Norfolk, Va. – At the recently concluded 83rd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Virginia, the National Park Service (NPS) and Quail Forever (QF) signed an agreement to work together to restore native grasslands throughout the U.S. The partnership between the NPS and QF provides a path forward to conserve grasslands and wildlife, resulting in spectacular experiences for park visitors.
Grasslands are rich havens of biodiversity; they contain broad varieties of plants and provide habitat to many animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate species. They are critical to both predator and prey species including bobwhite quail and other bird species. However, due to decades of land use changes and development, the United States has lost millions of acres of grasslands. Conserving these large, connected natural areas is a priority for both the NPS and QF.
“The NPS is excited to partner with Quail Forever. Our organizations share the same goals to conserve and restore grasslands and the rich diversity of flora and fauna associated,” says Elaine F. Leslie, Chief of the Biological Resources Division for the NPS. “Our collaborations will leverage expertise and skills and provide more capacity to engage in important conservation work for the public’s benefit.”
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) provides a way for the NPS and QF to protect grasslands by sharing resources and technical expertise. These collaborative efforts help each entity meet its stewardship goals, including habitat restoration for key species like the bobwhite quail. This agreement between the NPS and QF is an important step in building strong, collaborative relationships with our neighbors and partners in local communities. Working with state wildlife agencies, local QF chapters, National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, and other groups provides a foundation for long-term success in grassland restoration efforts.
“Finalizing this cooperative agreement with the National Park Service is an additional step in the right direction for restoring the whistle of America’s iconic upland species on public lands,” says Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Quail Forever. “Innovative habitat partnerships continue to be the leading force for recovering bobwhite quail populations throughout their range; we’re excited for the challenge and look forward to making an impact within the national parks’ land base.”
With this agreement in place, some important restoration efforts will move forward. Together NPS, QF, and other partners will identify priority projects to initiate in 2018. The first four will likely be in Chickasaw National Recreation Area (Oklahoma), Horseshoe Bend National Military Park (Alabama), Manassas National Battlefield Park (Virginia), and Kings Mountain National Military Park (South Carolina).
About Quail Forever
Quail Forever is a leading organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation efforts for the United States’ native quail species. Since its creation in 2005, Quail Forever has conducted more than 13,000 habitat projects across the nation benefitting quail and other wildlife. Along with its affiliate organization Pheasants Forever, it has committed more than $784 million to improve more than 17 million acres of wildlife habitat. Quail Forever has more than 16,000 members and 170 local chapters across the country. Both Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever are part of Pheasants Forever, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit.