priority bobwhite conservation regions, it has potential to be a very big deal for bobwhites and numerous other species in landscapes dominated by center-pivot irrigation. It’s another major win for the NBCI, NBTC, state wildlife agencies and birds!!” FSA has already made some 250,000 acres available nationally to be enrolled in the new practice.
Every NBCI state except West Virginia can potentially benefit, with approximately 17.6 million acres of cropland irrigated with center pivot systems in 24 NBCI states.
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an initiative established by the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide leadership endeavor. NBTC 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,
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,
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.
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.
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
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
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,