NBCI News

State of the Bobwhite: Grassland Conservation at a Crossroads

Challenge Solvable, But Decisive Actions Needed

Bobwhite Quail, Grasslands Conservation

At a Crossroads, Says New 25-State Report

 

BRANSON, Missouri — Declaring that conservation efforts on behalf of bobwhite quail and other native grasslands birds are “far inadequate” to stop their decline in the U.S., a national coalition of 25 state wildlife agencies has issued a new situation assessment and a call for decisive action. The report was unveiled at the annual conference of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association.

“A much larger, long-term commitment by all states and conservationists is imperative to overcome the half-century decline in bobwhite habitats and populations,” according to the first ever State of the Bobwhite: Grassland Conservation at a Crossroads from the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). “Bobwhites are slipping through our fingers, and time is not on our side. We have the expertise; now we need to muster the resolve.”

Bobwhite quail populations have plummeted as much as 80 percent over the past half century by some estimates, while entire suites of songbirds that depend on the same habitat of native grasslands and shrublands have recorded similar declines.

In the first-ever regional bobwhite report, the NBCI and the NBCI Management Board, comprised of wildlife agency directors and private conservation leaders, say the following actions are required over the next 12 months as initial steps to recovering quail and other grassland species:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture should “step up to the plate” to become a more positive force in the restoration of native grasslands and bobwhite quail, specifically by adopting a policy making native plant species, instead of aggressive exotics that provide poor habitat, the first choice when the department subsidizes with public money plantings on private lands.

“This is probably the single most important thing that can be done across much of the country for America’s native grasslands and the wildlife that depend on them, including bobwhite quail and a whole host of songbirds,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie.

  • Each of the 25 NBCI-member states in the core bobwhite range should adopt and adapt the new national bobwhite Conservation Planning Tool (NBCI 2.0) to their respective state, if they haven’t done so already, and inform the public of their intention.
  • States should highlight the range-wide National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative in their state wildlife magazine, and explain the challenges in the context of their state and how the state is addressing them.
  • All individuals should join a native grassland habitat-related conservation organization immediately, whether the group emphasizes quail, turkey or songbirds.
  • All individual quail and grassland wildlife enthusiasts should also support their respective state’s quail management efforts by calling the state quail coordinator and offering personal involvement, political connections or financial support, as well as attendance and vocal support at meetings of the state wildlife commission or board.
  •  Individuals need to communicate to their Congressional delegation the need to support Farm Bill conservation programs, which are being cut disproportionately relative to other Farm Bill provisions.

The 37-page State of the Bobwhite is the first-ever coordinated attempt to assess state-by-state the status of bobwhite populations, hunting activity and conservation efforts across all 25 member states of the NBCI. And although bobwhite numbers continue to decline, the report does highlight a number of positive actions at the state level. Examples include:

  • Pennsylvania and West Virginia are preparing inaugural bobwhite conservation plans;
  • There are now 180 state agency-led bobwhite focus areas in 12 states;
  • Bobwhites have been included in efforts aimed at increasing wildlife diversity through ecosystem restoration in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina;
  • There are new prescribed fire initiatives benefitting bobwhites in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas;
  • Notable public outreach programs are underway in Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

To read the entire report, go to http://www.bringbackbobwhites.org/about-bobwhites/state-of-the-bobwhite

 

 

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, 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, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and private  conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org

Godwin Honored for Quail Restoration Work

Mississippi’s Dave Godwin Honored

For Dedication to Bobwhite Quail Restoration

Godwin, right, and South Carolina’s Billy Dukes, past NBTC Steering Committee Chair and chair of Awards Committee

 

Mississippi  Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Wild Turkey/Small Game Program Coordinator Dave Godwin walked away with the National Bobwhite Technical Committee’s (NBTC) annual award for “outstanding efforts and contributions” to the conservation and management of bobwhite quail – and a standing ovation – at the committee’s annual meeting in Tallahassee, Florida, last week.

