NBCI News

De Soto Ranger District Becomes Home to 26th NBCI Bobwhite Quail Focal Area

The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative’s (NBCI) newest bobwhite focal area—the fourth in a national forest and the first for Mississippi—has been designated within the 378,000-acre De Soto Ranger District, located between Hattiesburg and Biloxi.

The new 3,549-acre Leaf River Focal Area is located within the 42,000-acre Leaf River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on the forest’s De Soto Ranger District. The Leaf River Refuge that would eventually evolve into the WMA was established for the purpose of deer population recovery in 1939—a time when bobwhites were abundant. In a reversal of fortune, it will now aid quail population recovery. The designation brings the number of NBCI focal areas to 26 across 20 of the 25 NBCI member states, encompassing 163,748 acres.

The focal area is paired with a nearby 3,591-acre “reference” area, a requirement for all NBCI focal areas. It will enable comparisons of bobwhite abundance between the reference area, which will continue with standard habitat management techniques for the WMA, and the focal area, which will manage more specifically for bobwhite quail.

“In 2017, the regional forester signed an agreement with the NBCI management board to pursue establishment of NBCI bobwhite focal areas where it made sense,” said U.S. Forest Service (USFS) De Soto Biologist Ed Moody. “Last fall, we were at an East Gulf Coastal Plan Joint Venture meeting in Alabama, and one of the activities was touring the bobwhite focal area on the Conecuh National Forest. We were impressed; all the potential partners were there so we decided to begin aggressively pursuing it.”

“The primary difference in management on the focal area will be reducing the size of prescribed fires we normally conduct to reduce fuel loading to create a patchwork effect that appeals to bobwhites,” said Moody. “We’ll continue to thin where needed to create appropriate habitat conditions. Leaf River WMA is home to many threatened and endangered species, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, dusky gopher frog, gopher tortoise and black pine snake. Active management of the longleaf pine ecosystem for these species also benefits other species, game and nongame, that share similar habitat requirements.”

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Small Game Biologist Rick Hamrick said, “The U.S. Forest Service will do most of the on-the-ground management like timber thinning and burning, because they own the land. We’ll assist with bird counts, monitor quail hunting use and harvest, and provide management planning advice as the project progresses. We have a good regional WMA biologist with a bobwhite background and enthusiastic area staff, so the timing is good with the project starting to really move ahead.”

“We’re really excited that another state and another national forest have stepped up in support of bobwhites through our focal area program,” said NBCI Director John Morgan. “The program has attracted widespread attention because of its learn-while-doing approach across the bobwhite range and NBCI’s maintenance of the database at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture, which provides easy access and powerful management tools for partners.”

To be enrolled in NBCI’s Coordinated Implementation Program, habitat and bird surveys of a focal area and reference area must be periodically conducted over 10 years. The University of West Florida, via the Longleaf Alliance, has already conducted the habitat surveys. Each year, a spring bobwhite call count and a fall covey call count is required. Typically, those spring surveys also include other grassland/shrub land species of concern. Those counts must be done at the same pre-established survey points, which have already been established at Leaf River. The fall covey counts will start this month.

The Mississippi project is a joint effort of NBCI, the National Forests in Mississippi De Soto Ranger District, the Mississippi Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, the Longleaf Alliance, University of West Florida and Camp Shelby Environmental.

The focal areas, which alone are not expected to restore bobwhite populations across the range, is a science-based approach to bobwhite habitat with consistent habitat and bird monitoring requirements, as well as reference or control areas for comparison purposes. The program is aimed at demonstrating bobwhite populations can be recovered when the proper amount and arrangement of habitat are provided. A landscape-scale focal area can conclusively prove that habitat (or lack of it) is the fundamental cause of long-term bobwhite quail decline and work to identify the management and cost needed for recovery.

About NBCI
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, 25 state wildlife agencies, the Joe Crafton Family Endowment for Quail Initiatives, the University of Tennessee, Roundstone Native Seed, and Lotek. Media contact: John Doty, jdoty3@utk.edu

About MDWFP
The mission of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is to conserve and enhance Mississippi’s wildlife, fisheries, and parks, provide quality outdoor recreation, and engage the public in natural resource conservation.

About USFS
The mission of the USDA Forest Service is, “To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.” The Forest Service manages 193 million acres of forest lands with tribal governments, state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forest research organization in the world.

