Georgia’s Bobwhite Quail Initiative Receives Top Honors from Quail Unlimited

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The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) was one of three organizations to receive top honors from Quail Unlimited (QU) for efforts related to the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) at the seventy-second 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 22-state bobwhite recovery plan that sets habitat and population recovery goals by state. WRD was specifically recognized for efforts associated with the Bobwhite Quail Initiative (BQI) – 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 successfully 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 Initiative, 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 (QU) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the restoration of habitat for wild quail and upland wildlife. Its 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 website at www.qu.org

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