The NBTC is comprised of the fish and wildlife agencies of the 25-state core range of the bobwhite quail, various research institutions and private conservation groups. It is the parent entity of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), the unified strategy to restore wild quail on a national, range-wide level.

Multiple nominations of Godwin, widely known as “Mississippi’s Small Game Hunting Ambassador,” cited his historic support for bobwhite restoration on the national, regional and state levels. He served various elected capacities with the NBTC – including chairman of the steering committee from 2006 to 2008 – to oversee its expansion from the regional Southeastern Quail Study Group to a range-wide effort, and the selection of the formal headquarters of the NBCI at the University of Tennessee.

Godwin was also cited for  helping make small game and bobwhite conservation a priority in his own home state of Mississippi, including creating the position of statewide quail coordinator, launching the state’s first-ever private lands habitat development program, completing the state’s first statewide strategic quail plan, and establishing quail management demonstrations on state wildlife management areas.

“I am truly honored to receive this award from my peers,” said Godwin. “It has been a true honor to serve the National Bobwhite Technical Committee, and to work on bobwhite conservation issues within the State of Mississippi.  The long-term, range wide decline of bobwhite quail is one of the greatest conservation challenges of our time.  I accept this award on behalf of all of those who have worked to reverse the decline of quail in Mississippi.”

 

Midwest States Renew NBCI Support

Midwest Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Renew Support for NBCI

The Midwest Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) recently renewed its support of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). The action follows the beta release of a massive revision of the initiative on March 17 at the North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference in Kansas City and a similar renewal of support by the Northeast Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies on April 19.

An organization of agencies from 13 states and three Canadian provinces, MAFWA voted to integrate the initiative into their respective bird and habitat conservation initiatives to the extent practical, and to work with other regional organizations to chart a long-term course for the nation to foster greater collaboration in managing resident game birds across state and regional boundaries.

Essentially a range-wide prescription for bobwhite recovery, NBCI 2.0 includes a thorough update and analysis of the bobwhite’s situation, a survey and classification of 600 million acres of landscape across the bobwhite range, and inventories 195 million acres of priority landscapes where bobwhite and grasslands conservation have a relatively high potential of success. It also prescribes specific management actions necessary for those acres to achieve respective state bobwhite population goals, and identifies specific keys to success, such as the addition and management of diverse native grasses and wildflowers to agricultural fields, pasture lands and forests.

NBCI 2.0 includes a massive database with an array of custom digital applications – the NBCI Conservation Planning Tool (CPT) – that helps bobwhite biologists quickly analyze habitat prospects at regional, state, county or landowner levels, and plan and implement projects for the greatest return on investment.

Paired with the online plan and tools for implementation is a small NBCI staff to help generate support for state efforts and, over time, help states address constraints to bobwhite recovery at a range-wide or national level.

To read MAFWA’s complete resolution, click HERE.

 

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org

 

University of Tennessee Looking for Assistant Professor of Wildlife Management

University of Tennessee Looking for Assistant Professor of Wildlife Management

Assistant Professor of Wildlife Management, Department of Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Salary DOE&Q. The Assistant Professor of Wildlife Management is expected to instruct the following upper-division courses: Wildlife Techniques, Upland Habitat Management, and Prescribed Fire Management; and, co-instruct the Department’s capstone course (Planning and Management of Forest, Wildlife and Fisheries Resources).  The person hired for the position also will be responsible for leading the Department’s wildlife and fisheries internship program and is expected to have active involvement with the U.T. Chapter of The Wildlife and Fisheries Society. The candidate will be required to advise undergraduate and graduate students, build a graduate research program, secure extramural funding, and publish in the peer-refereed literature.  Engagement in university and professional service activities and commitment to the Land Grant University mission of teaching, research and outreach is expected.

Candidates must have Ph.D. in wildlife ecology, natural resources, biological science, or a closely related field. Additional desirable qualifications include: postdoctoral or faculty experience that includes teaching, advising, and mentoring university students, experience in supervising student research, strong publication record, success in grant writing, ability and intent to cooperate and collaborate with state and federal natural resource agencies and non-government organizations, and experience in interdisciplinary teams.  Experience as a practicing wildlife biologist or manager and certification by The Wildlife Society as an Associate or Certified Wildlife Biologist would be an asset.