NBCI Video Accepted for International Fire Ecology Film Fest

The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative’s (NBCI) Fire Up Your Beef Production – A Ranchers’ Perspective of Prescribed Burning for Range Management is one of 23 videos/documentaries from nine countries accepted for a virtual fire ecology film festival that runs now through October 20. The winner will be selected by a public vote, which ends Oct. 20. The winner will be invited to show the film at an international fire ecology conference in Italy in 2021.

NBCI’s entry was filmed and produced by NBCI Grasslands Coordinator Jef Hodges. The video features ranchers who use prescribed fire on their ranches and share their experiences related to woody encroachment control, animal performance, forage production, utilization, and economics.

“Opportunities like this help put bobwhite and grassland issues in front of more people—not only the US, but around the world,” said NBCI Director John Morgan. “It also characterizes the quality and currency of content the NBCI partnership provides for its 25 state agency, federal, university, and non-profit investors.”

The film festival is in conjunction with a free two-day webinar series Oct. 20-21. Each day of the webinar series will feature a panel of international fire scientists and managers providing short presentations. The webinar series is serving as a prelude to an in-person Fire Across Boundaries conference scheduled for Fall 2021 in Florence, Italy. The winner of the film fest, which will be announced during the webinar series, will be invited to present the film at the conference.

The film festival, the webinar series, and the Fall 2021 conference are sponsored by the Pau Costa Foundation and the Association for Fire Ecology. To view and vote on the films, go to http://fireacrossboundaries.org/virtual-film-fest/.

About NBCI
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, 25 state wildlife agencies, the Joe Crafton Family Endowment for Quail Initiatives, the University of Tennessee, Roundstone Native Seed, and Lotek. Media contact: John Doty, jdoty3@utk.edu

Northern Bobwhites & Fire: A Perfect Match

The August 20, 2020 webinar, Northern Bobwhites and Fire: A Perfect Match, has been posted for public viewing. Featuring Dr. James Martin from the University of Georgia and hosted by the Southern Fire Exchange in cooperation with NBCI and Quail Forever, the offering attracted 370 participants. Developed in partnership with the Southern Fire Exchange, it set a record for program attendance on the Southern Fire Exchange webinar platform and was viewed by representatives from both state and federal agencies, as well as private land managers. Other hosts for the webinar included the Joint Fire Science Program, the University of Florida, and the East Gulf Coast Joint Venture.

In addition to discussing northern bobwhite management and the importance of prescribed fire, Dr. Martin also highlighted the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) pine savanna program, which has the goal to restore pine savanna on 82,000 acres across seven states using forest thinning, prescribed fire, and native grass restoration. Technical and financial assistance is available to landowners who choose to pursue pine savanna management on that designated landscape.

The webinar is accessible via https://bringbackbobwhites.org/category/the-bobwhite-library/webinars/, where NBCI has curated a collection of quail management webinars.

About NBCI
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, 25 state wildlife agencies, the Joe Crafton Family Endowment for Quail Initiatives, the University of Tennessee, Roundstone Native Seed, and Lotek.

Kentucky’s John Morgan Selected Director of National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative

John Morgan receiving the NBTC Outstanding Achievement Award during the group’s 2015 meeting. Photo by John Doty, NBCI.

John Morgan, a recognized name in bobwhite restoration and a leader in the efforts of the 25-state National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), will become the new director of the University of Tennessee-based NBCI, effective Oct. 1. He replaces Don McKenzie, who retired last October.

“I’ve known John for a long time and have always been impressed with his ‘get things done’ attitude, strong work ethic and ability to bring people together,” said Paul Johansen, chair of the NBCI Management Board and chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “John has an almost contagious energy and is absolutely the right person at the right time needed to solidify the NBCI foundation and grow it in new directions.”

 “I’m so excited to have John Morgan at the helm of the NBCI,” said Robert Perez of Texas, recent past chair of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee, “especially during these transitional and uncertain times. John is a proven leader in the conservation community with a strong sense of vision and purpose. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to take the NBCI mission to the next level. John has the skills needed to strengthen the initiative, bring new partners to the table and blaze new trails,” Perez said.

