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USDA-NRCS Bobwhite Restoration Project

The USDA-NRCS Bobwhite Restoration Project is a cooperative effort among multiple agencies mutually interesting in achieving the goals of the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). Partners in this venture include U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Mississippi State University, Forest and Wildlife Research Center, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (MSU), Quail Unlimited, Inc. (QU), and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA). NRCS-WHMI has the lead role establishing and overseeing the NRCS Northern Bobwhite Restoration Project. NRCS-WHMI is utilizing Mississippi University, Department of Wildlife & Fisheries as the umbrella institution to coordinate the efforts with other partners.

Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative

The NBCI is a quantitative, habitat-based plan prepared by the Southeast Quail Study Group Technical Committee at the request of the Directors of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for the purpose of providing a roadmap to restore regional bobwhite populations. The NBCI identifies national, regional, and state-level population and habitat goals and provides a timeframe in which these goals should be accomplished. The NBCI is organized to delineate population and habitat objectives for 15 Bird Conservation Regions that comprise the majority of the bobwhite's range. This approach was selected in recognition of regionally varying limiting factors and to facilitate coordination and cooperation with other bird management plans, (e.g., NABCI, Partners in Flight, etc.). The goal for this plan is to restore range-wide northern bobwhite populations to an average density equivalent to that which existed on improvable acres (lands potentially amenable to management) in the baseline year of 1980. The NBCI predicted that restoring northern bobwhites to 1980 density on remaining land base will require the addition of 2,770,922 coveys to the current population. Achieving this population will necessitate impacting the habitat on 81.1 million acres of farm, forest, and range land. However, the recommended land management practices would change the primary land use on only 6% to 7% of this acreage.

L. Wes Burger, Project Principal Investigator
Pete Heard, USDA-NRCS Liaison