Quail conservationists unite at Missouri Bobwhite Quail Summit

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Quail are making a comeback, and conservationists will be flocking to the Missouri Bobwhite Quail Summit to help bring back these native birds. The summit will be held at the Bradford Research and Extension Center in Columbia on June 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. with field tours immediately afterward. It is open to all private landowners, wildlife enthusiasts, natural resource professionals and interested citizens.

Sponsored by the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the University of Missouri’s Bradford Farm, the event is an educational opportunity for landowners interested in improving quail and small game habitat. Seminar topics will include assessing land’s potential for bobwhite habitat, management strategies for restoration, effects of weather on quail numbers and how to fund quail restoration.

Missouri’s bobwhite quail population has been steadily declining due to changes in agricultural activity and land management.  The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) partners with various organizations to help restore the state’s quail population and proper habitat.

According to MDC Grassland Birds Coordinator Max Alleger, adding the summit to annual field tours at Bradford Farm is an attempt to involve new landowners in Missouri’s ongoing quail management plan.

“A truly unique aspect of this event is that all of our quail partners, including Quail Forever, Quail Unlimited, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF), MU and NRCS [Natural Resources Conservation Service] are participating,” said Alleger.

Speakers at the summit will represent various organizations involved in Missouri’s quail management efforts.

“The summit has several purposes,” said QUWF Chief Wildlife Biologist Nick Prough. “One of the main ones is to bring landowners, biologists, agencies, organizations and interested conservationists all together on one day to discuss what has been done in the past for quail and quail habitat throughout Missouri, what has worked well in the past and what needs to be changed and done in the future.”

Following the discussion session, a panel of Missouri landowners will discuss their personal successes with quail management. More than 90 percent of Missouri’s land is privately owned, so landowners have an essential role in restoring quail habitat. MDC Private Land Services staff currently assist about 17,000 Missouri landowners with quail restoration and habitat conservation.

“The summit will share the latest habitat information with all the attendees so they can bring that information back to their local area and work with their partners to improve habitat locally,” Prough noted, emphasizing the importance of landowner participation.

To register for the summit, send your name, address and contact information by mail to MU BREC, 4968 Rangeline Rd., Columbia, MO 65201-8973 or by e-mail to ChismT@missouri.edu, or call (573) 884-7945. For more information on the status of quail in Missouri, visit www.missouriconservation.org and search “Quail Management.”