State Quail Coordinators Meet to Discuss Issues
Twenty-three of 25 state quail coordinators from National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) member states were among the participants last week in the annual meeting of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC), the umbrella group of state wildlife management agencies and their partners overseeing the national initiative aimed at restoring huntable populations of wild bobwhites across their range.
"The attendance was remarkable considering the budget challenges states have," said NBCI Director Don McKenzie.
While much of the attention naturally focused on quail management in the host state of Texas, the coordinators' primary challenge has been to develop a first-ever standardized and coordinated monitoring protocol for quail "focus areas." The focus area approach and standardized monitoring of results are keys to the NBCI habitat-based strategy for restoring bobwhites maximizing limited resources.
The NBTC Steering Committee's goal is for each of the 25 NBCI states to participate with at least one NBCI focus area (most have or plan more), according to McKenzie, which must be monitored for habitat gains and bobwhite response, not only to provide credible evidence of progress but also to enable improvements in conservation delivery.
"The lack of valid, credible and comparable monitoring data threatens the viability of the entire quail restoration movement because it deprives us of documented success stories, robs sportsmen of confidence and hope, and undermines agency resolve," explained McKenzie. "NBCI has worked with the state quail coordinators to find a voluntary approach that is not only science-based but also actually quite doable by each state. Unity in bobwhite conservation delivery and monitoring across the range will make the NBTC's national initiative one of the premier conservation partnerships in the country."
The group will convene again next year in Roanoke, VA.
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org