Meeting at the North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference here Thursday, the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) Management Board, comprised of the wildlife agency directors or their surrogates from 25 states, voted to approve the first significant addition to the 2011 national restoration plan for bobwhite quail.

The board put its stamp on the NBCI Coordinated Implementation Plan (CIP), a specific methodology for coordinated, state-level implementation of the national strategy for landscape-scale restoration of bobwhites. And the plan’s benefits will extend well beyond bobwhites, to include grassland birds, pollinators, soil health, and water quality.

The plan was developed with participation and review by every NBCI state, and partners from academia, joint ventures and research institutes over the past two-plus years. In addition, the CIP protocols were beta tested by six states – Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas and Virginia – in 2013.  Oklahoma is expected to launch this year and decisions of other states are pending.

The CIP aims to demonstrate in numerous locations that within 5-10 years, management, principally of habitat, can achieve a bobwhite population level that simultaneously meets the state’s NBCI 2.0 population goals for that area and is sustainable. The CIP defines the criteria for designing and implementing a NBCI Focal Area, and establishes a standard protocol for monitoring bobwhite and grassland bird population responses to prescribed management.

Minimum standards established by the CIP for NBCI Focal Area management and/or measurements include:

  • a minimum of 1,500 acres of year-round suitable habitat that comprises at least 25% of the NBCI Focal Area
  • prescribed bird population monitoring
  • prescribed habitat monitoring,
  • prescribed habitat management activity tracking

“We and the states understand that the future of bobwhite conservation depends on demonstrating very soon the validity of the NBCI 2.0 habitat-based strategy and doing so in multiple locations,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie.

“The 2011 NBCI 2.0, including the mapping of habitat potential in every state, was a monumental step for bobwhites. And the many early efforts to implement the NBCI on the ground were necessary to enable us to now more methodically engineer the next generation of on-the-ground bobwhite conservation for increased chances of success,” McKenzie said.

“The CIP provides a detailed road map for states to accomplish that in a coordinated fashion in five to 10 years. And it gives conservation groups that are truly serious about landscape-scale restoration of wild bobwhites specific targets for their resources. This is the most ambitious collaboration in bobwhite conservation history.”

The full NBCI Coordinated Implementation Plan is available at:

The bobwhite habitat potential ratings maps for each state are available at:

Image courtesy National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative

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