Around the Nation

The Oaks & Prairies Joint Venture’s Grassland Restoration Incentive Program, or GRIP, is making a difference for bobwhites, grassland songbirds and butterflies … and the bobwhite is often the leading attractant for landowner participants. (The National Bobwhite Technical Committee presented OPJV their Group Achievement Award in 2014 for their commitment to integrated habitat conservation.) Check it out HERE.

Beginning this month, officials with Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana (a 2014 winner of NBCI’s National Fire Bird Conservation Award) will launch an initiative to restore and increase the acreage of longleaf pine over the next couple of decades through partnerships with federal agencies and private landowners. Check it out HERE.

4 of 5 PF/QF Award Winners NBCI Supporters/Participants

Four of the five individuals honored by Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever for their distinguished contributions to conservation during the recent 81st North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference are stalwart NBCI supporters/participants … Todd Bogenschutz, Upland Wildlife Research Biologist – Iowa DNR, Dan Forster, Director of Wildlife Resources Division – Georgia DNR, Keith Sexson, Assistant Secretary – Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and Bill White, Private Lands Services Division Chief, Missouri Department of Conservation. Click HERE to read the full story.

Eastern Native Grass Symposium Location, Dates Set

The 10th Eastern Native Grass Symposium, “Native Grasses on Working and Natural Landscapes,” will be August 29-31, 2016. An agenda that emphasizes working landscapes will include sessions on forage and grazing, pollinators, building soil health with natives, invasive species control, wildlife management, landscaping with natives and land reclamation. Symposium location will be the Tropicana Hotel in Evansville, Indiana. Stay tuned for further details.

(March 15, 2016)

Winter 2014 Covey Headquarters Newsletter Available

Jason Sykes
 
The new edition of the Covey Headquarters Newsletter is now available for download.

As the the 2014 calendar is replaced with a shiny new 2015 one, most people’s thoughts turn away from the giving and receiving of the holiday season.  There are a few hardy souls, though, that venture out into the winter weather hoping for some gifts well into the New Year.  For those that have put in the hard work to manage their property for Mr.

Key Messages: 

We work with you and for you to sustain healthy forests, fish and wildlife.

read more Authors: sykesj Read more http://mdc.mo.gov/blogs/more-quail/winter-2014-covey-headquarters-newsletter-available

Tulsa World Reporting Best Bobwhite Forecast in Years

“When quail season opens Saturday, hunters in most parts of the state will feel like they’ve stepped back in time — not all the way back to the good old days, but at least back to about 2005-06.”

Read Tulsa World Outdoor Writer Kelly Bostian’s report on bobwhites in Oklahoma HERE.

Statewide Quail Symposium set for Sept. 16-18 in Abilene, TX

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.

Conservation Assistance Available for Bobwhite Quail Habitat Improvements through Initiative in TX

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas will be working with partners on the recently announced 2015 NRCS Texas Bobwhite Quail Initiative, aimed at increasing the amount of high-quality native grassland and savannah habitats by at least 255,000 acres over a four year period for bobwhite quail and related declining wildlife species. The initiative targets more than 60 Texas counties.

Bobwhite quail populations have declined over the past 40 years, mainly due to the loss of rural lands and habitat fragmentation. Private landowners have a great opportunity through this initiative to make desired habitat improvements on their land, which in turn will benefit and increase quail populations, as well as other wildlife species. Bobwhites play a valued role in the ecosystem cycle of life and are a barometer of changes in other grassland bird populations. Conservation management that improves quail populations will also benefit a wide array of declining songbird species such as Loggerhead shrike, dickcissels, grasshopper sparrow, and meadow larks to name a few.

Quail can also provide an opportunity for revenue for landowners and rural communities through hunting, recreation, and ecotourism. Their presence not only increases the aesthetics of the land, but may also increase the real estate value. Wildlife tax exemptions might also be attained through the county tax appraisal office by having a conservation or wildlife plan.
Bobwhite Quail
“For many, the enjoyment of hearing and seeing wildlife is one of the many reasons people own land,” said Salvador Salinas, Texas NRCS state conservationist. “For others, it may be the enjoyment of a rural lifestyle where hunting or wildlife photography is important or being able to pass the land onto future generations in better condition than when it was acquired. Whatever the reason, with more than 83 percent of Texas land privately-owned, the landowner is in the driver’s seat when it comes to taking action to conserve, enhance and beautify their land for wildlife.”

The NRCS will provide technical assistance to those desiring a blueprint to follow aimed at conserving, protecting and improving their land and natural resources. The blueprint is a conservation plan that is developed with a landowner free of charge and can be tailored to the development of Bobwhite quail habitat on their place. A conservation plan will increase your ranking for funding when applications are requested. Applications are taken year round, but certain funding deadlines are announced throughout the year.

Conservation plans can include:

  • Aerial photo, map or diagram of your land
  • Soil map and soil descriptions that are site specific to your land
  • Insightful resource inventory data of your land, which can include potential forage or crop production estimates, livestock carrying capacity estimates, plant identification, and recommended seeding rates
  • Recorded list of your objectives and a conservation plan and schedule for achieving those objectives

All plans are confidential. Their purpose is to provide a roadmap to help you achieve your goals as well as your farm or ranch objectives. The bonus of improving your land through conservation stewardship benefits not only you, your family and future generations, but also the community with cleaner air, water, improved water quantity and quality, enhanced wildlife habitats and populations, and an overall a healthier place to live.

The initiative is a result of a partnership effort with various conservation-minded groups. Along with NRCS, partners include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture’s Grassland Restoration Initiative Program (GRIP), University of North Texas Quail Program (UNT Quail), Western Navarro County Bobwhite Quail Restoration Initiative (WNBRI), Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute (CKWRI) and the Rio Grande Joint Venture (RGJV), and Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs).

For more information visit your local USDA-NRCS office or visit www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.