Agriculture

Efforts to improve quail habitat

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EQIP restores Ohio bobwhite quail population

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has designated a new priority area in Ohio with a focus on improving and creating habitat for bobwhite quail. EQIP Quail Priority Township is highlighted on the map. (Provided image)

Columbus, Ohio — The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has designated a new priority area for Ohio with a focus on improving and creating habitat for bobwhite quail.

Private landowners and producers can apply for funding through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Landowners interested in the township of their choice are advised to contact their local NRCS Service Center, ODNR Private Land Biologist, or Pheasants Forever Biologist for more information.

“The involvement of private landowners is a very important part of protecting this iconic species,” said Lori Ziehr, Deputy Director of State Conservation for the Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service. “The bobwhite quail is an edge species and, through funding of priority areas, can encourage and promote conservation efforts that produce high-quality, early continuous habitats essential for their survival.”

Ohio is near the northern end of the species range, and winter weather conditions can contribute to dramatic fluctuations in bobwhite quail populations. Mild winters often increase the population of bobwhite quail in areas with suitable habitats, but severe winters with prolonged snow and ice coverage have a negative effect.

The Ohio State University has identified edge habitats and woody escape covers, both essential during the winter, as important factors in quail survival. The selected townships shown on the Priority Area map have been identified by the Ohio Wildlife Service as the areas of greatest concern within Ohio’s bobwhite quail.

“Ohio’s Wildlife Service is working to restore Ohio’s quail populations and increase their proper habitat through EQIP,” said Kendra Wecker, Ohio’s Director of Wildlife. “We are proud to work with our partners to keep the momentum of this precious bird and other edge species positive.”

Quail Forever also supports the creation of priority areas and is ready to help implement the program.

“Quail Forever strives to protect Ohio quail populations through passionate work by wildlife biologists and grassroots volunteers,” said Cody Grasser, Ohio Coordinator of Quail Forever. Townships in priority areas are excited to offer landowners this unique opportunity. “

NRCS conservation practices, including hedge planting, wildlife habitat planting, and early continuous habitat development, increase rank points within priority area townships. Landlords who practice these practices not only promote the habitat of bobwhite quail, but also increase the asset value to other species such as songbirds, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, and pollen maters.

Selected township landowners interested in funding the EQIP Quail Priority Area can contact their local Ohio USDA Service Center or Ohio NRC SEQIP Web Page For more information. click here Fact sheet about preferred conservation practices and additional resources.

— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

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