Partnering for Wildlife
out favorable land management practices that provide essential habitat. They also show that hundreds of acres of land are not needed to positively affect wildlife.
Northern Wright County
Jim Shaddy, whose 160-acre family farm is located in Northern Wright County, remembers a time when he saw coveys of bobwhite quail along most every fencerow on his property.
However, as farming practices gradually changed over the years, much of the land was converted from diverse native grass pastures to cool-season fescue. Though necessary for the farm’s income, these land changes were unfavorable for quail and other wildlife. Jim began to see a dramatic decline in the bobwhite quail population, and now he rarely sees or hears quail on the farm.
Jim had wanted to make wildlife-friendly changes on the property for some time. Because he did not have all the necessary equipment, time or technical knowledge to make these changes, he was excited to hear about the Habitat Enhancement Program and how equipment and advice were being made available through the Wright County Soil and Water District and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Jim has just begun work with the Enhancement Project and is carrying out habitat and land management practices that will favor wildlife and help return the land to what he once remembered.
As word has spread of the wildlife work being done in Wright County, the Open Land Enhancement group has been approached by several government agencies and private citizens outside Wright County who are interested in the wildlife program. The project partners are inspired by the positive results and overwhelming interest, and they hope that similar partnering projects to assist landowners can be carried out in other areas across the state.
Installing beneficial wildlife habitat management practices on your property can be a rewarding experience. Landowners have many options when considering how to complete the planned improvements. Missouri is fortunate to have partnerships with various conservation organizations to help landowners with technical and financial assistance.
When a plan has been developed for the property and the timing is right, most landowners must decide whether to do the work themselves or hire someone to install the project for them. The Department of Conservation has partnered with the Missouri Agriculture Industries Council (MO-AG) to conduct a series of workshops aimed at increasing the knowledge, skills and abilities of conservation contractors across the state.
More than 350 contractors participated in the first series of training workshops. The training focused on establishing native grasses, forbs and legumes, as well as practices such as woody cover control, edge feathering and light disking. These practices set back succession and provide habitat beneficial for bobwhite quail, grassland songbirds and early successional wildlife species.
To locate a conservation contractor in your area, contact your local Department of Conservation office or USDA Service Center.