Calling the Missouri Department of Conservation "a strong leader in natural resource management," Quail Unlimited (QU) and the Southeast Quail Study Group recently honored the agency's multi-faceted, long-term effort to restore bobwhite quail populations.
QU President Rocky Evans presented the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) Group Achievement Award at the annual meeting of the North American Fish and Wildlife Association in Portland, Ore.
Conservation Department Director John Hoskins accepted the award for the agency.
"The Missouri Department of Conservation, under the direction of John Hoskins, is a strong leader in natural resource management and the preservation of wildlife habitat on both public and private lands and has truly earned this prestigious award," said Evans.
Efforts that contributed to the honor include:
Updating the Conservation Department's quail management plan with specific regional implementation goals; creating a new staff position to coordinate the NBCI; building partnerships to bring state, federal and private resources to bear on quail management challenges; establishing partnerships for quail habitat work on private land, demonstration farms and the MO Quail Academy; promoting practices that increase quail habitat through federal farm bill programs; conducting "Quail 101" training to make agency staff more effective; developing a comprehensive statewide public information campaign to raise awareness of quail restoration programs and methods; hosting workshops, seminars and field days to promote quail conservation at the community level.
The Southeast Quail Study Group launched the NBCI in 2002 with the goal of restoring bobwhite quail numbers to the level that existed in 1980.
The initiative divides the southeastern United States into 15 Bird Conservation Regions to encourage coordination with other bird conservation efforts across state boundaries.