Partnering for Wildlife
quail and turkey.
The success of the Habitat Enhancement Project is evident in the strong landowner interest. Several people are on the waiting list to enter the program.
Wright County wildlife wins
To determine the program’s impact on wildlife populations, several wildlife monitoring surveys are being conducted. Fixed-point quail whistling counts have been conducted on farms both before and after habitat practices have been carried out. Though it’s still fairly early in the monitoring process (only two years in some cases), there have been positive results.
Central Wright County.
A case in point is a 50-acre farm located in Central Wright County. Whistling counts and landowner surveys showed that only one covey of quail was found on the property before extensive habitat practices were carried out. The owner of the property wanted to see what could be done to increase the number of quail and rabbits on his farm.
The owner had few farming implements and was not sure how to help the wildlife on his farm. After hearing of the project from a neighbor, he decided to enroll in the Habitat Enhancement Program. Though he could not devote his entire acreage to extensive wildlife habitat work, the owner hoped that something could be done with the several small areas he was not actively farming.
Thick fescue, cedar and locust trees dominated the selected areas. Therefore, the recommended practices for the land included eradication of fescue by chemical treatment, prescribed burning, establishment of warm season grass and native forb mixtures, strip disking, legume seedings and annual grain food plots. Pasture management was also modified to favor nesting success of quail, turkey and rabbits.
In the short time since the habitat work began, counts and surveys show that the owner has gone from one covey of quail to four coveys on his 50-acre farm. He was amazed at the quick results and actually saw a covey of quail using one of the burned areas the second day after the prescribed fire. He had never before seen quail in this area. He also reports seeing a considerable increase in the number of rabbits, songbirds and other wildlife species.
Results such as these show that the key to reversing downward wildlife population trends lies in carrying