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Northern Bobwhite in Grasslands

Bobwhite Quail page header image


If you think livestock and quail don’t mix, a new concept in managed grazing may just change your mind. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) uses a unique program that focuses on establishing productive warm season forages to improve livestock production AND provide large acreages of prime habitat for ground nesting birds and other wildlife.

Historically, habitat favored the bobwhite, but changes in land use and how lands are managed have caused the bird’s Ohio numbers to dip by more than 95 percent over the last 60 years from around 2 million birds to 70,000.

Bobwhite quailOhio’s Northern Bobwhite in Grasslands project is part of a national Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) partnership, a collaborative approach to conserving habitat for declining species on farms and working forests. NRCS works with partners and private landowners to focus voluntary conservation efforts on working landscapes.  

The Northern Bobwhite in Grasslands project is designed to help bring back the quail that were once an integral part of Ohio’s farming way of life. The project focuses on grasslands where NRCS will help landowners replace non-native grasses with native grasses, forbs and legumes that benefit bobwhite and other wildlife, while creating alternative healthy grazing options for livestock.

Leading researchers have documented the wildlife benefits of managed grazing on native summer forages, concluding that this approach enhances the habitat for the ground nesting birds while improving livestock weight gains.

FY18 EQIP Northern Bobwhite Quail Focus Area Map

Ohio Northern Bobwhite in Grasslands
Focus Area Printable Map

NRCS will conduct targeted restoration activities with a focus on 30 southern Ohio counties (see map). Habitat restored for the bobwhite benefits many other species, including turkeys, deer, rabbits, and many different songbirds, including the Dickcissel sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark.

The Northern Bobwhite in Grasslands project offers technical and financial assistance to eligible livestock producers to implement conservation practices to address habitat loss without taking their land out of production. Technical assistance is free to producers. NRCS’s staff of experts and conservation partners work side-by-side with producers to develop a conservation plan. Each plan focuses on bobwhite habitat management and is tailored to the landowner’s property. These plans provide a roadmap for how to use a system of conservation practices to meet natural resource and production goals.

Financial assistance helps producers pay for the adoption of conservation systems that improve early successional habitat, which benefits game and non-game species and can benefit grazing and forestry operations.  Interested applicants should contact their local USDA Service Center or review the Ohio Funding Categories Table for the latest signup information.
 

Project Contact:

Nick Schell, State Biologist
614-255-2490