The Nation's CRP Leader for Pheasants and for Quail

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Quail Forever and quail hunters help Pheasants Forever add a national voice to CRP.

Five years ago when Pheasants Forever launched Quail Forever, we envisioned meetings like the ones held earlier this month in Washington, D.C. where our organization proved itself as THE nation’s – not just the pheasant range’s – CRP leader.  While our members outside quail country may never see a quail in their lifetime, they should care about the power our Quail Forever contingent brings to the CRP battle.  In 2010, Pheasants Forever is truly a national organization with a respected voice on conservation policy from coast-to-coast.  This means a lot to the elected officials and policy makers we are working with on a daily basis to create habitat for pheasants and for quail.
 
Recapping Quail Forever’s Visit to D.C.
 
Since the Bobwhite Buffers practice of CRP (CP-33) was established in 2004, it’s proven to be the nation’s most successful tool in creating critical habitat for bobwhite quail.  However, these agricultural field buffers are only part of the landscape solution to rebuilding quail populations.  This point was drilled home with the nation’s foremost quail experts in Washington, D.C.
 
I was proud to host Dr. Bill Palmer, Tall Timbers Research Station’s gamebird program director and Reggie Thackston, Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ bobwhite quail initiative coordinator, as they presented their quail habitat findings to Congressional staff and Administration officials last June 14-15.
 
Along with Kim Price, publisher of Covey Rise and member of Pheasants Forever’s national board, and Jen Mock Schaeffer, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Farm Bill coordinator, we outlined the need for additional actions to build upon language in the last Farm Bill encouraging thinning and burning of CRP tree plantings.  Rebuilding the pine-savanna ecosystem is critical to quail recovery.  Initial thinning coupled with burning on a two-year cycle is absolutely critical to supporting viable quail populations and numerous other species of wildlife.  Proper CRP management is one tool we have immediately available as we search for new incentives and technical assistance to make these practices commonplace across the southern U.S. quail range.