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<p>The NBCI leadership includes:</p> <ul> <li>A national “NBCI Management Board” of state wildlife agency and conservation organization leaders to provide high-level oversight, guidance and support;</li> <li>A “National Bobwhite Technical Committee” of professional wildlife managers and scientists, the creator of the NBCI strategic plan;</li> <li>A full-time team of professional conservation specialists operating at regional and national levels, focused on helping states and partners overcome barriers and seizing opportunities to advance NBCI goals in priority arenas.</li> </ul> <p>The priorities of this initiative by the states and for the states are:</p> <ul> <li><em>Reconnecting agriculture with quail</em> by influencing federal agricultural policy to be less harmful and more helpful for native grassland habitat conservation in agricultural and other rural landscapes;</li> <li><em>Reconnecting cows with quail</em> by developing technologies for native grass-based beef production, accelerating the adoption of native forages, improving public policy for native grassland restoration, and sustaining quality western rangelands;</li> <li><em>Reconnecting forests with quail </em>by reinvigorating aggressive, purposeful forest management on private and public lands to achieve landscape-scale restoration of native forest savannahs, and by reestablishing prescribed fire as an accepted, widespread and frequently used management tool;</li> <li><em>Developing central information services </em>to help states and partners document, monitor, and publicize progress and successes, and build a stronger collective movement.   </li> <li><em>Mobilizing key constituencies</em> to support local, state and national efforts for bobwhite and native grasslands conservation;</li> <li><em>Connecting mine lands with quail </em>by engaging and collaborating with the full range mine land interests to promote land restoration outcomes that benefit bobwhites and other grassland wildlife.</li> </ul> <p>The quail hunting culture is fading from the heritage of rural America. Once as much an integral part of rural life as barbeque, barn-raisings and bream fishing, quail hunting in many states is becoming restricted to plantations and commercial preserves. For all the meritorious restoration successes of modern wildlife management, the once-ubiquitous bobwhite remains unfinished business.</p> <p>Wildlife biologists know more about the biology, life history, habitat requirements and management of the northern bobwhite quail than probably any other species in North America. Yet bobwhites, and the suite of wildlife that claims the same habitat, have been declining virtually range-wide for at least 40 years, approaching extirpation in some regions and states.  Clearly, knowledge alone is not enough. More effective action is imperative, if the fundamental problem of landscape-scale habitat degradation is to be addressed.</p> <h4>Biologists Change Approach to Quail Management</h4> <p>Beginning in the Southeast in the late 1990s, state wildlife agencies, which have stewardship responsibility for bobwhites, changed their approach.  Instead of attacking the problem separately, they banded together for the first time to tackle this increasingly serious problem en masse.  The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ then-named Southeast Quail Study Group published the “Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative” (NBCI) in March 2002.</p> <p>Recently revised and renamed the “National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative,” the NBCI is a unified strategy executed by state wildlife agencies and other key conservation partners – under the umbrella of the now-named National Bobwhite Technical Committee — to restore a native American species across its range.  It is a strategy by the states and for the states … and it represents the most extensive interstate cooperation on behalf of a resident game species in the history of wildlife management.</p> <p>This first-ever regional recovery plan for bobwhites launched a new era and new hope for restoring this cultural icon…and the many wildlife species that share the same home.</p> <p>Today, the bobwhite is an “indicator species” whose population decline is in direct correlation with the death of American ecosystems – the eastern grasslands, the longleaf and shortleaf pine forests – and the suite of wildlife species that depend on them.</p> <p>Populations of wild bobwhite quail have plummeted 82% in the past 40 years. Following the bobwhite’s path is a suite of lesser known species and includes even the pollinating insects so critical to agricultural production.</p> <p><strong>Shared Habitat<br /></strong></p> <p>Among the wildlife species that share habitat with the bobwhite are:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Eastern Cottontail</strong></li> <li><strong>Gopher Tortoise</strong></li> <li><strong>Pine Snake<br /></strong></li> <li><strong>Bachman’s Sparrow</strong></li> <li><strong>Eastern Meadowlark</strong></li> <li><strong>Northern Harrier</strong></li> <li><strong>Grasshopper Sparrow</strong></li> <li><strong>Sedge Wren</strong></li> <li><strong>Short-Eared Owl</strong></li> <li><strong>Upland Sandpiper</strong></li> <li><strong>Henslow’s Sparrow</strong></li> <li><strong>Loggerhead Shrike<br /></strong></li> <li><strong>LeConte’s Sparrow</strong></li> <li><strong>Vesper Sparrow</strong></li> <li><strong>Prairie Warbler<br /></strong></li> <li><strong>Dickcissel</strong></li> <li><strong>Bobolink</strong></li> <li><strong>Indigo Bunting<br /></strong></li> <li><strong>Painted Bunting</strong></li> <li><strong>Blue Grosbeak</strong></li> <li><strong>Field Sparrow</strong></li> </ul>