ATHENS — The Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors recently joined with 13 other conservation organizations of the Georgia Bobwhite Technical Team, by signing a memorandum of agreement committing to the recovery of bobwhite quail and other early successional habitat dependent species, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.
More than four million acres of habitat must be enhanced across Georgia’s landscape to achieve Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative recovery goals.
"Faced with this challenge, I am thrilled that the Wildlife Resources Division formed the technical team to promote a collaborative effort directed at implementing NBCI," said WRD Director Dan Forster. "I commend GACDS along with the other conservation partners that signed this memorandum of agreement to formalize collaborative efforts and send a message that Georgia is working to address the ecological and economical problems associated with loss of early successional habitat."
In recent decades, the northern bobwhite, Georgia’s state gamebird, has experienced drastic population declines primarily because of land use changes resulting in a loss or degradation of early succession habitat, not only for quail, but also for certain songbirds and many other wildlife species. This decline has resulted in a reduction of quail hunters and wildlife associated recreation opportunities for Georgia’s citizens and in the loss of millions of dollars of economic revenue in rural Georgia communities.
Similar declines are occurring across the South and are a priority concern for all Southeastern state wildlife agencies.
In March 2002, the Southeastern Association of the Fish and Wildlife Agencies Southeast Quail Study Group published the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, a 22-state recovery plan that establishes habitat and population goals by state and physiographic province for the restoration of bobwhite quail to their 1980 population level. The NBCI is currently being revised and expanded to 35 states to further refine bobwhite habitat and population recovery goals.
"The GACDS is pleased to partner with WRD and other conservation organizations to work collaboratively toward habitat restoration for bobwhites and other wildlife species that depend on early successional habitat," said Dennis Brown, president of the Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors.
For more information on the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, call Reggie Thackston, WRD private lands program manager, at (478) 994-7583 or go to www.bobwhitetech.org. For information on GACDS programs, call Crista Carrell at (706) 542-3065 or go to www.gacds.org.