From Sunday's edition of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
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.