University of Tennessee Becomes Permanent Home of the NBCI
October 1, 2008
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) Center for Native Grasslands Management has been designated as the new permanent home of the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) by The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA).
SEAFWA President Dan Forster signed a Memorandum of Agreement with UTIA designating the Center as the headquarters, as selected by SEAFWA. NBCI Director Don McKenzie is working closely with UT’s Dr. Keith Belli, Head, Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Department, and Dr. Patrick Keyser, Director, The Center for Native Grasslands Management.
The first “NBCI marketing retreat” was held at UT, with the guidance of the UTIA Marketing and Communications staff. A strategic plan for achieving public support of NBCI implementation was outlined by the two dozen bobwhite conservation participants from 9 states. This outline provides a strong launch point for the NBTC’s Public Relations, Information and Education (PRIE) Committee, in collaboration with the anticipated new NBCI Outreach Coordinator, to be hired early in 2010.
1st Area to Achieve Habitat Restoration Goals of the NBCI
The first-in-the-nation area to achieve the habitat restoration goals of the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) is in the lowlands of southeastern Missouri. The resulting increase in habitat and quail has benefited quail hunters, bird enthusiasts and the local economy. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) stepped-down the NBCI plan with habitat restoration targets for each county in the state. The Scott County habitat restoration goal, in the midst of the intensively agricultural Mississippi Delta region, was 4,500 acres. This quail restoration success story was made possible by USDA Farm Bill programs.
This success validates the NBCI’s vision—MDC’s implementation strategy, the land’s capability to produce abundant wild bobwhites, Farm Bill programs and USDA agencies’ ability to deliver ample quality habitat, and landowners’ willingness to provide wildlife habitat when incentives are right.
SEQSG Publishes the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative
The Southeast Quail Study Group Technical Committee, an arm of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA), published theNorthern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), a landscape-scale habitat restoration and population recovery plan for the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus).
NBCI was developed at the charge of the SEAFWA directors, in recognition of (1) the continuing serious decline of bobwhite populations across most of the species’ range, and (2) the necessity for large-scale coordinated, collaborative action at the regional level. The NBCI plan can be found on the PUBLICATIONSpage.
The plan focuses on population and habitat objectives needed to achieve the overall goal of recovering bobwhite densities to 1980 levels on remaining improvable portions of the landscape. The plan’s building blocks are the Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) developed for and utilized by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI).
The intent of the BCR-based structure is to facilitate seamless integration of bobwhite habitat restoration efforts with those for migratory songbirds, and other wildlife that share the bobwhite’s habitats. The SEQSG and the SEAFWA directors anticipate mutual cooperation and collective action by bobwhite and songbird advocates ultimately will result in more effective and more substantial habitat restoration efforts for all early successional species.