The 25-state National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) is welcoming Matt Lohr of Virginia as Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s choice for chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“NBCI looks forward to continuing our cooperation with NRCS and Chief Lohr to reverse the decline of the northern bobwhite, other grassland birds and pollinators that depend on native grassland habitat on farms and ranches,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie.
NBCI currently is working with NRCS’ Working Lands for Wildlife program that is restoring native grassland habitat for the northern bobwhite which has been declining precipitously due primarily to habitat loss. The Bobwhites in Grasslands project will affect more than 150,000 acres in 10 states, with state wildlife agencies and NRCS providing technical and financial assistance to landowners interested in converting pastures of introduced fescue to native grasses and wildflowers, along with developing prescribed grazing and burning plans. The Bobwhites in Pine Savanna project targets 82,000 acres in seven states and will provide assistance to landowners interested in restoring declining pine savanna habitat using native grasses, timber thinning and prescribed fire.
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture/Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is a science and habitat-based initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a coordinated, range-wide leadership endeavor to restore wild bobwhites on a landscape scale. The committee is comprised of representatives of 25 state wildlife agencies, various academic research institutions and private conservation organizations. Support for NBCI is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, state wildlife agencies, the Joe Crafton Family Endowment for Quail Initiatives, the University of Tennessee, Quail & Upland Game Alliance, Park Cities Quail and Roundstone Native Seed.