Morgan, from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, spent the last 17 years as the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ small game program coordinator and was, in addition, an adjunct assistant professor for UT for the past 11 of those years. Prior to moving to Kentucky, Morgan worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Penn State Cooperative Wetlands Center.

His visibility in the bobwhite world came about as the result of his two most recent roles in Kentucky and his volunteer leadership in the national restoration effort. As small game coordinator he led the development and implementation for Kentucky’s high priority 10-year bobwhite restoration plan, as well as a wide variety of partnerships with private conservation groups and government entities for the plan’s implementation.

As a UT adjunct he built a partnership to conduct the Peabody Research Project, one of the largest bobwhite telemetry projects in the history of the Mid-South, capturing over 2,000 bobwhites during a five-year period. Morgan also was instrumental in launching the Bluegrass Army Depot Patch Burn Grazing Project, the first experimental design of native warm-season grass pastures in the East under a patch-burn framework, including grassland bird and cattle weight gain surveys. Subsequently, he led the development of the Grasslands Conservation Initiative, a partnership built around another ground-breaking quail research project, one designed to reveal the relationship of cattle and bobwhites in the East, and a proactive collaboration with adjacent landowners to advance working lands conservation.  

During his Kentucky tenure Morgan served in multiple roles on the National Bobwhite Technical Committee, the technical advisory body to NBCI, including chair, secretary/treasurer, and annual meeting co-chair. Morgan also served as chair of NBCI’s Ad Hoc Monitoring Committee, which developed the monitoring protocols for NBCI’s science-based bobwhite focal area program. He is also a founding member and secretary of the Kentucky Prescribed Fire Council, a member of the East Gulf Coast Joint Venture management board, member of the Central Hardwoods Joint Venture, advisor to the Kentucky Quail Specialty License Plate Board,  a member of AFWA’s Resident Gamebird Working Group, the Kentucky Chapter of the Wildlife Society and the USDA’s NRCS State Technical Committee.

“So many talented, knowledgeable and hardworking people have brought wild bobwhite restoration and NBCI to where it is today,” Morgan said, “so it’s an immense honor to help lead what has become one of the nation’s premiere grassland conservation initiatives. NBCI is poised to capitalize on the elevated focus on conserving and restoring America’s imperiled native grasslands, northern bobwhite, and a host of other birds, pollinators and other wildlife species will benefit.” 

Morgan has a Bachelors in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from The Pennsylvania State University, a Masters in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the University of Georgia and is a graduate of the Certified Public Program Manager curriculum at Kentucky State University.

About NBCI
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, 25 state wildlife agencies, the Joe Crafton Family Endowment for Quail Initiatives, the University of Tennessee, Roundstone Native Seed, and Lotek.

Media contact: John Doty, jdoty3@utk.edu

15 States Scheduled to Virtually Participate In NBCI Bobwhite Focal Area Training Sept. 3

State wildlife agency biologists and land managers from 15 states and partners will gather virtually 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Sept. 3 for training on the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative’s (NBCI) Coordinated Implementation Program, or CIP.

CIP is a science-based approach to bobwhite habitat with consistent habitat and bird monitoring requirements across the range, as well as reference or control areas for comparison purposes. The program is aimed at demonstrating bobwhite populations can be recovered when the proper amount and arrangement of habitat are provided within a landscape-scale focal area and conclusively proving that habitat (or lack of it) is the fundamental cause of long-term bobwhite quail decline. There are currently 163,748 acres in 26 focal areas across 20 of NBCI’s 25 states.

Seminar topics will include how to collect and enter habitat management data, future plans for entry of hunting data, an upcoming mobile application for habitat monitoring data collection, a discussion of other online tools states might like to have developed for investigating their CIP habitat and bird monitoring data, and a discussion of potential revisions to NBCI 2.0, a detailed breakdown of issues affecting bobwhite populations in the NBCI states, corrective actions needed, and an analysis of the individual 25 states for bobwhite habitat potential in categories of high, medium, low and non-existent.

States participating in the training include Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

About NBCI

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, 25 state wildlife agencies, the Joe Crafton Family Endowment for Quail Initiatives, the University of Tennessee, Roundstone Native Seed, and Lotek. Media Contact: John Doty, jdoty3@utk.edu

Quail 9 National Quail Symposium Set for Aug. 1-5, 2022, in Springfield, MO

Quail 9, a national quail symposium originating 1972, is scheduled Aug. 1-5, 2022, in Springfield, MO. The week will begin with the 28th annual meeting of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) and continue as the ninth national symposium, a joint effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation, University of Missouri, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) and NBTC.

