KNOXVILLE, TN, Dec. 2, 2016 – The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) moved a step closer to two of its major goals for landscape restoration of wild bobwhites – reconnecting cattle and quail, and reconnecting forests and quail – when the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the approval Tuesday of two NBCI-led proposals to recognize bobwhites in the NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) program.
With a goal of affecting 232,000 targeted acres in 13 states by fiscal year 2018, this WLFW accomplishment may be the largest concentrated effort ever applied to reintegrating wild bobwhites into this nation’s working landscapes,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie.
It is estimated that as much as 85% of tall fescue is infected with an endophyte fungus that causes cattle a wide range of problems,” said McKenzie. “And as a cool-season grass, fescue doesn’t produce nearly as well as natives during the droughty summer months. A strategic landscape-scale mixture of native warm-season grasses and forbs that complement prevalent introduced cool-season forages will help producers, cattle, quail and other grasslands wildlife.
These projects, which are very targeted for maximum impact, were coordinated by NBCI and approved by the NRCS State Conservationists in each participating state,” said McKenzie. “Numerous close partners played key roles, including the UT Center for Native Grasslands Management, the Central Hardwoods Joint Venture, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, NRCS state and regional offices, various state wildlife agency quail coordinators, and the National Bobwhite Technical Committee’s grasslands/grazing lands, agriculture and forestry subcommittees.
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an 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. 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, state wildlife agencies, the Joe Crafton Family Endowment for Quail Initiatives, the University of Tennessee and Park Cities Quail. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org and find us on Facebook, YouTube and Slideshare.