Quail Forever sets the bar high

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quail enthusiasts in South Carolina have formed Quail Forever’s (QF) newest chapter, Lowcountry Quail Forever. The chapter, based in Mount Pleasant, will focus efforts on improving public use land for bobwhite quail in the state’s Francis Marion National Forest.

The chapter is led by President Tim Long of Mount Pleasant. Long, a Tennessee native, moved to South Carolina in 1996 and became involved with community quail conservation efforts. “Quail habitat restoration is not just beneficial for quail, but for all upland wildlife including songbirds, turkey, rabbits and the threatened red-cockaded woodpecker,” said Long.

Chapter conservation work is to be completed on Francis Marion National Forest. The 258,000 acre national forest is located 20 miles north of Charleston, and has been managed by the Forest Service since 1936; however, human occupation can be traced back 10,000 years. The chapter works to create brood rearing habitat on approximately 80 wildlife openings, each consisting of 2-3 acres, throughout the forest. These brood rearing areas are critical for bumblebee size quail chicks to navigate through while foraging.

“Our chapter feels that it is critical to have land open to everyone, which will benefit the community as a whole and the upland habitat wildlife depend on so heavily,” noted Long.

“Quail Forever’s locally empowering model was important to this group of motivated volunteers,” reports Shon Robbins, Quail Forever regional wildlife biologist. “With the members’ history of quail conservation efforts, I know the positive impacts made by the Lowcountry Quail Forever chapter will be felt by the whole community.”

The chapter’s first meeting meeting was held May 15 at Zeus Restaurant in Mount Pleasant. The chapter is actively looking for volunteers. Those interested are encouraged to contact Tim Long at 843-324-8734.

South Carolina Habitat Reports: Unlike states further north, winter mortality from weather conditions is not a big issue in South Carolina. Winter rains following several years of drought could lead to good soil moisture conditions, which may result in improved nesting and brood habitat conditions, according to Billy Dukes, small game project supervisor for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Overwinter cover held up well due to the mild conditions and no frozen precipitation; however land managers interested in managing for quail should pay close attention to size of burn blocks during prescribed burning operations and make sure to leave adequate escape cover.

For more information on “The Habitat Organization” or to start a chapter, please contact Shon Robbins at 570-204-5761.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.

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