Information on the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, as well as the complete position announcement may be found at http://fwf.ag.utk.edu/.

Applications will be reviewed beginning July 15, 2011.

To apply: E-mail a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statements of both teaching and research philosophies, copies of official transcripts for all degrees completed, and letters of recommendation from (3) references to : Penny Barnhart (pbarnhar@utk.edu).   If you have questions please contact Richard Strange (rstrange@utk.edu) or Penny Barnhart (pbarnhar@utk.edu or 865-974-7988).

The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services.  All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

 

States ID 195 Million Acres as Bobwhite Priority with Release of NBCI 2.0

 

States ID 195 Million Acres as Bobwhite Priority with Release of NBCI 2.0

KANSAS CITY, MO.  – If its habitat management goals were to be fully implemented across “priority” landscapes it could add 4.6 million additional coveys – or more than 55 million birds — to the plummeting populations of bobwhites across the range, estimates the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI).

That was one message delivered Thursday night at an evening reception packed with representatives from an array of federal, state and private conservation organizations at the North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. They gathered to see the 25 states comprising the core range of the northern bobwhite quail unveil the new, web-based NBCI 2.0, the massive revision and expansion of the original 2002 printed bobwhite plan, known then as the “Northern” Bobwhite Conservation Initiative. It was instituted primarily by 16 southeastern states to help reverse the drastic decline of quail and a suite of other wildlife species dependent on disappearing diversity of native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs on rangelands, farmlands, grasslands and timberlands. 

NBCI Director McKenzie discusses advances under original 2002 NBCI
NBCI Director McKenzie discusses advances under original 2002 NBCI

“The original 2002 NBCI changed the game for bobwhite conservation and grasslands conservation overall in many ways; this revised NBCI will raise our game,” NBCI Director Don McKenzie told the audience. “This second edition goes light years beyond the initial paper-based effort in 2002. This new NBCI is a dynamic, interactive, web-connected geographic information system created by an innovative combination of satellite imagery, landscape databases, professional biological judgment and knowledge of priorities in rural communities. This is an initiative by the states, for the states. And it’s really just the beginning at a truly range-wide scale.”

Essentially a range-wide prescription for bobwhite recovery, NBCI 2.0 includes a thorough update and analysis of the bobwhite’s situation, a survey and classification of 600 million acres of landscape across the bobwhite range, and inventories 195 million acres of priority landscapes where bobwhite and grasslands conservation have a relatively high potential of success. It also prescribes specific management actions necessary for those acres to achieve respective state bobwhite population goals, and identifies specific keys to success, such as the addition and management of diverse native grasses and wildflowers to agricultural fields, pasture lands and forests.

NBCI 2.0 includes a massive database with an array of custom digital applications – the NBCI Conservation Planning Tool (CPT) – that helps bobwhite biologists quickly analyze habitat prospects at regional, state, county or landowner levels, and plan and implement projects for the greatest return on investment.

Paired with the online plan and tools for implementation is a small NBCI staff to help generate support for state efforts and, over time, help states address constraints to bobwhite recovery at a range-wide or national level.

The 233-page report can be accessed by visiting the NBCI website at www.bringbackbobwhites.org/strategy/nbci-20, or through Tall Timbers Research Station at http://nbci.ttrs.org/nbci/ConservationPlanningTool/docs/NBCIver2.0.pdf. The digital Conservation Planning Tool will be available at http://nbci.ttrs.org/nbci/ConservationPlanningTool.htm. (Visitors can view only portions of the material here, with complete access limited to professional biologists and conservation planners.)

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org

NBCI Launches New Bobwhite Website

NBCI Unveils New Bobwhite Website to Public

Bobwhite quail, and the many other species in decline that share the same space, have a new ally on the web with the launch of www.bringbackbobwhites.org by the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI).