NBCI issued the first call for papers Aug. 28. Conference information and the Call for Papers can be found on the Quail Symposium website at https://www.quailcount.org/quailsymposium/home.html. Proceedings from previous symposia can be found online on the publications page of the Quail Symposium website. Beginning with Quail 7, the symposia series has been led by NBCI and NBTC. Since Quail 3 in 1992, the symposium has included western quail.

Quail 9 will feature current quail management and research, including updates and progress of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative and The Western Quail Plan. Authors are being encouraged to publish work relating to the NBCI Coordinated Implementation Program, a science-based approach to bobwhite habitat with consistent habitat and bird monitoring requirements across the range, as well as reference or control areas for comparison purposes. The program is aimed at demonstrating bobwhite populations can be recovered when the proper amount and arrangement of habitat are provided within a landscape-scale focal area and conclusively proving that habitat (or lack of it) is the fundamental cause of long-term bobwhite quail decline.

Abstracts will be reviewed by the Quail 9 editorial committee, and those deemed suitable for development as full manuscripts will be selected, with authors notified by February 15, 2021. Subsequent manuscript deadline is July 15, 2021, enabling distribution of the peer-reviewed proceedings. The Quail 9 proceedings will be available electronically only.

About NBCI
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, 25 state wildlife agencies, the Joe Crafton Family Endowment for Quail Initiatives, the University of Tennessee, Roundstone Native Seed and Lotek.

Dr. Linda Ordiway to Lead West Virginia Quail Efforts

A Bradford, Pennsylvania native, Dr. Linda Ordiway, will lead West Virginia’s efforts to restore wild bobwhite quail to the landscape. She expects her initial efforts to be concentrated on the 25,000-acre Tomblin Wildlife Management Area, which has been managed for elk habitat and where 48 bobwhites from Texas were recently released. She will also lead the state’s grouse restoration efforts.

Dr. Ordiway

“Our intent is to improve our habitat conditions on our wildlife management areas so that we can have a self-sustaining quail population,” said Dr. Ordiway.  “We have documented reproduction this summer.” Dr. Ordiway expects to be active on the National Bobwhite Technical Committee and serve as West Virginia’s regular contact with the 25-state National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). Paul Johansen, chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, is chair of the NBCI Management Board, comprised of state agency directors and wildlife chiefs who guide initiative policy.

Dr. Ordiway spent 14 years as a wildlife biologist with the US Forest Service’s Northeast Forestry Sciences Lab in the Allegheny National Forest and the last nine years with the Ruffed Grouse Society as Mid-Atlantic Southern Appalachian Regional biologist. She attended Lock Haven University for a BS in Secondary Education Biology, Marshall University for her MS in Biology and State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry for her PhD in Forest and Natural Resource Management. She is an avid grouse and woodcock hunter with a brace of Weimaraners.

National Bobwhite Technical Group Honors Kowaleski Posthumously

The National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) posthumously honored a 19-year veteran of the group during its 26th annual meeting, originally scheduled for Arkansas but conducted virtually instead. Chuck Kowaleski, of Texas, received the 2020 NBTC Leadership Award for his significant, long-term contributions to the bobwhite restoration cause.

“Chuck helped shape the future of bobwhite conservation management in the United States, was a strong advocate for the NBTC mission, and made significant contributions to habitat conservation efforts nationwide,” said NBTC chair Robert Perez with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “And with his life experience, it’s no wonder that Chuck never passed up a teachable moment.”

Kowaleski was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa, a high school biology teacher, an urban biologist, and managed Texas Project Wild teacher trainings, all before joining the NBTC. When Kowaleski became the TPWD Farm Bill Coordinator in 2001, he joined the Southeast Quail Study Group, the forerunner of the NBTC. His contributions included serving as chair and vice chair of the Agriculture Policy Subcommittee, and chair and treasurer of the NBTC Steering Committee.

During his tenure as the TPWD Farm Bill coordinator, Chuck partnered with a variety of organizations to implement programs creating special focus areas benefitting various wildlife species, including bobwhites. Those areas provided $35.3 million in federal cost share to 1,208 landowners in habitat improvements for priority species on 1.79 million acres. Over 325,000 of those acres were specifically for bobwhites.

