NBCI/Eastern Grassland Birds Initiative Receives Preliminary Approval

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, wmidm@centurytel.net.

SEQSG Expands Scope Nationally

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

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

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

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.


Scott County, MO Reaches Habitat Goal

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.

Southeastern Quail Study Group Publishes NBCI Plan

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.