Saving Southeastern Grasslands

  • 12/8/2020 11:52:27 AM
2b87cc9f-fe38-4709-9fbf-ce95a2624214 By Brittney Viers                                                                                                   Photo by Zack Irick 
 
As Quail Forever continues to grow throughout the Southeast, our partnerships with fellow conservation organizations are helping to strengthen our mission. In December of 2019, QF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) based out of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN.
 
SGI was formed in 2017 and has been gaining ground and notoriety ever since under the leadership of Dr. Dwayne Estes, SGI’s Director.
 
This partnership has been very beneficial for both organizations, namely by supporting three partnership biologists who service Kentucky and Tennessee with a specific grassland and bobwhite emphasis on private lands.
 
The focal range of SGI, which includes the historical range of our highly imperiled grasslands (less than one percent remaining), encompasses 23 states.
 
This territory largely overlaps with the home range of the northern bobwhite. When these diverse grasslands were prevalent throughout the Southeast, so were bobwhites. Therefore, it is no surprise that the restoration and management implications by both organizations are synonymous, which will increase quail populations along with many other grassland species that desperately need our attention.
 
In addition to our three current partnership positions, QF and SGI have expanded our partnership through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant that will provide funding for forest management and savanna restoration on the Tennessee portion of the Cumberland Plateau.
 
Specifically, this partnership will fund a QF forester to work in conjunction with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency implementing Farm Bill programs and educating landowners on forest management. As we expand our partnership and reach, we believe “a rising tide lifts all boats".

Good bobwhite habitat is not only the solution for bobwhite quail, but also the solution to reverse declining population trends of pollinating insects and grassland bird species.

 

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Quail Forever Journal. To read more great quail-related content, become a member today!