USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state conservationist Ben Malone announced that eligible landowners interested in restoring habitat for the Bobwhite Quail to apply for financial assistance by March 2, 2018.
The Bobwhite Quail is an iconic symbol of the Southeast that is most recognized by its distinct summer call, “Bob, Bob White!” However, despite its popularity across the South, populations have declined by more than 85 percent over the last 50 years. Changes in agricultural practices, land management lapses, and other land-use impacts have led to dramatic fragmentation of high quality habitats.
NRCS is partnering with the Alabama Department of Conservation, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division in an effort to reverse this population decline.
Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), funding will be available in the following Alabama counties: Escambia, Covington, Geneva, Dallas, Lowndes, Montgomery, Bullock, Macon, Russell, Autauga, Elmore, Chilton, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Chambers, Clay and Talladega to improve quail habitat on private lands.
Wildlife biologists with the Alabama Department of Conservation will work closely with NRCS personnel in these counties to provide technical assistance to landowners on habitat improvement. In addition to quail, restoring this habitat type across the Pine Savanna landscape benefits numerous songbirds, rabbits, wild turkey, deer and many other wildlife species. It also improves water quality, reduces soil erosion and can enhance local economies by stimulating quail hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Through technical and financial assistance, practices planned such as heavy pine timber thinning and burning have the potential to drastically benefit habitat quality and sustainability.
Working Lands for Wildlife enables NRCS to use a win-win approach to systematically target conservation efforts to improve agricultural and forest productivity which enhance wildlife habitat on working landscapes.
Eligible producers are encouraged to visit their local USDA Service Center to sign up between February 2, 2018 and March 2, 2018.