Private landowners interested in improving habitat for quail and early successional wildlife will have extra help as a result of a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation to three conservation organizations devoted to improving habitat for upland wildlife.
This summer, the Department awarded a total of $133,000 in funding to Quail Forever, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Quail Unlimited and National Wild Turkey Federation. Through the Habitat Challenge Grant, each conservation organization provides matching funds to help landowners complete habitat work on their land.
This is the fifth year the Missouri Department of Conservation provided the Habitat Challenge Grant to conservation groups interested in improving upland habitat on private land. Over the last five years the Department has provided more than $600,000 in funding through the Habitat Challenge Grant, totaling more than $1.2 million with partner contributions.
“Without a doubt, the key to wildlife restoration depends on dedicated landowners. The combination of passionate landowners, strong conservation organizations and the Department of Conservation creates an incredible partnership that has resulted in improved habitat for bobwhite quail in parts of the state,” said Tom Draper, deputy director for the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Missouri Department of Conservation private land conservationists work with local chapters of each organization and landowners to administer the cost share funds for habitat projects throughout the state.
“The funds will help landowners improve nesting, brood and escape cover for quail, rabbits, turkey and songbirds,” said Nick Prough, chief wildlife biologist for the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation. “What’s good for quail is good for deer, turkey and most other wildlife.”
Habitat Challenge Grant funds are used by landowners to plant native grasses and wildflowers, eradicate undesirable vegetation, plant shrubs and conduct prescribed burns. Cost share is also provided for other quail friendly practices such as edge feathering, timber stand improvement, and strip disking.
Other cost share programs such as the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Landowner Assistance Program and federal Farm Bill conservation programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provide critical habitat for early successional wildlife. A significant portion of these programs, which equals millions of dollars in cost share, are aimed at improving habitat for quail and early successional wildlife.
“The Quail Challenge Grant partnership helps landowners address missing habitat on the edges of CRP fields, field borders and filters strips,” according to Elsa Gallagher, regional biologist for Quail Forever. “The key is having the right mix of habitat close together and the Habitat Challenge Grant helps make that a reality.“
“Funds for each organization are raised by local chapters sponsoring banquets and fundraising events,” according to John Burk, regional wildlife biologist the National Wild Turkey Federation. “Each organization depends on the commitment and energy of local volunteers to make it happen. Their dedication means better habitat for wildlife in Missouri.”
The Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Quail Forever, Quail Unlimited and National Wild Turkey Federation have local chapters throughout Missouri. Visit their websites listed at the bottom of the blog page for additional information on participating conservation groups and local chapter banquets and fundraising events.
For additional information on how to improve your property for quail and other early successional wildlife visit http://mdc.mo.gov/landwater-care/animal-management/bird-management/quail.