Last week the Department of Conservation released the Strategic Guidance for Northern Bobwhite Recovery 2008 Report. The report is a collection of private and public land success stories, habitat accomplishments, research results and outreach efforts by the Department, landowners and conservation partners to promote quail habitat management and outdoor recreation related to bobwhites.
The 60-page report highlights the Department's public land management, Quail Emphasis Area, private land accomplishments, Farm Bill programs, private land Quail Focus Areas, grassland bird habitat management and special outreach efforts like the Missouri Quail Academy, youth quail hunts and the Bradford Research and Extension Center Bobwhite Quail Field Day. There's a lot happening for bobwhites in Missouri and other states as the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative continues to grow into a nationwide effort to restore bobwhite habitat.
However, there's still a lot of work to be done. Now isn't the time to grow content with our early success. Existing quail habitat must be disturbed with prescribed fire, strip-disking or managed grazing. Invasive weeds must be controlled. Pine and oak woodlands must be thinned and prescribed fire reintroduced. For other habitats patience is the key. It will take at least five years for new shrub plantings to become usable habitat. It will take two or three years for new CRP field borders to provide quality nesting cover for bobwhites. No matter what, get the kids involved.
Before you start on your next habitat project, take the time to look through the report. There's a lot happening for bobwhites in Missouri.
Habitat is the Key!