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NFWF Grant Allows NBCI to Accelerate Analysis of Bobwhites in Longleaf Pine Efforts

The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) will use a new $147,568 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Longleaf Stewardship Fund – matched by four other sources for a total of $295,165– to aggressively accelerate the analysis of data – and learning — from current bobwhite management efforts in the longleaf pine ecosystem.

The four areas involved– Boggy Hollow on the Conecuh National Forest in Alabama, Silver Lake West in Georgia, Kisatchie/Vernon on the Vernon District of the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana and Big Woods/Piney Grove in Virginia – are all under the umbrella of NBCI’s Coordinated Implementation Program (CIP) for focal areas. Participation requires collection of a great deal of data from each area – and its corresponding reference/control area — at various times of the year. Information includes habitat surveys, fall bobwhite covey counts and spring breeding bird counts for various species in addition to bobwhite quail, all collected from the states and managed by NBCI’s data analyst, Molly Foley. The project will help accelerate the analysis of data and development of statistical models by James Martin and John Yeiser at the University of Georgia relating bobwhite abundance to habitat amount, landscape characteristics and management actions in the longleaf pine setting. Correlations made in this study between bobwhite density and habitat management activities may dictate what direction states in the longleaf pine region should go in order to increase bobwhite abundance more quickly on their landscapes.

“The bottom line is this project will provide a faster track for adaptively managing habitat in the longleaf ecosystem for achieving desired bobwhite populations and learning more rapidly from management actions,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “We appreciate NFWF recognizing the value of our work to date and investing to help speed the restoration of wild bobwhites on the landscape, including the longleaf pine ecosystem.”

The grant will also provide workshop opportunities for participants to discuss results from the various focal areas and determine future management actions and research needs.

The NFWF grant is being matched by a total of $147,597 in cash and/or in-kind services from the University of Georgia, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and NBCI.