Ge­or­gia’s quail ini­tia­tive re­ceives top hon­ors

State DNR one of three or­ga­ni­za­tions to be rec­og­nized by Quail Un­lim­ited

The Covington News - - Agriculture & Outdoors -

SO­CIAL CIR­CLE — The Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources’ Wildlife Re­sources Di­vi­sion was one of three or­ga­ni­za­tions to re­ceive top hon­ors from Quail Un­lim­ited for ef­forts re­lated to the North­ern Bob­white Con­ser­va­tion Ini­tia­tive at the 72nd an­nual North Amer­i­can Wildlife and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Con­fer­ence held in Phoenix, Ariz., in March.

WRD was com­mended for in­no­va­tive ac­tions in im­ple­ment­ing the NBCI — a 22state bob­white re­cov­ery plan that sets habi­tat and pop­u­la­tion re­cov­ery goals by state. WRD was specif­i­cally rec­og­nized for ef­forts as­so­ci­ated with the Bob­white Quail Ini­tia­tive — a co­op­er­a­tive pro­gram whereby WRD bi­ol­o­gists pro­vide private landown­ers tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and in some cases, fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives for habi­tat restora­tion to ben­e­fit bob­whites, cer­tain song­birds and a host of other wildlife species.

“ We are very proud to an­nounce the awards for highly ded­i­cated ef­forts to re­store the wild bob­white, which to­day re­veals habi­tat ad­vances and pop­u­la­tion in­creases only achiev­able by sig­nif­i­cant plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion at many lev­els struc­tured by the NBCI frame­work,” stated David Howell, Wildlife Ser­vices di­rec­tor for QU.

WRD Di­rec­tor Dan Forster ac­cepted the Group Achieve­ment Award on be­half of the Di­vi­sion for its “ key lead­er­ship role in im­ple­ment­ing the goals and ob­jec­tives of the NBCI through the Bob­white Quail Ini­tia­tive.”

QU rec­og­nized WRD for mak­ing a “ huge dif­fer­ence” by es­tab­lish­ing the BQI co­op­er­a­tive pro­gram be­tween landown­ers and nat­u­ral re­source pro­fes­sion­als that fo­cuses on a habi­tat based approach to re­store bob­white quail.

In ad­di­tion, QU also ac­knowl­edged WRD’s ef­forts in show­ing that bob­white man­age­ment can be suc­cess- fully in­te­grated with agri­cul­ture and forestry to main­tain bob­white pop­u­la­tions at vi­able hunt­ing lev­els across lo­cal­ized land­scapes.

Through BQI, WRD worked with private landown­ers to help es­tab­lish a strong youth ini­tia­tive with quota quail hunts on se­lected co­op­er­a­tive farms.

Also, WRD con­ducted in­ten­sive man­age­ment on the 8,000- acre DiLane Wildlife Man­age­ment Area, which has doc­u­mented bob­white in­creases. WRD staff con­stantly makes ef­forts to de­velop bob­white friendly pro­grams and prac­tices to fur­ther ed­u­cate landown­ers and oth­ers.

Ge­or­gia’s quail pop­u­la­tion has de­clined by more than 70 per­cent since the early 1960s pri­mar­ily due to loss of qual­ity early suc­ces­sion habi­tat.

Restor­ing this habi­tat type for bob­white quail also ben­e­fits cer­tain song­birds and other wildlife, im­proves wa­ter qual­ity, re­duces soil ero­sion and can eco­nom­i­cally en­hance lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties by stim­u­lat­ing quail hunt­ing & wildlife view­ing.

To learn more about Ge­or­gia’s Bob­white Quail Ini­tia- tive, visit www. georgi­wildlife. com and click on “ Con­ser­va­tion,” then “ Landowner Pro­grams.”

For ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion, con­tact a WRD Game Man­age­ment of­fice or call ( 478) 994- 7583.

Quail Un­lim­ited is a 501( c)( 3) or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to the restora­tion of habi­tat for wild quail and up­land wildlife.

It’s al­most 300 chap­ters na­tion­wide raise lo­cal project dol­lars for on- the- ground projects, in­clud­ing private and pub­lic land man­age­ment with ban­quets, auc­tions, sport­ing clay events and more.

QU has a highly trained staff of bi­ol­o­gists, state and re­gional direc­tors and ded­i­cated mem­bers that work with private landown­ers and state and fed­eral agen­cies to re­store quail pop­u­la­tions.

In the last five years, Quail Un­lim­ited chap­ters and part­ners in­vested over $ 23.3 mil­lion dol­lars in quail habi­tat ex­pen­di­tures and im­prove­ments.

For more in­for­ma­tion on QU, wildlife habi­tat and mem­ber­ship go to the Web site at www. qu. org.

Mama bird: A fe­male Bob­white Quail hov­ers over her covey.

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