posted on March 25, 2015 03:01
It hasn’t been long since the new Pheasants Forever regional office opened in Brookings, South Dakota and it’s team have already started to work in earnest for the bird’s protection. Recently, it has announced its intentions to redefine conservation efforts in the pheasant hunting capital.
The nonprofit’s president and CEO, Howard Vincent, has stated in an interview that the office is looking to reverse the trend of land use change and reduce habitat losses that have plagued pheasant populations recently.
The change in land use has coincided with a reduction in the fields that were enrolled within the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). As farmers no longer see a profit in leaving their fields alone and more financial return on planting crops, natural habitat for the popular bird disappears. This adversely affects their ability to find food, protection from weather and predators and areas to raise their young.
The amount of land protected was supposed to be a major focus of the Farm Bill last year, but any major changes have not had any impact so far. Even if there were a vast change, populations over the last 10 years have dramatically dropped by nearly 80%. The time of action needs to be now.
Vincent has indicated that Pheasants Forever wants to bring agencies from across South Dakota together to enable a more effective conservation approach.
Dave Nomsen, the Vice President of Government Affairs at Pheasants Forever, has stated that pheasants are an agricultural commodity. The first step to increasing the value of this commodity is to restore their bird’s population to its previous size by protecting their natural grassland habitat.
If this can be done, then the pheasant can make a glorious return and the state can still benefit from the $200 million revenue it generates from the sport each year.
How will you be supporting pheasant conservation efforts? What is your opinion of the Pheasant Forever plans?
Let us know in the comments below.