New pilot project to leverage federal and state resources to restore southern pine savanna and bobwhite quail habitat.
ATHENS, GA, November 18, 2015 — State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia announced a partnership effort with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (DNR-WRD), that will target habitat restoration to benefit local quail populations as well as other wildlife species. The Bobwhite Quail Southern Pine Savanna Restoration Pilot Project is part of the on-going fiscal year 2016 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) signup and all Georgia producers who wish to be considered for this opportunity for technical and financial assistance should apply by December 18, 2015.
“This pilot project is just another example of how we can work together to identify innovative solutions to tackle the long list of conservation needs of Georgians” said Rudolph. “We are excited to work with our colleagues with the State of Georgia to build upon their decades of success in restoring this degraded habitat.”
This new funding pool will be utilized for the restoration and management of southern pine savanna and bobwhite quail habitat within designated priority areas of Georgia. Enrollees will need to install wildlife friendly practices that address inadequate wildlife habitat and degraded plant condition related resource concerns. A special emphasis will be placed on prescribed burning and the possession of an NRCS approved wildlife plan or Forest Stewardship Plan with wildlife identified as the primary objective.
Those interested can apply by visiting their local USDA Service Center and submitting their Conservation Program Application (NRCS-CPA-1200). Additionally, if selected for EQIP assistance, a landowner will have the option to have their application considered for additional assistance from the Georgia DNR-WRD to install bobwhite quail and pine savanna management practices and/or receive technical guidance on integrating bobwhite management with agriculture and forestland. To find out more about these State of Georgia resources, visit the Georgia DNR-WRD’s Bobwhite Quail Initiative (BQI) website. There you will also be able to connect with your local BQI Biologist.
EQIP was originally established under the 1996 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. It provides technical and financial assistance to landowners to voluntarily address soil, water and other natural resource concerns on private lands. Some commonly used EQIP conservation practices in Georgia include, but are not limited to: pasture and hay land planting, heavy use areas, waste storage facilities, terracing, pest management, tree planting, seasonal high tunnels, organic crop assistance, and wildlife habitat management.
NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment. More information on NRCS conservation programs can be found at http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov under the Programs tab.
ABILENE – Organizers are urging quail enthusiasts to make plans to attend the Statewide Quail Symposium to be conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service on September 16-18. Plans are being finalized for the symposium, which will open with a tour of the Trail Ranch at Albany beginning at 1 p.m. Sept. 16. The remainder of the symposium will take place at the MCM Elegante Hotel in Abilene.
“The last time we convened a statewide quail symposium was in 1999 in Abilene,” said Dr. Dale Rollins, a symposium planner. Rollins is AgriLife Extension’s statewide coordinator for the Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative at San Angelo and director of the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch at Roby.
“Since then we’ve experienced record lows of bobwhites, scaled or blue quail and consequently, the number of quail hunters,” he said. “We hope we turned the corner last year and we likewise hope to build on that rebound nicely this summer.”
Rollins said the symposium will bring together leading professionals and experts in quail management, research and conservation from around the state.
“These speakers come from a wide range of backgrounds, including current land managers, research scientists and state agency professionals who will present a wide range of currently relevant and popular topics,” he said.
The Sept. 16 Trail Ranch tour presentations will include talks on quail management, economics, the Texas Quail Index, defining usable space for quail and brush sculpting.
The Sept. 17 session slated for 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. will feature talks on the state of quail hunting in Texas, weather and quail, translocating wild quail for re-establishment and eyeworms, plus debates on pen-reared quail and cow and quail coexistence.
The Sept. 18 session from 8-11:15 a.m. will feature talks on the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, Quail-Tech, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Institute, Borderlands Research Institute and plans for the next biennium.
Individual preregistration is $50 by Sept. 7 and $75 thereafter. Individual student preregistration is $20 by Sept. 7 and $50 thereafter.
Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units in the general category will be offered.
For the latest information on the agenda, registration, lodging and more go to, www.statewidequailsymposium.com .
The Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative coordinated by Rollins is a $2 million legislatively funded AgriLife Extension statewide initiative supported by Upland Game Bird Stamp revenue. Rollins said those dollars support research projects and AgriLife Extension educational activities including the Statewide Quail Symposium, which represents the culmination of those funds.