Sunday, January 26, 2020

Missouri Department of Conservation biologists honored for quail conservation efforts

The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative recently awarded two Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) biologists, Frank Loncarich and Kyle Hedges, with its Fire Bird Conservation Award for their efforts to protect the bobwhite quail through habitat improvements.

Loncarich and Hedges took an approach that heavily relied on pyric herbivory, or prescribed fire, combined with grazing. This approach, which was applied to 26,000 acres in southwest Missouri, replicates pre-settlement and early settlement conditions in the area, which was marked by prairie fires and large herds of bison.

These methods have been successfully used in the past in other bobwhite habitats, but Loncarich and Hedges’ work notably proved that the techniques work in the Midwest, improving the area for the quail and other species. Their methods also produced benefits for domestic livestock, which got access to more nutritious warm-season grasses.

The MDC undertakes quail conservation across the state, including on more than 116,000 acres of privately owned land. The award, which is given for quail research and management, was presented at the initiative’s annual meeting, which took place in Galloway, New Jersey, in August.

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Missouri Department of Conservation

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