A coalition of 25 state fish and wildlife agencies and other public and private organizations, NBCI adds a range-wide, policy level approach to the traditional project level work by the individual states.  The website’s launch comes a month before NBCI unveils a massive revision of the original 2002 initiative at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The revision includes a new digital “Conservation Planning Tool” for use by quail biologists. Over 600 biologists cooperated to build the new tool.

“NBCI is a strategy by the states, for the states to assist their efforts to restore populations of wild bobwhites across their range,” said Don McKenzie, NBCI director. “The new website is one step in bringing these efforts into focus, building a wider community that’s supportive of saving bobwhites and the many other imperiled species, and giving them avenues to act on that support. Our goal is for the site to become “bobwhite central,” a go-to location for anyone wanting to know more about the bobwhite’s situation and what’s happening to America’s landscape that’s causing it.

<

p align=”center”># # #

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org

NBCI Hires Outreach Coordinator

<h2><strong><em>NBCI Hires Outreach Coordinator</em></strong></h2> <p>July 29, 2010</p> <p>The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) has hired John Doty, Andersonville, Tennessee, to fill its outreach coordinator position.</p> <p>With a BS in journalism, Doty’s background includes a stint in the daily newspaper business as reporter and editor, as an editor and photographer with B.A.S.S. publications, several years in public relations with the natural resource operations of the Tennessee Valley Authority, publishing his own subscription newsletter, freelance writing and photography for a variety of magazines and newspapers, and helping build the public relations and communications program of a startup business that grew from Knoxville, Tennessee to 34 states.</p> <p>Doty, who will begin work August 2, will be headquartered at the University of Tennessee.</p>

NBCI/Eastern Grassland Birds Initiative Receives Preliminary Approval

NBCI/Eastern Grassland Birds Initiative Receives Preliminary Approval

April 3, 2009

Pending approval in November 2009 by the Board of Directors of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), NBCI’s proposal for an Eastern Grassland Birds Initiative (EGBI) is set to begin in 2010.

 The EGBI, a collaboration among Southeast Partners in Flight, American Bird Conservancy, Quail Unlimited, Inc., University of Tennessee’s Center for Native Grasslands and the Southeast Quail Study Group (i.e., National Bobwhite Technical Committee), has been recognized by NFWF as a “Keystone Initiative,” bringing together key ecosystems, wildlife species and natural resource partners.

 The geography of the EGBI includes 10 Bird Conservation Regions 22 Eastern Tallgrass Prairie, 24 Central Hardwoods, 25 West Gulf Coastal Plain/Ouachitas, 26 Mississippi Alluvial Valley, 27 Southeastern Coastal Plain, 28 Appalachian Mountains, 29 Piedmont, 30 New England / Mid-Atlantic Coast, 31 Peninsular Florida and 37 Gulf Coastal Prairie).

 The NBCI/EGBI will provide leadership for conservation of grassland birds via 5 staff positions focusing on policy development and implementation of conservation programs. Inquiries about the EGBI should be sent to NBCI Coordinator Don McKenzie, wmidm@centurytel.net.

SEQSG Expands Scope Nationally

SEQSG Expands Scope Nationally

April 2, 2009

The Southeast Quail Study Group membership voted unanimously to change the scope and name of the 14 year-old group to the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC). New bylaws can be found on the PUBLICATIONS page. This is one of the first steps in an effort to unite bobwhite enthusiasts throughout the species’ range. This transformation was initiated by the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative Committee of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. In step with the new name of the technical committee, the name of the initiative is being changed from Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative to National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). The next step for the NBCI is revision of the 2002 restoration plan to reflect the range-wide expansion.

Southeast Partners in Flight & SEQSG Meet

Southeast Partners in Flight & SEQSG Meet

April 1, 2009

The two leading Southeastern regional land-bird groups held their annual meetings jointly for the first time in March 2009, in Columbia, South Carolina. Led by Billy Dukes and Laurel Barnhill, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, this collaboration was the product of years of effort to build a strong working relationship between quail and songbird conservation communities. The meeting proceedings can be found on the PUBLICATIONS page.

NEWS 2