KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Declaring conservation efforts on behalf of bobwhite quail and other native grasslands birds are "far inadequate" to stop their decline, a national coalition of 25 state wildlife agencies has issued a new situation assessment and a call for decisive action.
"A much larger, long-term commitment by all states and conservationists is imperative to overcome the half-century decline in bobwhite habitats and populations," according to the first State of the Bobwhite: Grassland Conservation at a Crossroads from the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). "Bobwhites are slipping through our fingers, and time is not on our side. We have the expertise; now we need to muster the resolve."
Bobwhite quail populations have plummeted, while entire suites of songbirds that depend on the same habitat have recorded similar declines.
The NBCI and the NBCI Management Board, comprised of wildlife agency directors and private conservation leaders, say specific actions are required over the next 12 months as initial steps to recovering quail and other grassland species. One example:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture should "step up to the plate" to become a more positive force in the restoration of native grasslands and bobwhite quail, specifically by making native plant species, instead of aggressive exotics that provide poor habitat, the first choice when the department subsidizes with public money plantings on private lands.
"This is probably the single most important thing that can be done across much of the country for America's native grasslands and the wildlife that depend on them, including bobwhite quail and a whole host of songbirds," said NBCI Director Don McKenzie.
To read the first coordinated assessment of the status of bobwhite populations, hunting activity and conservation efforts across all 25 NBCI states, and action items for states and individuals, go to http://www.bringbackbobwhites.org/about-bobwhites/state-of-the-bobwhite
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is an initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of 25 state wildlife agencies, research institutions and private conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, the state wildlife agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org
NBCI Communications Director
SOURCE National Bobwhite Technical Committee