Chuck Kowaleski, the chairman of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) and the Farm Bill coordinator for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), is the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Directors 2014 Wildlife Biologist of the Year. SEAFWA made the announcement at its annual meeting in Destin, Florida recently.
Kowaleski chairs the NBTC, which is the founding body for and provides the technical guidance to the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI). Prior to the chairmanship, Kowaleski also led the group’s Agricultural Policy Subcommittee and served as treasurer, secretary and vice chair.
With Texas Parks and Wildlife for 24 years, Kowaleski has spent the last 12 years as the state’s Farm Bill coordinator and liaison with USDA, working with various partners to implement programs to create special focus areas benefitting various wildlife species, including bobwhites. The areas have provided $35.3 million in federal cost share to 1,208 landowners in habitat improvements for priority species on 1.79 million acres. Over 325,000 of those acres were specifically for bobwhites.
Kowaleski is also very active in numerous advisory capacities with the national Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, including chairing the EQIP Working Group. He also is a leader in their work with NBCI to establish a national NRCS policy favoring the use of native plants in Farm Bill programs and native grasses as federally-subsidized replacements for drought-susceptible, exotic pasture grasses that USDA traditionally promotes.
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, NBCI is an initiative of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and private conservation organizations. Support for NBCI is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, state wildlife agencies, the University of Tennessee and Park Cities Quail. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org,
Image courtesy National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative