COLUMBUS – A program to restore habitat for Northern bobwhite quail is now available to property owners in 35 mostly western and southern Ohio counties, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
The Northern Bobwhite Quail Habitat/Upland Bird Initiative, sponsored by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency Conservation Reserve Program, aims to create 250,000 acres of essential upland bird habitat in 35 states nationwide.
In Ohio, the goal is 14,200 acres.
Nesting, cover. The new program seeks to create nesting and brood-rearing cover along cropland field borders, while establishing travel corridors.
“Grassland buffers along crop fields enhance the movement of existing quail coveys and are a critical component of this restoration program,” said Steven Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife.
Declining. Nationally, Northern bobwhite quail numbers have declined in the past 20 years, largely due to loss of early successional grassland corridors and the transitional development of once grassy fields into woods and row crops.
In Ohio, the blizzards of 1977-78 decimated quail numbers, which have yet to rebound to 1977 levels.
Counties selected for the initiative provide the greatest potential for some reestablishment of quail and other upland bird populations.
They are Williams, Defiance, Wyandot, Marion, Shelby, Darke, Miami, Clark, Greene, Fayette, Pickaway, Fairfield, Perry, Morgan, Washington, Hocking, Preble, Montgomery, Butler, Warren, Clinton, Ross, Vinton, Athens, Hamilton, Clermont, Brown, Highland, Adams, Pike, Scioto, Jackson, Lawrence, Gallia, and Meigs counties.
To be eligible, the cropland to be enrolled must satisfy the basic eligibility and cropping history criteria for the Conservation Reserve Program.
To determine individual eligibility for the initiative, farmers and landowners in the counties named should check with their local Farm Service Agency office.
Payment structure. The following payments are offered for eligible acres:
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