The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) has taken another major step in supporting the bobwhite restoration priorities of the NBCI member states with the development of its highly anticipated technical website, www.quailcount.org.
“The launch of Quailcount.org is a major step forward in national coordination of quail conservation and consistently measuring results across the range,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “And it’s just the beginning of continued work by NBCI to provide essential technical tools and services to state and partner biologists.”
The site helps meet the demand for technical services related to the NBCI Coordinated Implementation Program (CIP), and other state and partner programs. The new site complements NBCI’s public outreach website, www.bringbackbobwhites.org, but meets state wildlife agencies’ desire for centralized and secure data management. It includes information on the CIP monitoring protocols (breeding bird survey, fall covey counts and habitat assessments), the NBCI 2.0 Conservation Planning Tool and the NBCI Inventory, as well as the upcoming Quail 8 symposium next year in Tennessee.
While serving many purposes for the NBCI states, the national database reduces individual state costs for data management, analysis and reporting, while the large pool of data increases the value of scientific analyses.
A few highlights:
- The geospatial version of NBCI 2.0, known as the Biologist Ranking Information (BRI), provides access to NBCI state agencies’ priority bobwhite areas through an interactive web map (www.quailcount.or/briwebmap.html). BRI is also accessible to biologists in the field through a geo-location feature that extracts BRI information for the user’s location.
- Monitoring protocols and training associated with implementing the NBCI CIP are well illustrated with V1.0 of a habitat assessment manual and various “how-to” videos that are continuous works in progress.
- “For biologists only”–As a technical website some services are available only to participating partners, and a top request from state agencies was a centralized and secure database for quail and songbird abundance data. Quailcount.org offers an online data entry system for states participating in the CIP. As of March 2016, the NBCI database had over 10,000 observations.
Quailcount.org is also the primary website for the upcoming Quail 8 national technical conference. NBCI and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency are co-hosting the Eighth National Quail Symposium in Knoxville in July 2017. The preliminary program is published with abstracts for 80 presentations. (Quail hunters will particularly like six abstracts viewable in the program that cover bird dogs and hunting efficiency).
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a coordinated, range-wide leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of 25 state wildlife agencies, various academic research institutions and private conservation organizations. Support for NBCI is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, state wildlife agencies, the University of Tennessee and Park Cities Quail. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org and find us on Facebook, YouTube and Slideshare.