“Chuck provided a direct connection to the national Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), as chair of AFWA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program Working Group,” said Perez. “He also provided invaluable leadership for NBTC’s work to establish a national Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) policy favoring the use of native plants in Farm Bill programs and native grasses as federally subsidized replacements for drought-susceptible, exotic pasture grasses that USDA traditionally promotes. Over the years, Chuck provided expert guidance and counsel to our committee regarding Farm Bill programs, including those with multiple benefits for landowners, farmer/ranchers, and wildlife. Chuck always spoke up for what was right, was the first to lend a hand, and was more than willing to listen to your concerns and offer sound advice.” Numerous NBTC meeting attendees also took the opportunity to share memories of their interactions with Kowaleski.

Kowaleski received many accolades for his dedication to conservation before retiring in 2019, including the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Wildlife Biologist of the Year Award in 2014 and the Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Conservation Service Award in 2017.

Shane Mahoney Headlines Annual Meeting Of Bobwhite Quail Experts Next Week

Internationally known natural resource conservation speaker Shane Mahoney, of Newfoundland, will provide the plenary address to the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) Tuesday, July 28 during its meeting through Thursday. The group will also hear Bridgett Costanzo with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on “The Role of Working Lands for Wildlife in Landscape Conservation.”

Originally scheduled for Arkansas, the 26th annual meeting has been moved to a virtual platform.

Representatives from state wildlife agencies, research institutions and private conservation organizations, NBTC created the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). It serves in an advisory capacity for NBCI’s work at the regional and national levels on behalf of landscape scale restoration of wild bobwhite quail.

During the week participants will meet in subcommittees based on areas of expertise and interest to cover science, forestry, grasslands/agriculture and communications, and will report their findings to the steering committee at the meeting’s conclusion. State quail coordinators will also meet among themselves during the week to consider additional ways NBCI might assist in furthering their respective state-based restoration efforts.

Native Grasslands Alliance Makes Debut for National Prairie Day

A new alliance of organizations dedicated to the voluntary restoration of native grasses on working lands in the U.S. is launching this week in conjunction with National Prairie Day celebration, Saturday, June 6, founded by the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

The Native Grasslands Alliance (NGA) includes organizations whose core missions include a commitment to restore native grasslands vegetation on agricultural/working landscapes. The NGA will work to provide a unified voice, one that can amplify the message about the importance and value of native grasslands.  Outreach efforts by the NGA will focus on federal/state lawmakers and agencies, the agriculture education sector, and key citizen and non-profit conservation groups across the country.

Among the NGA’s founding members are the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, Truax Company, Inc., the National Wildlife Federation, Center for Native Grasslands Management, Missouri Prairie Foundation, Roundstone Native Seed, Chesapeake Valley Seed and the Quality Deer Management Association.

The alliance has grown out of the Natives First Coalition, an effort launched by the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) to educate those associated with the development of the 2018 Farm Bill about the contributions native grasses make to agriculture, wildlife, water and air quality, and soil conservation and health. Seeking a voluntary, non-regulatory native vegetation policy in USDA agricultural conservation programs, the effort resulted in recognition of the contribution of native vegetation in the conference managers’ report and instructions to use natives when “practicable.” Subsequently, a subset of coalition participants identified the need for a more organized, diverse and formal group to continue building on that momentum.

“Although there are tremendous local and regional efforts promoting native grasslands, the grassland community has lacked a national, coordinated, unified voice illuminating the value of native grasslands,” said acting NBCI Director Dr. Pat Keyser. “The Native Grasslands Alliance provides that voice to elevate the status and ultimately the adoption of native grassland vegetation into working landscapes. The NGA isn’t just about working landscape though, we also recognize the importance of preserving what’s left of critical, remnant native grasslands and restoration where possible.”

The new alliance is focused around four working groups; policy, research, technical education and awareness. Organizations are encouraged to participate in one or more of the groups.

“We’re asking individuals to encourage their respective organizations to join the NGA. Individuals may join the NGA Community to keep up-to-date on NGA activities and participate in working groups,” Dr. Keyser said.

For more information and to join, organizational representatives should visit www.nativegrasslandsalliance.org.