States ID 195 Million Acres as Bobwhite Priority with Release of NBCI 2.0
KANSAS CITY, MO. – If its habitat management goals were to be fully implemented across “priority” landscapes it could add 4.6 million additional coveys – or more than 55 million birds — to the plummeting populations of bobwhites across the range, estimates the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI).
That was one message delivered Thursday night at an evening reception packed with representatives from an array of federal, state and private conservation organizations at the North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. They gathered to see the 25 states comprising the core range of the northern bobwhite quail unveil the new, web-based NBCI 2.0, the massive revision and expansion of the original 2002 printed bobwhite plan, known then as the “Northern” Bobwhite Conservation Initiative. It was instituted primarily by 16 southeastern states to help reverse the drastic decline of quail and a suite of other wildlife species dependent on disappearing diversity of native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs on rangelands, farmlands, grasslands and timberlands.
“The original 2002 NBCI changed the game for bobwhite conservation and grasslands conservation overall in many ways; this revised NBCI will raise our game,” NBCI Director Don McKenzie told the audience. “This second edition goes light years beyond the initial paper-based effort in 2002. This new NBCI is a dynamic, interactive, web-connected geographic information system created by an innovative combination of satellite imagery, landscape databases, professional biological judgment and knowledge of priorities in rural communities. This is an initiative by the states, for the states. And it’s really just the beginning at a truly range-wide scale.”
Essentially a range-wide prescription for bobwhite recovery, NBCI 2.0 includes a thorough update and analysis of the bobwhite’s situation, a survey and classification of 600 million acres of landscape across the bobwhite range, and inventories 195 million acres of priority landscapes where bobwhite and grasslands conservation have a relatively high potential of success. It also prescribes specific management actions necessary for those acres to achieve respective state bobwhite population goals, and identifies specific keys to success, such as the addition and management of diverse native grasses and wildflowers to agricultural fields, pasture lands and forests.
NBCI 2.0 includes a massive database with an array of custom digital applications – the NBCI Conservation Planning Tool (CPT) – that helps bobwhite biologists quickly analyze habitat prospects at regional, state, county or landowner levels, and plan and implement projects for the greatest return on investment.
Paired with the online plan and tools for implementation is a small NBCI staff to help generate support for state efforts and, over time, help states address constraints to bobwhite recovery at a range-wide or national level.
The 233-page report can be accessed by visiting the NBCI website at www.bringbackbobwhites.org/strategy/nbci-20, or through Tall Timbers Research Station at http://nbci.ttrs.org/nbci/ConservationPlanningTool/docs/NBCIver2.0.pdf. The digital Conservation Planning Tool will be available at http://nbci.ttrs.org/nbci/ConservationPlanningTool.htm. (Visitors can view only portions of the material here, with complete access limited to professional biologists and conservation planners.)
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org
NBCI Unveils New Bobwhite Website to Public
Bobwhite quail, and the many other species in decline that share the same space, have a new ally on the web with the launch of www.bringbackbobwhites.org by the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI).
A coalition of 25 state fish and wildlife agencies and other public and private organizations, NBCI adds a range-wide, policy level approach to the traditional project level work by the individual states. The website’s launch comes a month before NBCI unveils a massive revision of the original 2002 initiative at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The revision includes a new digital “Conservation Planning Tool” for use by quail biologists. Over 600 biologists cooperated to build the new tool.
“NBCI is a strategy by the states, for the states to assist their efforts to restore populations of wild bobwhites across their range,” said Don McKenzie, NBCI director. “The new website is one step in bringing these efforts into focus, building a wider community that’s supportive of saving bobwhites and the many other imperiled species, and giving them avenues to act on that support. Our goal is for the site to become “bobwhite central,” a go-to location for anyone wanting to know more about the bobwhite’s situation and what’s happening to America’s landscape that’s causing it.
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Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org
<h2><strong><em>NBCI Hires Outreach Coordinator</em></strong></h2> <p>July 29, 2010</p> <p>The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) has hired John Doty, Andersonville, Tennessee, to fill its outreach coordinator position.</p> <p>With a BS in journalism, Doty’s background includes a stint in the daily newspaper business as reporter and editor, as an editor and photographer with B.A.S.S. publications, several years in public relations with the natural resource operations of the Tennessee Valley Authority, publishing his own subscription newsletter, freelance writing and photography for a variety of magazines and newspapers, and helping build the public relations and communications program of a startup business that grew from Knoxville, Tennessee to 34 states.</p> <p>Doty, who will begin work August 2, will be headquartered at the University of Tennessee.</p>
NBCI/Eastern Grassland Birds Initiative Receives Preliminary Approval
April 3, 2009
Pending approval in November 2009 by the Board of Directors of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), NBCI’s proposal for an Eastern Grassland Birds Initiative (EGBI) is set to begin in 2010.
The EGBI, a collaboration among Southeast Partners in Flight, American Bird Conservancy, Quail Unlimited, Inc., University of Tennessee’s Center for Native Grasslands and the Southeast Quail Study Group (i.e., National Bobwhite Technical Committee), has been recognized by NFWF as a “Keystone Initiative,” bringing together key ecosystems, wildlife species and natural resource partners.
The geography of the EGBI includes 10 Bird Conservation Regions 22 Eastern Tallgrass Prairie, 24 Central Hardwoods, 25 West Gulf Coastal Plain/Ouachitas, 26 Mississippi Alluvial Valley, 27 Southeastern Coastal Plain, 28 Appalachian Mountains, 29 Piedmont, 30 New England / Mid-Atlantic Coast, 31 Peninsular Florida and 37 Gulf Coastal Prairie).
The NBCI/EGBI will provide leadership for conservation of grassland birds via 5 staff positions focusing on policy development and implementation of conservation programs. Inquiries about the EGBI should be sent to NBCI Coordinator Don McKenzie, email@example.com.
SEQSG Expands Scope Nationally
April 2, 2009
The Southeast Quail Study Group membership voted unanimously to change the scope and name of the 14 year-old group to the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC). New bylaws can be found on the PUBLICATIONS page. This is one of the first steps in an effort to unite bobwhite enthusiasts throughout the species’ range. This transformation was initiated by the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative Committee of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. In step with the new name of the technical committee, the name of the initiative is being changed from Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative to National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). The next step for the NBCI is revision of the 2002 restoration plan to reflect the range-wide expansion.
Southeast Partners in Flight & SEQSG Meet
April 1, 2009
The two leading Southeastern regional land-bird groups held their annual meetings jointly for the first time in March 2009, in Columbia, South Carolina. Led by Billy Dukes and Laurel Barnhill, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, this collaboration was the product of years of effort to build a strong working relationship between quail and songbird conservation communities. The meeting proceedings can be found on the PUBLICATIONS page.
NBCI Collaborates with QF, QU to Spread Quail Conservation Gospel
May 1, 2008
The Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) was the focus of 3 high-profile events at the 2008 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Arlington, Virginia:
(1) A formal ceremony celebrating the transition of the NBCI to a range-wide initiative based at the University of Tennessee. This Quail-Forever sponsored, invitation-only reception gave state directors and leaders of other bobwhite conservation partners the opportunity to learn about NBCI accomplishments, recent developments and our vision for the future;
(2) The second meeting of the NBCI Transition Board, including state agency directors and several key federal and non-government partners;
(3) The Quail Unlimited annual NBCI Awards Ceremony.
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.