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Newsroom

Fact Sheets


 
February 2010

 
ARCHIVED

 
Conservation Reserve Program: Northern Bobwhite Quail Habitat Initiative

 
Overview

 
USDA Farm Service Agency's (FSA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Northern Bobwhite Quail Habitat Initiative is aimed at creating 350,000 acres of habitat for the northern bobwhite quail.

 
Northern bobwhite quail are a native quail species with an historic range in 31 states. The birds are a valued inhabitant of farm landscapes, an important aspect of rural culture, and are key to the heritage of hunting. However, the bobwhite quail population has declined from an estimated 59 million birds in 1980 to about 20 million in 1999. Their habitats are disappearing due to urbanization, increased grassland cultivation, and a transitioning of once grassy fields into woods and forests -- a process called succession.

 
The initiative introduces a conservation practice intended to create 350,000 acres of early successional grass buffers along agricultural field borders. The initiative partners FSA with landowners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 32 state fish and wildlife agencies, Quail Unlimited, the Southeast Quail Study Group, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and other conservation groups, including local conservation districts.

 
Benefits

 
FSA estimates that the nesting and brood-rearing cover created by the initiative will increase bobwhite quail numbers by over 1 million birds annually. Planted buffers will also benefit reptiles, amphibians, aquatic species, and upland birds, many of which are being considered for listing as endangered species. Such bird species include the bell's vireo, orchard oriole, painted bunting, loggerhead shrike, sedge wren, grasshopper sparrow, dickcissel, and henslow's sparrow. In addition, the initiative will reduce soil erosion and protect water quality by trapping field sediments and nutrients.

 
Eligibility

 
Because the initiative is limited to 350,000 acres, enrollment is targeted to specific geographic areas in 31 states that have the greatest potential to restore bobwhite quail habitat. The acreage is allocated as follows:

 

 
State
Acres
Alabama
1,700
Arkansas
8,400
Colorado
10
Delaware
10
Florida
10
Georgia
3,400
Illinois
73,200
Indiana
18,500
Iowa
36,500
Kansas
54,200
Kentucky
11,700
Louisiana
670
Maine
10
Maryland
1,000
Michigan
1,200
Minnesota
600
Mississippi
3,400
Missouri
47,300
Nebraska
8,900
New Mexico
10
New York
10
North Carolina
10,900
Ohio
22,800
Oklahoma
1,600
Pennsylvania
10
South Carolina
8,800
South Dakota
2,000
Tennessee
7,700
Texas
7,500
Virginia
2,500
Wisconsin
660
Reserve
15,000
Total
350,000

 

 
Before an acreage allocation is effective for a state, monitoring, evaluation and other support (outreach, technical assistance, etc.) are required.

 
To be eligible, cropland must be suitably located and adaptable to the establishment of bobwhite quail. In addition, the applicant must satisfy the basic eligibility and cropping history criteria for CRP. These requirements are listed in the CRP fact sheet, available on FSA's Web site Fact Sheets page.

 
To determine individual eligibility for the initiative, landowners should check with their local FSA office.

 
Approved Conservation Practice

 
Program participants must apply conservation practice CP 33, Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds, around field edges of eligible cropland. The purpose of this practice is to provide food and cover for bobwhite quail in cropland areas. Secondary benefits may include reducing soil erosion from wind and water, increasing soil and water quality, and protecting and enhancing the on-farm ecosystem.

 
Buffer species may include native warm-season grass, legumes, wildflowers, forbs, and limited shrub and tree plantings, as specified in the program participant's approved USDA conservation plan.

 
Payments and Other Assistance

 
FSA will offer the following types of payments:

 
  • Signing Incentive Payments of up to $100 per acre;

 
  • Practice Incentive Payments of up to 40 percent of the eligible establishment cost;

 
  • Annual Rental Payments. Producers will receive annual rental payments for the length of the contract; and

 
  • Cost-share assistance of up to 50 percent of the eligible reimbursable practice costs.

 
In addition, other groups may provide the following assistance:

 
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 32 state fish and wildlife agencies are expected to offer technical, monitoring, and evaluation assistance; and

 
  • Quail Unlimited, the Southeast Quail Study Group, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and other conservation groups including local conservation districts may provide outreach, technical expertise, and other assistance as appropriate.

 
Sign-up

 
Program sign-up at local FSA offices began Oct. 1, 2004, and will run on a continuous basis -- meaning eligible land may be enrolled at any time - until 350,000 acres have been enrolled.

 
For More Information

 
More information on the CRP Northern Bobwhite Quail Habitat Initiative is available at local FSA offices and on FSA's Web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov

 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of Discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

 

 

 

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