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'Bring Back Bob' program underway

Submitted by Richard Milhollin

Quail Unlimited, in partnership with Missouri Department of Conservation, has introduced a program entitled, "Bring Back Bob-The Missouri Quail Initiative" to address some of the most serious habitat problems for Missouri quail.

Bobwhite quail have been on the decline nation-wide and in Missouri for 30 years now, with the most serious declines in the last 10 years. There is no simple answer to the decline. It is a complex issue with many factors influencing quail populations.

However, if you could roll it up into one ball of wax, the decline is best attributed to the lack of well-distributed, quality habitat. That habitat exists in the form of a mix of relatively small, diverse agricultural fields, shrubby cover, multi-species grasslands and early successional vegetation. An absence of any of these habitat types or an overabundance of any, throws the whole equation out of balance.

Under the "Bring Back Bob Program" the Conservation Department matches Quail Unlimited chapter money, dollar for dollar, to fund the project. Bring Back Bob offers landowner's cost-share or incentive payments to improve quail habitat on their farms. For those landowners interested in this program, a conservation department representative will visit their farm to meet with the landowner and develop a plan, which will outline the habitat changes necessary to improve the farm for quail.

When the landowner implements the recommended practices, Quail Unlimited pays the landowner according to a predetermined cost-share or incentive schedule. There are also federal programs such as the recently introduced CP33 (continuous CRP) program which pays landowners an annual payment to idle the outer edges of their crop-fields. These edges are then planted to vegetation which is beneficial for quail.

With your help and the diligent efforts of Quail Unlimited volunteers, Conservation personnel, and the landowners of Missouri, we hope to Bring Back Bob.

If you are interested in more information on Bring Back Bob or want to develop a conservation plan, contact the Department of Conservation private land conservationist in your county.

In Monroe County and Marion County, Jamie Ebbesmeyer is the local Private Land Conservationist. For Randolph County, Shelby County and Macon County, Ted Seiler is the local private Land Conservationist. Contact may be made through your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office.

In addition, the Mark Twain Quail Unlimited chapter is having their annual fundraising banquet on Saturday, October 1, at the Madison Area Community Center, Madison, Mo.

This past year this local chapter has spent over $8,000 for fescue eradication, woody edge development, forb seed, shrub planting, food plot seed for 650 acres of food plots and furnished shells for four area schools trap shooting teams.

In addition this club sponsored Jared Pierce, a local Monroe County youth for the Quail Academy, which is a week long program designed to acquaint our youth with the importance of conservation efforts to restore our natural wildlife habitat. For more information contact Richard Milhollin at 660-291-3363 or Bob Riley 660-327-4433 about supporting this project and tickets to their annual banquet and fundraiser.

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