News Around the Nation

Toward this website’s role as the central source for all wild bobwhite conservation information, this page highlights current NBCI/NBTC-related messages, updates and news, as well as assorted other wild quail news items of potential interest from sources around the nation.

The Patriot-News is reporting there's a "good possibility" that bobwhite quail – widely believed to be gone from Pennsylvania as a wild, naturally occurring species – could be the focus of a restoration effort at the 17,000-acre Fort Indiantown Gap military installation in northern Lebanon County, reported Commissioner Timothy Layton, chairman of the board's quail restoration committee. Read more HERE.

A June 27 field day at the University of Missouri’s Bradford Research Center will look at how farmers, landowners and wildlife enthusiasts can manage habitat for northern bobwhite quail. To learn more about the bobwhite habitat management sessions click HERE.

"It was no joke that on April 1st 80 Northern Bobwhite quail were released in the New Jersey Pinelands on the Pine Island Cranberry Company’s property.  Spread across seven treatment areas we welcomed the Northern Bobwhite back to the New Jersey Pine Barrens as we released the birds in sets of ten throughout areas of forest and grassland. Two groups of ten were released at one location given the availability of optimal habitat..." Click here to read more about the New Jersey bobwhite project from New Jersey Audubon, a conservation partner of the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife.

 

From the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette comes this update on the decision between Pea Ridge National Battlefield, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and the NBCI to establish an NBCI Bobwhite Focal Area centered around the battlefield.

South Carolina DNR News

February 23, 2015

Benefits of prescribed burning are many, but managers finding it harder to burn

The use of prescribed fire as a land management tool has deep and ancient roots in South Carolina’s heritage. However, conducting prescribed burns is becoming increasingly challenging due to a variety of factors, according to a state wildlife biologist and forester.

Johnny Stowe, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) representative to the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council and a certified wildlife biologist and forester, said properly conducted prescribed burns (also called “controlled burns”) have multiple benefits. Stowe is also a landowner who burns his own land. Prescribed fires help restore and maintain vital habitat for wildlife, including bobwhite quail and other grassland birds, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, gopher tortoises, and red-cockaded woodpeckers. Besides the many wildlife species that require fire-dependent habitat, many plants thrive only in regularly burned forests. The demise of the longleaf pine forest and associated grasslands, which once made South Carolina one of the best quail hunting states, is tightly correlated to the decrease of woods-burning. Also, plants like the insectivorous pitcher plants, sundews, and Venus’ fly trap—as well as many other plant species, some of them rare—require frequent fire.

“Fire-maintained lands also have a special unique beauty,” Stowe said. “The open, park-like vistas of properly burned lands appeal to many of us.”

Stowe can be reached via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (803) 419-9374 in Columbia. For more information on prescribed burning assistance, call your local S.C. Forestry Commission office or visit the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council.

 

Prescribed fire enhances public safety, according to Stowe, by reducing or even eliminating fuel loads, thereby making wildfire on that area impossible or unlikely for some time afterwards.

And wildfires are usually less destructive on areas that have been prescribed burned. Wildfires often either lose intensity or go out when they reach areas that have been prescribed burned.
Prescribed fire is also, along with hunting and agriculture, an essential part of the heritage and character of the South. Every culture that has ever lived in the South has had an ancient tradition of woods burning. The Indians transformed the Southern landscape for thousands of years with fire, and the Africans and Europeans brought with them from the Old World the time-tested practice of using fire to mold the land to their needs.

Sadly, one of the main threats to prescribed burning is the legacy of Smokey Bear. “Smokey is one of the best-known icons in the United States,” Stowe said, “and while part of Smokey’s message always has been, is, and always will be wise—that no one should carelessly or maliciously use fire under any circumstances—Smokey’s legacy is that several generations of Americans view forest fires as universally destructive.”

Another key threat to the Southern tradition of prescribed burning as a land management tool is South Carolina’s increasingly urban population. Many South Carolinians now come from backgrounds that did not expose them to rural land management activities such as burning, hunting and agricultural operations, according to Stowe. Often these folks do not appreciate the multiple benefits to society that these practices provide, nor the long-standing role that they play in the state’s natural and cultural history. Noted conservationist Aldo Leopold correctly observed that one of the dangers of not living on a farm is that you may get the idea that heat comes from the furnace and food from the supermarket.

Stowe says that one of the many public benefits of the DNR’s Heritage Preserves and Wildlife Management Areas is that they provide folks with a chance to see on-the-ground land management—how it works and why it is vital to protecting the state’s natural landscapes.

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